Rules All Royals Must FollowPublished on July 23, 2019. Updated September 4, 2019
The Royal family has a strict set of rules and guidelines they must follow as public figures. While some of these rules make sense for a family that comes from generations of tradition and code, some of them are downright strange. Follow along for 60 ridiculous rules the Royal family must follow:
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60. Royal heirs can’t travel together
According to royal protocol, royal heirs shouldn’t travel on the same plane together. As most of us know, Prince William is second in line to the throne, and Prince George is third while Princess Charlotte is fourth. The rule serves to protect the royal lineage should anything happen to the plane.
59. No nail polish
One of the most prominent royal beauty rules is that royals must have well-groomed, manicured nails with no polish or just a clear gloss. Queen Elizabeth is known for her disapproval of flashy nails and this includes both long nails and any sort of bright color. To follow the Queen’s wishes, the Duchess is always photographed at public appearances with short nails with no polish on them.
58. 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.
57. Royal women must not expose their shoulders
Meghan Markle was the victim of significant criticism when she stepped out for the 2018 Trooping the Color ceremony wearing a blush pink Carolina Hererra dress that featured an off-the-shoulder neckline and buttons trailing along the front. She took slack for this outfit because of her exposed shoulders, which many saw as overly revealing for a Royal figure. We definitely think this shoulder-baring rule is quite outdated and that Meghan looked both respectful and elegant in this ensemble.
56. Royals must have an engagement announcement and interview
After any royal engagement, there is always an engagement photocall where the happy couple steps out in public for the first time after their engagement. During this time the media is allowed to take photos, but the engagement photocall is for pictures only, any formal questions are asked during a sit-down interview later in the day. Prince William and Kate Middleton did this 7 years ago, as did Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
55. Royals don’t open gifts on Christmas Day
On Christmas Day, the royal family gathers together for the morning service at St. Mary Magdalene in Sandringham. This tradition dates back to the 16th century. Because of this, there is no time for Prince George and Princess Charlotte to open presents on Christmas morning, so they follow a German tradition by opening their presents on Christmas Eve. At nightfall, parents will signal for their royal progeny to come to the Christmas tree room using bells and that’s when they open their gifts.
54. Pale pink polish is acceptable
The one exception the Queen makes for her “no nail polish” rule is for a soft shade of pink lacquer. The Queen herself has spilled that her go-to polish has always been Essie’s “Ballet Slippers” and is known for wearing this barely-there shade during many public appearances. It seems that Meghan Markle has adopted this royal beauty tradition and donned a pale pink on her nails to show off her new engagement ring from Prince Harry.
53. No hats after 6 pm
Royal women are often spotted wearing unique fascinators and hats for daytime events, but it’s absolutely prohibited to wear them after 6 pm. Wearing a hat during the evening is seen as a “fashion faux pas” and is highly frowned upon in the royal community. We believe that having an exact time for when a hat should and shouldn’t be worn seems overly restrictive and unnecessary.
52. Must have an official wedding portrait done
It’s a Royal tradition and custom to have an official family wedding portrait taken on the special day. Princess Diana, Kate Middleton, and Meghan Markle all had family portraits taken on their wedding day and followed tradition with this rule.
51. Can’t play Monopoly
No one in the royal family is allowed to play Monopoly. According to Prince Andrew, it is because things get vicious when the royal family plays the game. “We’re not allowed to play Monopoly at home. It gets too vicious,” he said when visiting Leeds Building Society’s newly-refurbished Albion Street headquarters in 2008. Poor Charlotte and George – this means that they might never get the opportunity to play the classic game!
50. Special rituals for baptism
Royal baptisms take place in The Lily Font, a small, silver gilt vessel that is part of the Crown Jewels and has been used since 1841 for royal christenings. It is flown in from the River Jorden where Christ was baptized by John the Baptist for the ceremony.
49. Must wear a special Baptismal Gown
All royal babies have to be baptized in a replica of a Victorian gown. The original, which was commissioned by Queen Victoria for her eldest daughter Victoria in 1841 and was subsequently worn by 60 royal babies – now that’s history! The original gown was retired in 2004 after it was deemed “too fragile for further use” so a new gown was made that is identical to the original.
48. Must always have a blowout
The Duchess is known for her persistently polished and bouncy hair that seems to never have problems with frizz or damage despite the weather. Her hair is consistently blown out and perfect, which is allegedly a royal beauty requirement for public engagements. Both Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana had followed this tradition religiously during their own public appearances. Royal newbie Meghan Markle initially seemed to adopt this practice when she stepped out to announce her engagement to Prince Harry with perfectly blown out locks, but she has had a few mishaps since where she’s worn a messy bun for a public appearance!
47. 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 a princess. Once Prince William is king, the Duchess of Cambridge will hold the title Queen Consort.
46. Royal women must wear minimal makeup
Before she was a Royal, Meghan Markle was living the life of celebrity glamour and frequenting red carpets and elite events. This means the Duchess was no newbie when it came to full-glam makeup, and often rocked smokey eyes, deep lips, and contoured cheeks. Once she became Prince Harry’s wife, however, she was forced to follow the Royal standard of minimal, nearly undetectable makeup. We think that this rule seems quite unnecessary and that Royal woman, like all women, should be allowed to wear as much or as little makeup as they’d like, especially if they want to get a little more dolled up for an evening event.
