Meghan Markle celebrated her 37th birthday on Saturday, marking her very first birthday as a member of the British royal family. Though really, it may not have been much of a birthday as she was stuck celebrating someone else’s wedding, and perhaps even worse, she’s not allowed to keep her birthday presents from well-wishers.
According to The Mirror, members of the royal family receive a boatload of gifts for their birthdays from adoring fans all over the globe. But they are not allowed to keep any of them thanks to royal protocol.
"The fundamental principle governing the acceptance of gifts by Members of The Royal Family is that no gifts, including hospitality or services, should be accepted which would, or might appear to, place the Member of The Royal Family under any obligation to the donor,” The Mirror explained.
This rule means that the Duchess of Sussex is not allowed to keep any clothing or accessories, including samples, in case it gives off the impression of impropriety. (Remember, she famously paid for her custom Givenchy wedding gown that cost more than $100,000.)
She is, however, allowed to keep gifts from members of the family and is allowed to keep gifts from public bodies including “government bodies, trade associations, guilds, civic bodies, the armed services, charities or similar organizations” as long as they're based in the United Kingdom.
Meghan and the rest of the royal family are also allowed to keep smaller gifts from fans including flowers, food, books sent by the author and books presented by the author, as long as the subject matter isn't controversial, and other gifts which cost less than £150.
Don’t worry, Meghan, Prince George and Princess Charlotte have to send back all their awesome gifts too. But hey, you’re still a royal, which is a pretty awesome gift in itself, right?