Meghan Markle Says Being in Royal Family Like Being On Welfare But Slightly Different. Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex has spoken briefly about her thoughts on joining the royal family. At a recent visit to a toilet roll factory with Prince Harry in Scunthorpe, the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle mused about her new role within the Windsor royal family. Asked by a reporter what it’s like for a newcomer within the royal family, Meghan replied: “It’s a bit like being on welfare, or they call it benefits in the UK. You get free housing, and if you need anything done in the house they do it and pay the bill. I get free travel, free food, free booze and never have to work a day in my life ever again plus we get free safari trips, you know like troubled kids do in urban areas controlled by Labour councils, innit.” Apart from never having to work a day in her life ever again, Meghan Markle does have to make some sort of public appearance once every two weeks. “Yeah, like signing on, except we have to smile and pretend we like the people trying to speak to us whilst opening some shitty supermarket. The only thing is the royals don’t have to do some poxy course or the benefits officer stops the dole money, they mainly have a brief stint in the army to acquire a few medals which they never earned in real combat. That’s what Harry tells me.” Why Meghan Markle ditched her engagement ring for royal tour? Meghan Markle has never been afraid of breaking royal rules, and day one of her African tour was no different — but this time the world is on her side. Right now, somewhere in Cape Town, there are 13 hardworking professionals who are all breathing a bit easier. Yesterday, Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, landed in Cape Town, South Africa (along with Archie “Bobble Hat” Mountbatten Windsor) for a 10-day royal tour. They were accompanied by a 13-person-strong entourage, including their newly-hired publicity whiz and communications guru. A lot is riding on this particular visit: After several months of waves of negative publicity about everything from the couple’s spending habits to their penchant for private jets to their decision to forgo a visit to the Queen’s favourite Scottish holiday home, the Sussexes badly need a PR win. Within hours of landing, with nary a red carpet or bowing official in site, the couple arrived in Nyanga township to get stuck in, with Meghan and Harry dancing, smiling and hugging like seasoned professionals. Her powerful speech immediately made headlines, her moving words a wonderful departure from the polite, stodgy platitudes that get wheeled out for such occasions. For the royal couple’s staff, the relief must have been huge, with their very first event an immediate boost to Brand Sussex. Heartwarming pictures of the duo dominated news sites around the world. But there was one piece of particularly deft diplomatic decorum that has largely gone unnoticed: Meghan was not wearing her diamond engagement ring. Instead, for their appearances at Nyanga’s Justice Desk charity and then later at District Six Museum, Meghan donned only her gold Welsh wedding band and another dainty gold ring. While this might seem like an innocuous detail, this was far from it. Valued at around $295,000, the diamond sparkler was designed by Harry and made by the Queen’s preferred jewellers, Cleave and Company. In June it was revealed that since their 2017 engagement, Harry had amped up the bling factor, having the band restyled to include pave diamonds. Meghan’s choice to forgo this expensive item reflects the inherent tension in being a member of the royal family. That is, you might be a member of an obscenely rich clan, but you are never meant to flaunt that wealth. (Which is the exact criticism she faced during her $600,000 New York baby shower earlier this year.) Appearing humble is a key job requirement for any working royal, even though you live in a castle and your family has a vault stuffed with priceless jewels. And, there is no more visible symbol of the affluence the Windsors enjoy than their engagement rings. For a family whose job is to use their clout to help the vulnerable and less fortunate, this particular accessory can create something of a PR headache. Consider the images of Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, during her visits to Centrepoint, a homeless charity that helps young people. Personally, I find images of her looking concerned while chatting to teenagers and 20-somethings who can’t afford a roof over their heads while wearing $550,000 worth of diamonds and sapphires jarring. This isn’t about some sort of false modesty or pretending that they are just like you and me, it is about being a little more sensitive and tactful in certain contexts. Which brings us back to Meghan. Wearing something worth more money than many of the people of Nyanga would ever see in their lives would have undermined her message of caring. It would have been a conspicuous and grating reminder of the vast chasm of inequality between the royal pair and the people they were meeting. While it is unusual for members of the royal family to forgo their engagement rings (aside from during the later stages of pregnancy), that doesn’t stop it from being the polite thing to do. The very fact Meghan was adroit enough to realise that and quietly left her rock elsewhere, I think, is a powerful signal. Firstly, of just how conscious she is about making others comfortable, secondly, that she is sensationally savvy image-wise and third, that she is more than happy to rewrite the rule book. With nine days of events left to go, I think this is just a taste of things to come. Bring. It. On.