photo: Splash News

The buzz surrounding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s decision to seek financial independence has not let up since it was announced just under a week ago. Meghan and Harry’s decision to step down as senior members of the Royal Family came with a flurry of opinions that are not necessarily in favor of their new take on modern royalty. The type of backlash the couple has received in recent days is a testament to why they felt the need for a massive change in the first place. It’s bold moves like this one that has shown us why Meghan Markle is a force to be reckoned with.

But just in case you thought this current wave of news was just a fluke in her ability to stand on her own two feet, we’ve put together a powerful list of all the ways Markle has earned her right to be an independent woman. Not to mention, become the modern royal of our time.

She called it in like a badass.

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While Markle was back in Canada to be with her son, Archie, she was prepared to call into a meeting held at Buckingham Palace with Queen Elizabeth II regarding the Sussexes' independence. Prince Charles, William, and Harry were also in attendance, but in the end, it was decided Markle didn’t need to attend. It would have been cool if she did, though.

She took the shame out of divorce.

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In a massive turning point for the monarchy, Markle was the first divorcee to marry into the royal family. In fact, her marriage marks the first time a royal family member was allowed to wed a divorced woman in a church.

Her iconic baby shower was in the Big Apple. 

photo: Splash News

In non-traditional fashion, Markle decided to have a baby shower with 15 of her closest friends in New York City. And even though she had a second shower back in the UK, we’re still glad she did things on her terms.

She took her shoes off — gasp! 

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A significant royal rule suggests that shoes should be worn at all times, especially while visiting another country. It’s been reported that Kate Middleton and Princess Diana each kept their shoes on while visiting different beaches. Still, Markle broke protocol in 2018 when she took off her espadrille wedges at Bondi Beach in Australia.

She stays fearlessly fashionable — always.

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Whether she’s rocking pants or a pantsuit, cross-body bags, or exposing bare legs and shoulders — Markle's list of royal fashion no-no’s runs deep. And that’s just the way we like it.

Loose hair, don't care. 

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Although it doesn’t necessarily go against protocol, the Duchess of Sussex prefers to wear her hair in a loose bun and has no shame allowing long tendrils to sit neatly on the side of her face. The Duchess of Cambridge, on the other hand, tends to wear her hair down or in a tight updo.

She knows when to close a door. 

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It’s generally seen as a faux pas, but Markle once entered the vehicle before Queen Elizabeth II. She’s also been known to open and close her door, because why wouldn’t she?

She never shies away from PDA.

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Will and Kate tend to keep their affection for one another to a minimum in the public eye, but Markle isn’t afraid to show the world just how much she adores her husband, Harry. The royal couple is often seen holding hands and affectionately touching each other while attending events and outings.

She's not afraid to show a sign of love to her fans. 

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Meghan and Harry are known to directly engage with their fans, and often take photos with them. There are rumors that Markle has signed autographs, which of course is against protocol for fear a signature could be duplicated for the wrong reasons. However, she once wrote “Hi Kaitlin” on a piece of paper for a young fan that requested her signature.

She stands up for what she believes. 

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Royal family members are allowed to have opinions, so long as they don’t share them with the public. But as a feminist and independent thinker, Markle has been known to answer questions as they relate to her values and beliefs, and isn’t afraid to speak publicly about women’s rights.

She allows herself to feel her feelings. 

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Markle showed the world it was OK not to be OK. In a documentary titled Harry and Meghan: An African Journey, interviewer Tom Bradby asked Megan if she was OK given the pressure of the British media. Her vulnerability is evident in the interview and was a wake-up call for the monarchy and the general public. 

She let them eat cake.

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A royal wedding calls for a traditional fruitcake. But by now, you should know that the Duchess of Sussex is anything but conventional. So she let them eat a lemon and elderflower cake instead.