9 Rules Prince Harry & Meghan Have Their Staff Follow

To say that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are divisive figures is definitely an understatement. The controversial couple has not only created a rift with the rest of the British royal family but they are also rumored to have had issues with their staff. A 2022 report in the Daily Mail found that the pair lost 14 employees in four years. A separate report in the Telegraph indicated that they lost an additional two members of Archwell in 2023. 

While it certainly would not be unusual for a royal couple to have a bit of turnover, some sources indicate that Harry and Meghan's staff have not been happy with the way that they were treated under the royal couple. In an interview with Good Morning Britain (via YouTube), royal expert, Valentine Low, alleged that members of Harry and Meghan's staff refer to themselves as the "Sussex Survivors Club." Low claimed, "There was allegations that Meghan bullied staff. I mean, people talked to me, of um, people being completely destroyed. I've heard how people at the time when faced with a possible encounter with Meghan, was saying things like, 'I feel sick' or 'I'm shaking.'"

Although these allegations have yet to be substantiated, it seems that the Sussex's staffers don't always stick around. And, interestingly, those who do continue working for the famous pair are said to follow several unique rules. From dog petting restrictions to a hiatus on curtsying, Harry and Meghan's staff are rumored to follow plenty of unusual guidelines.

1. Don't pet Harry and Meghan's dog

There might be nothing less controversial than an adorable pup, yet, when it comes to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's dog, that's far from the case. During the time that the pair were living at Frogmore Cottage, a report in The Sun indicated that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's staff were banned from petting their dog. While it is difficult to pinpoint the exact origin of this rumor, it seems that it all began with a neighborhood meeting. As per The Sun, at the gathering, one of the couple's managers informed their neighbors, which included several members of their staff, that Harry and Meghan had a list of rules for everyone in the vicinity to follow. Per the outlet, one of these rules dictated that nobody in their neighborhood could pet their dog. 

Following the incident, Buckingham Palace told The Sun that the couple did not come up with these restrictions. Apparently, the manager, who the palace characterized as "an overly protective palace official," made these rules on Harry and Meghan's behalf. Compellingly, however, this is not the only rule the couple has enforced with regard to their dog. According to a piece in Elle, the Sussexes kept their pup, Pula's, name away from the media for two years. Perhaps, then, the Sussexes are simply extra-protective of their pooch, thanks to the relentless media attention that royals inevitably face. 

2. Staff shouldn't initiate a chat if they see the royals

The "no dog petting rule" was not alone on the list of rules articulated by one of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's staff managers, as reported by The Sun. Apparently, the individual also warned neighbors and staff not to initiate a casual conversation with the couple on the street. Instead, they were reportedly told to wait and see if Harry and Meghan approached them. 

By some accounts, this rule didn't go over well. One anonymous staffer told The Sun that they couldn't help but compare Harry and Meghan to Queen Elizabeth, who often enjoyed being greeted by her staff. "Everyone who lives on the estate works for the royals ... We aren't told how to behave around the Queen like this. She's very happy for people to greet her," the staff member complained.

Although Buckingham Palace did claim that Harry and Meghan had nothing to do with this rule, it is possible that their staff manager enforced it due to their having an intense need for privacy. In the Netflix documentary "Harry & Meghan" (via Page Six) Meghan divulged that, while she was living in Toronto, the British paparazzi used her neighbors to terrorize her: "They had paid certain neighbors to put a live stream camera into my backyard."

3. Do say 'Good Morning' if greeted first

While these reports clearly indicate that palace staff worried that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wouldn't want to be greeted by their neighbors or employees, it seems that there was one apparent exception to the rule. As per The Sun, the list of rules included a caveat to the "do not approach" rule. Apparently, if Harry or Meghan initiated a conversation, a staffer could ostensibly reply with the two-word greeting, "Good Morning."

