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Why Kate is forbidden from signing autographs for fans

The same rule applies to Princes William and Harry, and even the Queen

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Gemma Strong
Gemma StrongOnline Digital News Director
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The Duchess of Cambridge is both friendly and obliging when she meets fans at official engagements – she has even been known to pose for a selfie in the past. But if you ask the royal to sign an autograph, she will have to politely decline. Along with the rest of the British royal family, including Prince William, Prince Harry and the Queen, Kate is forbidden from writing her signature down for members of the public, because of the risk of it being forged, according to the Express. Her father-in-law, Prince Charles, is said to turn down such requests with the response: "Sorry, they don't allow me to do that." He did, however, break protocol back in 2010 when he signed an autograph for a victim of devastating floods, writing 'Charles 2010' on a piece of paper, although that appears to be the only occasion.

kate middleton crowds© Photo: Getty Images

Duchess Kate and other royals can't sign their autographs because of the risk of forgery

Of course, this will be a totally new experience for Prince Harry's new fiancée Meghan Markle. The former Suits actress is used to signing autographs for her fans – but learning to politely decline those requests will be one of many changes the 36-year-old will have to make as a member of the British royal family. Meghan’s new approach to interacting with fans will also extend to selfies. You can probably count on one hand how many times a royal has stopped to pose for a selfie with a fan; in the spirit of goodwill, Prince William once obliged a schoolgirl by taking a selfie with her on Christmas Day at Sandringham in 2014. But generally speaking, royals politely decline photographs as they are often focused on an engagement when out in public, and in their working capacity. 

prince harry selfie© Photo: Getty Images

Prince Harry has only posed for a selfie with fans a handful of times

Last year, Prince Harry admitted that he "hates selfies". During a visit to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, he turned down the request of a young fan, explaining: "No, I hate selfies. Seriously, you need to get out of it (the habit), I know you're young, selfies are bad. Just take a normal photograph!"

STORY: William and Kate pose for selfies with excited fans

the queen selfie© Photo: Getty Images

The Queen considers it bad manners for the public to take selfies when she's out

The Queen, meanwhile, has also previously admitted that she finds it "disconcerting" and "strange" when she is faced with a sea of people trying to take selfies with her. The implication is that Her Majesty considers it bad manners for wellwishers to be looking at a screen when she makes public appearances as a guest. She spoke about the matter to US ambassador Matthew Barzun, who later told Tatler: "She was essentially saying: 'I miss eye contact'."

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