Did Meghan Markle Take Secret Tea-Drinking Lessons To Impress The Queen?

Is there any truth in the latest batch of royal engagement rumours? Each week, we apply our smell test to tell you what’s true and what stinks worse than rotten kippers.

Meghan Markle photographed smiling. She allegedly took secret lessons in tea drinking etiquette.

Photo, Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty.

The rumour: Meghan Markle took tea drinking lessons to impress the Queen

Where you heard it: In the Times excerpt of Andrew Morton’s upcoming book, Meghan Markle: A Hollywood Princess
The report: There are a lot of interesting reveals in Morton’s deeply researched (and unauthorized!) bio, but our favourite has to be a story about how a few months before meeting her future granny, Markle allegedly visited a place called Rose Tree Cottage, which Morton describes as “a little slice of England in the suburbs of L.A.” While there, she sat for a traditional afternoon tea, learning the ins and outs of England’s most essential ritual, including how to properly crook one’s finger while holding a teacup.
The smell test: This one smells as reliable as a good cup of English Breakfast. While Morton (who also wrote Diana: Her True Story in the early ’90s) doesn’t reveal a source on this particular anecdote, his book is extremely well researched and, so far, nobody has cast doubt on any of the facts presented. The only odd part is that if MM wanted to know about tea-drinking, couldn’t she have consulted a certain Orange Pekoe?

The rumour: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have banned anyone over 40 from wedding prep

Has Meghan Markle Chosen Canada's Jessica Mulroney As Her Maid Of Honour?Has Meghan Markle Chosen Canada's Jessica Mulroney As Her Maid Of Honour?Where you heard it: Vanity Fair
The report: According to VF’s unnamed source, Prince Charles approached his youngest son and future daughter-in-law shortly after their engagement, recommending his former valet Michael Fawcett help with the big event. A well-meaning suggestion, presumably, but out of step with Harry and Meghan’s alleged anti-fuddy-duddy policy, which has anyone over the big four-oh banned from wedding prep. In the same story, VF reports that Harry and Meghan are leaning heavily on Markle’s Canadian bestie Jessica Mulroney (their “secret” wedding planner) to help them bring “fresh ideas” to the age-old art of royal matrimony.
The smell test: Recent revelations around the wedding cake and flower arrangements indicate that this royal wedding will have a distinctly contemporary and, sure, youthful vibe. So while an actual ban on over-forties sounds extreme, it does seem that the happy couple are intent on doing things their own way. Tradition (and fruitcake) be damned!

The rumour: Kate Middleton is advising Meghan Markle on fashion

Where you heard it: Entertainment Tonight
The report: As the former actress adapts to royal life, ET’s inside source reveals that her future sister-in-law has been offering valuable fashion council. Kate has apparently provided Meghan with guidance on “what’s expected” (meaning a difficult convo on messy buns is in their future) as well as the names of “some of her favourite go-to U.K. designers.”
The smell test: It seems possible that Markle might look to Middleton as a sound voice on protocol, but fashion advice? We thinkest not. Kate can wear a nude heel with the best of them, but she’s not exactly a natural style star and nowhere near as adept as the current royal fiancé when it comes to contemporary fashion. Markle’s ability to execute cool classic with a dash rebellion has drawn accurate comparisons to Princess Diana. If anything, Kate (spotted recently in skinny jeans and Meghan Markle Power Coat™) is taking cues from MM.

The rumour: Some royal wedding invites do not include a plus one

Everything We Know About Meghan And Harry’s Big DayEverything We Know About Meghan And Harry’s Big DayWhere you heard it: ITV Royal Editor Chris Ship’s Twitter feed
The report: Ship has been live tweeting this story, claiming to have laid eyes on more than one royal wedding invite addressed to one spouse and not the other. In other words, this isn’t so much a matter of “no ring, no bring” (a common wedding invite policy that knocks out dates who aren’t spouses), but rather an extremely selective guest list where even holy matrimony doesn’t guarantee a plus one.
The smell test: There is little question that Ship (a named journalist) is telling the truth, and since he claims to have laid eyes on the actual invites, this is maybe less of a rumour than a surprising revelation. As Ship notes, the extreme exclusivity likely comes down to limited space at St George’s Chapel. On the other hand, it may be yet another example of the happy couple’s desire to throw a great party, trimming any unnecessary fat (read: snoozy spouses) in the process.