Shutting a car door is an unremarkable act. But when you’re the Duchess of Sussex, it can cause a social media conflagration.
On her first solo trip as a royal on Tuesday evening, Meghan Markle attended the opening of “Oceania” at London’s Royal Academy of Arts. As she arrived at the venue, her car door was opened for her. Seconds later, Markle slammed it shut.
And social media erupted.
Within hours, Markle’s door-closing went viral, with footage of the moment circulating on Twitter. Royals generally have someone on hand to take care of opening and closing doors for them, so Markle’s action not only raised eyebrows but also generated numerous questions.
Did Markle break protocol, pondered some. Is she the first royal to close her own door, wondered others. Some simply demanded to know what the world is coming to.
While some praised her for her “humble” and “down to earth” action, others couldn’t quite resist injecting a dose of typical British humor:
“Breaking News: Meghan Markle shut her car door all by her little ole self yesterday. Gasp,” one sarcastic observer tweeted.
“Because I was so inspired by Meghan Markle, as I left the house this morning I shut my own front door,” another wrote.
For one, more frustrated tweeter, widespread news coverage of Meghan’s door-closing capability became too much to handle: “The UK is careering off a Brexit cliff edge and that’s deemed newsworthy!!!!!!”
So did the duchess break protocol? The answer is no.
“In the royal goldfish bowl, everything is noticed,” royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told The Washington Post on Wednesday.
“The phrase ‘royal protocol’ means you mustn’t do selfies and autographs and so on. Yes, there are do’s and don’ts, but, in this case, Meghan was just doing her own thing.”
“Prince William and Kate, along with Prince Harry and Meghan, are moving the monarchy into the 21st century with small, important changes. Meghan and Harry are inspired by Diana. It’s clear she [Meghan] is making an extraordinary impression.”
“It’s the doors Meghan will be opening in [the] future that we should focus on,” he concluded.
Markle is not the first royal to shut her own door. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, also has been spotted doing so in the past.