Although Buckingham Palace told The Sun that these rules were put in place by a palace official, and not by the Sussexes, royal expert Ingrid Seward seemed to find the situation more complicated. As Seward told the outlet, these stringent rules indicate the way that Harry and Meghan's staff believed the couple desired to be treated. "It sounds as if Harry and Meghan's ­incessant demands for privacy means that palace officials are second-guessing what they might want," the royal expert said.

Unfortunately, however, these sorts of incidents might have led Meghan to worry about the media's portrayal of her as a "difficult" woman. In an episode of her podcast, Archtypes (via YouTube), the Duchess of Sussex opened up about what that word means to her saying, "Calling someone the 'b-word,' labeling them as 'difficult,' it's often a way to insult and dismiss someone." As Meghan's biographers, Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, told Insider, many media portrayals of Meghan are "false."

4. Don't put anything in the Sussex's mailbox

If these rules surrounding Prince Harry and Meghan Markle seem to have a strong connotation of privacy and safety, their mailbox rule is no exception. In the same list of requests that appeared in The Sun, a palace official asked that no one put anything into the couple's mailbox. While this might seem like a shocking request to make of people who live in the same neighborhood, it does seem to reflect the trauma that the couple has potentially faced at the hands of the media. 

In their Netflix docuseries, "Harry & Meghan" (via Page Six), the couple opened up about the impact of the British paparazzi on their emotional well-being. Meghan, in particular, reported feeling frightened by these members of the media. Apparently, she didn't even feel the same in her own home. "My house was just surrounded. Just men sitting in their cars all the time waiting for me to do anything," Meghan recalled. The Duchess of Sussex went on to describe how this intense media attention turned her into something of a recluse, describing her life as, "much more insular."

Sadly, one of the most terrifying moments for Meghan was reportedly receiving a death threat. In the docuseries, Meghan described how, following that experience, "things changed because I needed to have security." Perhaps, then, considering this context, the palace official's "no mailbox" rule stemmed from a desire to keep Meghan safe.

5. Pass one of Prince Harry's loyalty tests

Meghan Markle may worry about the "Difficult Duchess" label, but some rumors hint that Prince Harry had a difficult relationship with his employees long before Meghan came around. According to a Good Morning Britain interview with royal expert Valentine Low (via YouTube), Harry used to ask his staffers for constant reassurance of their loyalty. As per Low's account, Harry "distrusted the courtiers in the other households. And, even those close to him, who worked for him, he used to submit to loyalty tests. He was always saying, "Oh, are you actually helping me'? 'Oh, have you become one of them — one of the other people who don't help me?'"

Apparently, this practice stemmed from the prince's deep-seated distrust of the British press. "Harry had this obsession with the media. He could have hated the media. He distrusted a lot of courtiers," Low claimed. Interestingly, the royal expert emphasized that this mistrust of both the media and the staff dates back to before Harry was with Meghan.

In the book, "Battle of Brothers" (via Page Six), royal historian, Robert Lacey posited that Harry's issues began when he wore a Nazi uniform to a party. Per Lacey, Harry and William, "chose [the] costume in conjunction," but Harry alone bore "the brunt of public outrage." While it's impossible to know for sure, it seems likely that these sorts of incidents led Harry to lose trust in those around him — including his staff. 

6. Housekeepers must be proactive, not experienced

When it comes to hiring housekeepers, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle aren't too concerned about the candidates' past experience. On the contrary, the couple has a more specific rule that guides them in their hiring decisions: Their housekeeper must have a go-getter's disposition. According to a 2020 report in House Beautiful, Harry and Meghan released a posting for an assistant housekeeper with plenty of positive personality traits. The two were reportedly looking for someone with, "A proactive approach and [the] ability to tackle new challenges." Interestingly, candidates who lacked prior experience were not discouraged from applying. As the job description read, "Previous housekeeping or hospitality experience would be an advantage but is not essential."

