Once upon a time in a land of kings and queens, royal brides and grooms were chosen according to a strict set of rules. Over the years, some members of royal families have abdicated the throne in favor of love, married according to the rules, or shook things up by bending them.

With the British monarchy, times are a’changing slowly but surely. Prince Harry’s upcoming nuptials to Meghan Markle are an example of those changing times and attitudes. Breaking what would be considered typical royal protocol, their union is groundbreaking for several reasons.

Those reasons all revolve around Meghan’s personal background. Here’s a look at what makes her and their love story so different from others who have married into the family:

  1. She is Biracial

    Monarchies are known for heeding rules about their bloodlines, so a woman whose ethnicity is half African-American and half white is not typical for this family. Markle is proud of her identity and the royal family has accepted her with open arms despite some of the abuse she’s suffered in the media because of her race.

  2. Her Occupation is Acting

    No stranger to cameras and the spotlight, Meghan has been on the Hollywood acting scene since the early 2000s. She is most famous for her role on the USA Network’s Suits, and word is they are writing her character out of the show on account of her moving overseas. Royals usually keep things low-key, so having an actress (or former one) in the family is a big step.

  3. She is an American

    It’s been 81 years since a British royal married an American. Raised in Los Angeles, Meghan would be considered a “commoner” by British standards. Her parents have worked normal jobs, divorced when she was young and aren’t in line for any throne.

    Meghan was also an avid user of social media, running her own blog and posting on sites like Instagram. This will likely change over the next few months, but she’s used to being social and engaging with the public, which is in stark contrast with how the royals live.

  4. She Has Catholic Ties

    Meghan attended a Catholic high school as a teenager, though it’s unclear whether she identifies as a Catholic. No matter, as the young couple has already received a blessing from the Archbishop of Canterbury of the Church of England to marry.

  5. She is a Divorcee

    It is a known fact that Meghan was married once before and divorced in 2013. With Prince Harry so far down in the line of succession, it seems to be a non-factor. King Edward famously abdicated the throne in 1936 (under a scandal) so that he could marry the twice-divorced Wallis Simpson.

    At the time, the Church of England forbade divorced people to remarry if their former spouses were still living. That rule was changed before a divorced Prince Charles remarried divorcee Camilla Parker Bowles in a civil ceremony in 2005.

Click on this video to hear more about the upcoming wedding and the excitement surrounding it. The prince has no qualms about showing his love and devotion to his fiancée, and it’s clear the royal family is embracing her too.

While some rules will remain in place, others have been relaxed. It’s a sign of what’s to come for the next generations of royals who follow Prince William and Prince Harry.

Besides their love for one another, both Meghan and the prince are dedicated to philanthropic causes and public service – something that is relatable and endearing. As the public continues to watch their love story unfold, they will also be watching history being made.

What are your thoughts on the uniqueness of this royal engagement? Do you think the public’s acceptance will increase or waver? Do you expect to see more attitude shifts and changes within the royal family?