People think Meghan Markle broke royal protocol by carrying a tote bag in public — here's why

People think Meghan Markle broke royal protocol by carrying a tote bag in public — here's why

© Provided by Business Insider Inc meghan markle

On Friday, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry stepped out in matching outfits, and it was enough to make even the most skeptical person swoon.

But now people are claiming that Markle's purse for the occasion might have broken royal protocol because it wasn't a clutch.

© Provided by Business Insider Incmeghan purse skitch This speculation can be traced back to January, when royal etiquette expert William Hanson told the Daily Mail that there's a somewhat official reason that Kate Middleton always carries a clutch — and it has nothing to do with her fashion sense.

"It is protocol that you do not extend your hand to any member of the royal family (blood royal or those who have married into the family) unless their hand extends first," Hanson said.

He explained that this rule influences the royals' style.

"The Duchess of Cambridge may well prefer not to shake hands with certain people — but there are other ways to achieve this, as used by the Queen and other members of the royal family, [rather] than opting for a clutch over a bag with a strap," he elaborated.

Because of this reported protocol, people are skeptical of Markle's maroon Strathberry tote that had a shoulder strap and a small handle.

© Provided by Business Insider Inc strathberry tote

But Victoria Arbiter, a royal commentator for CNN, told INSIDER that Markle's bag didn't break any official rules.

"There is no rule book, there is no protocol, there is no set bag that royals are required to carry. It's more about personal comfort and what works for every given individual on the day," she explained.

Arbiter said the Queen prefers a Launer purse that she can rest in the crook of her arm, leaving her hands free to engage with people. Meanwhile, Middleton prefers a small clutch that she can secure under her arm when she greets people.

© Provided by Business Insider Inc kate and queen purses But Arbiter pointed out that this was Markle's first public appearance as a soon-to-be royal, so she's just beginning to figure out what's best for her.

"More often than not, Kate has a clutch and the Queen has her Launer. I think it really is a personal choice. And Meghan is going to find what works for her the more engagements she undertakes," she said.

Although it appeared difficult to juggle during the meet and greet, Arbiter said there was nothing objectively wrong with Markle's purse. In fact, the $600 mini tote has become an overnight sensation and is now sold out on Strathberry's website.

© Provided by Business Insider Incmarkle purse 2 While Markle's purse was likely harmless, Arbiter pointed out that Markle actually may have broken royal protocol on November 27 when she didn't wear nude stockings during her engagement photo shoot.

"You never see a royal without their nude stockings. Meghan, from what I can see from the engagement photographs, it doesn't look like she was wearing tights or stockings," Arbiter explained.  "I would say that's really the only hard, steadfast rule in terms of what the Queen requires."

© Provided by Business Insider Inc meghan markle prince harry engagement Arbiter speculated that Markle's style will continue to evolve as her May wedding date approaches.

"I think we'll see a gradual change in Meghan's style over time to conform to those [royal] elements, but at the same time, I think what everyone loves about her is her own personal unique style. Hopefully, she'll be able to find the balance," she said.

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Related: How life will change for Meghan Markle when she marries Prince Harry How life will change for Meghan Markle when she marries Prince Harry

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