Although Harry and Meghan have a fairly modern approach to choosing a housekeeper, the same cannot be said about other members of the royal family. To work in the household of the late Queen Elizabeth, for example, housekeepers had to pass a secret test. In the Channel 5 documentary, "Sandringham: The Royals at Christmas" (via Mirror), Buckingham Palace's head of recruitment, Tracey Waterman, divulged how she hires royal housekeepers. Apparently, Waterman plants a dead fly in the room where she is interviewing a candidate. Per the recruitment specialist, "It's a great test, maybe out of 10 people half the candidates will notice the fly. One out of ten will actually bend down and pick it up, that's the special housekeeper."

7. Prince Harry doesn't want his staff to worry about protocol

While Prince Harry and Meghan Markle clearly value their privacy, the pair don't seem to have a rule demanding any sort of formality. In his book, "Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind The Crown" (via GeoTV), royal expert, Valentine Low, detailed an occasion when a member of Harry's staff broke protocol. Per Low's account, Harry's former press secretary, Ed Perkins, once texted him, "Hello mate." As "mate" is a far cry from "Your Highness," Perkins quickly realized his mistake and apologized. Harry, however, seemed unbothered by the whole mix-up. According to Low's book, the prince simply replied, "Please don't worry."

Interestingly, this interaction demonstrates an enormous contrast with the way his father, King Charles III, approaches his staff. In an interview with Express, Valentine Low provided a little bit of insight into the way that Charles expects to be addressed by the people that work for him. "In Charles' household, when he was Prince of Wales, you know, first thing in the morning, it was 'Your Royal Highness' ... [and] last thing at night, 'Your Royal Highness,' Low explained. In that sense, it seems that Harry is trying to establish household rules that don't prioritize protocol in the same way that previous generations certainly did.

8. Harry and Meghan don't ask their staff to curtsy

A lack of overall formality isn't the only way that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's household deviates from traditional, royal protocol. The couple apparently has no rule obliging their employees to curtsy and has even encouraged staffers to hug them. In an episode of the podcast, "The Breakfast Club with Zenzele Ndebele" (via YouTube), their former nanny, Lorren Khumalo, opened up about her experience greeting Harry for the first time.

Per the interview, Khumalo initially thought that Harry would be a "princely" figure, entrenched in royal protocol. When it came time for her to greet the prince, however, Khumalo encountered a much more casual guy. As the royal nanny explained, "I kept asking [Harry's] ... protection officer that, 'Do I curtsy?'" Apparently, the security officer responded, "You will see. Prince Harry is amazing." In the end, Khumalo said that she wasn't told to curtsy for the prince. Instead, she recalled that Harry greeted her with open arms — and even gave her a hug.

While this interaction represents a major deviation from royal protocol, it makes sense, given Meghan's past. As the Duchess of Sussex revealed in the docuseries "Harry & Meghan" (via Today), she felt caught off-guard when asked to curtsy for Queen Elizabeth. "I just thought it was a joke," she confessed. Thus, it would be hardly astonishing to imagine that Meghan's house is a curtsy-free zone.

9. The couple preferred a house with few staff

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle certainly have a lot of rules for their staff — many of which are intended to maintain the couple's privacy away from their employees. Compellingly, however, some royal experts believe that this is no coincidence. According to the book, "Finding Freedom," by royal journalists Omar Scoobie and Carolyn Durand (via Express), Harry and Meghan didn't want their household to be bustling with people. On the contrary, the book posits that the pair, "Agreed that they didn't want their home filled with staff," as they wanted their house to be "cozy and private." For this reason, Harry and Meghan reportedly chose against asking their staff to stay overnight. Even the couple's beloved nanny, Lorren Khumalo, did not live with them full-time.

Fascinatingly, this was far from being the only report indicating that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wanted to break from the royal tradition of keeping a full household staff. In an interview with Grazia (via Daily Mail), royal correspondent Kate Nicholl revealed that Harry and Meghan largely operated with a "scaled down" team during their time at Frogmore Cottage. Nicholl told the outlet that the couple took their time hiring help and even went for quite some time without a nanny or a chef. Apparently, this was all part of Harry and Megan's goal of maintaining a normal life.