12 Shocking Rules For Marrying Into The British Royal Family

Published on April 6, 2018. Updated January 17, 2019

Marrying into the British royal family must seem like a dream for most people, but there’s a lot more involved than most of us are aware of! For instance, there are a ton of rules and requirements that members of the royal family must adhere to and some of them are kind of ridiculous. Follow along for 12 shocking secrets for marrying into the British Royal Family:

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12. Royals Need the Queen’s Permission to Marry

According to the Royal Marriages Act of 1772, senior members of the Royal Family couldn’t marry anyone who was divorced or Catholic; however, this was replaced with the Successions to the Crown Act in 2013. This new act means that only the first six in line to the throne need the Queen’s permission to marry. She granted Prince Charles permission to marry Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince William permission to marry Kate Middleton, and Prince Harry permission to marry Meghan Markle.

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11. Royals Can Marry Commoners – with the Queen’s Permission

Historically, royals were only permitted to marry other royals. This was why Prince Charles ended up marrying Lady Diana Spencer instead of Camilla Parker Bowles – Diana was of royal blood, whereas Camilla wasn’t. This ended up causing a whole slew of problems for the British Royal Family. Nowadays, royals can marry commoners, they just need permission from the Queen.


10. Marrying the Queen Doesn’t Mean You’ll Be King

When a British queen marries, her husband becomes the king consort – not king. Queen Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Philip, never became king because he is Greek and German and cannot hold the title as a result. The same happened with Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert. He was German so he became prince consort. When a British king marries, his wife becomes queen consort instead of princess. Once Prince William is king, the Duchess of Cambridge will hold the title Queen Consort. Like Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle will become a Duchess after she marries Prince Harry.

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9. Once Married to a Royal You Can’t Be Involved in Politics

Members of the Royal Family are not allowed to participate in political events. This includes voting and running for any form of public office. The big reason they can’t get involved in politics is that they have to remain neutral. They are public figures and need to be able to identify with all segments of society. Taking a political stance would compromise their ability to do this.


8. Must Be Addressed by Your Royal Title – Nothing Else

After marrying into the royal family, spouses cannot be referred to by their former nicknames. Duchess of Cambridge used to be called “Kate,” but now she can only be addressed by her full title or “Ma’am.” The Duchess’ full title is “Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge” while William’s is “His Royal Highness, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge.” The Queen’s full title is Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, but “your majesty” is also permitted.

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7. Say Goodbye to Shellfish

Members of the royal family have been advised to stay away from shellfish because it poses a higher risk of food poisoning than other foods. They’re also advised to avoid rare meat, drinking tap water in foreign countries, and overly exotic or spicy dishes for the same reason. Not all royal family members abide by these strict rules as Prince Charles is said to enjoy shellfish on occasion.

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6. No Selfies

When Meghan Markle was out in Nottingham with Prince Harry, a fan asked for a selfie with her and she responded with, “we’re not allowed to do selfies.” While there are some selfies floating around the internet that include members of the royal family, Prince William and Duchess of Cambridge never pose for them, and neither does the Queen. During William and Kate’s tour of Canada in 2016, the Government of Canada explained why the royal family doesn’t like selfies and this is because a selfie means that you will have your back turned to the royals and you should never turn your back on them. They would much rather see your face.


5. A Catholic Cannot Become Monarch

Under the Act of Settlement of 1701, no one in the direct line of succession in the royal family could marry Catholic and keep their right to the throne. This is because Queen Elizabeth is the Head of the Church of England. In 2015, this changed slightly. Amendments were made that allowed British royals to marry a Catholic and still become king or queen; however, a royal who is Catholic still cannot become the monarch. For example, if Prince George were to marry a Catholic and they were to raise their children in that religion, they would be prohibited from taking the throne.

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4. The Queen Dictates Every Family Event

Every royal needs to follow the Queen’s lead. For instance, when she stands, other members of the Royal Family must follow suit. After she sits, everyone must sit as well. When she eats, everyone else must eat too, but once she stops, everyone must. These rules date back centuries in the British monarchy.


3. Must Abide by Royal Rank

After becoming a member of the royal family, one’s title and place in the royal ranking system means everything. During public appearances or processionals, the royal family must stand in ranking order. This means that Queen Elizabeth leads, followed by Prince Philip. Then Prince Charles and Camilla, followed by Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, and then Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

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2. No Autographs

The Royal Family is banned from signing their autographs. They are only allowed to sign official papers authorized by the Queen. There’s a very good reason for this rule – it’s to prevent their signatures from being forged. There are exceptions, however. If a royal family member is attending an official event with a guest book, they are free to sign it.

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1. Always Travel with Funeral Attire

When the Royal Family travels, they must always bring a black outfit just in case there is a death in the family. This tradition began back in 1952 when Queen Elizabeth was on a royal tour with Prince Philip in Kenya and her father King George VI suddenly passed. She didn’t have any funeral attire with her, so she had to have her assistant bring a dress aboard the plane for her when she landed in England.

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Rules All British Royal Children Must Follow


Rules All British Royal Children Must Follow

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