45. Wedding invitations must be sent out by the Queen
The wedding invitations are always sent out by Queen Elizabeth. When it came to her grandson Prince William’s wedding to Kate, she sent out 1,900 wedding invitations. This might be because when it comes to royal weddings, the royal family is responsible for shouldering all costs.
44. 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.
43. Updos must use a hairnet
When a royal figure isn’t rocking her tresses in a blowout, another viable option for hair is a polished chignon or ponytail. It is required, however, that even when the hair is styled in an updo it must still remain refined and without flyaways. For this to be possible, the Queen recommends using a hairnet for increased longevity and protection against winds and weather.
42. Royals must be addressed by Royal title
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.”
41. Royal women should wear polished hairstyles
Meghan Markle shocked the world when she began to step out for formal Royal appearances wearing her hair in a loose, messy bun. Previously, royal fans were used to Kate Middleton’s bouncy locks that were always styled neatly with a hair net. We don’t think Meghan deserved the criticism she received for the messy hair look. It added an air of effortless sophistication to her style and rang true to her personal taste, which is what’s most important of all.
40. A Royal bride must wear a tiara
This is one of the perks of being a royal — wearing a tiara! It is customary for a Royal bride to wear a tiara with her veil. Queen Elizabeth gave Princess Diana her “Cambridge’s Lover’s Knot Tiara” as a wedding gift which she wore on her wedding day. This tiara was passed down to Kate Middleton who is often seen with it on her head today.
39. Can’t wear a tiara until marriage
In the royal family, unmarried women are prohibited from donning a tiara until marriage. A tiara is a symbol of betrothal much like a wedding band, so don’t expect to see Princess Charlotte in one until the day of her wedding!
38. Royal weddings must have two cakes
A royal wedding has not one, but two cakes! The traditional flavor is fruitcake. When the wedding is over, the cake is cut up into teeny tiny pieces which are pristinely wrapped, packaged and mailed out to each and every guest. This is by far one of the best wedding favors ever! We’re pretty sure this cake tastes amazing, too.
37. Royal children must be heavily educated
All royal children are required to get a superior education. In the past, most royal children had been privately tutored at home. Charles was for much of his childhood until his parents sent him to an elite boarding school to make him worldlier. Prince William and Prince Harry were the first to be sent to nursery school and then private schools like Eton. Prince George and Prince Charlotte have already got a head start on their educations. George attended the Westacre Montessori School in Norfolk while Charlotte attends Willcocks Nursery School in Kensington.
36. Royal women must not wear heavy eyeshadow
Prior to joining the royal family, Meghan Markle was known for her perfectly blended gunmetal smokey eyes and heavy false lashes. As a Royal, Meghan has now adopted Kate Middleton’s eye makeup technique of being quite minimalist. A swipe of champagne shadow, brown liner, and light mascara has been Markle’s new go-to eye makeup routine.
35. Royals can’t eat 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.
34. Royal women must only wear a tiara for white-tie affairs
In the royal family, tiaras are viewed as sacred and are only to be worn for high-profile, white tie affairs. This rule, however, was slightly bent when Princess Diana joined the royal family and decided to wear tiaras for many more public occasions. Her style was bold, which is why wearing a tiara was fitting with her sense of fashion. In more recent years, Kate Middleton has been more modest with her tiara use, but we think that the Royals should be given free rein to wear tiaras whenever they please!
33. Royals must ride a glass coach to their wedding
It looks like something straight out of Cinderella but is also a long-standing tradition. The royal family always travels in a glass coach to and from the wedding venue. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge broke this tradition when they traveled by car, but William’s mother, Princess Diana and Prince Charles took a carriage. Prince William and Kate Middleton did travel in the coach with the roof down after they exchanged nuptials.
32. Royal children must have a security team
While most children are used to just traveling to school with their parents, royal children have a security team that also travels with them. The royal protection team that accompanies Prince George to school spent months planning a network of different routes to his school to alternate between on a regular basis. There’s also a wider policing plan in place in relation to any extra resources they might require should they have any issues.
31. Royals must wear a hat to formal daytime events
The royal dress code states that all women must wear hats or fascinators to formal day time events. With so many events to attend, we’ve definitely seen a fair share of interesting and unique fascinators from the Royal family member who chooses to follow this rule.
30. Royals can’t take 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.
29. Royals can only wear bright colors
The Queen once shared that she always wears bright colors to events to ensure she is able to be seen from far away. From parades to public events, it’s important that the royal family stands out and are able to be spotted among the masses. As much as we love a strong colored suit, we’d love for the Royals to drop this rule in favor of fashion’s favorite color palette — neutrals!
28. Every Royal wedding must have page boys
Every royal wedding has page boys who essentially fill the role of groomsmen. Prince William and Kate Middleton had them at their wedding, and Prince George was even a page boy at Pippa Middleton’s wedding!
27. Royal children must have Royal training
Royal kids must get extensive media training before they are out of diapers. William was able to do the “Windsor wave” at just 18 months. Prince Charles had already taught him how to behave in front of cameras, so by the time he was four, he was a pro. Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis likely all have had similar training.
26. Royals must ensure their makeup stays in place
All royal women are required to ensure their makeup and hair stays in place and remains flawless throughout the day. Royals are required to attend many public engagements, often lasting for hours and into the evening, so precautions must be taken to keep their makeup looking fresh. This requires touch-ups, a good setting powder to avoid looking shiny and a foolproof makeup setting spray.
25. 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.
24. All little boys must wear shorts
Prince George is notorious for always wearing short shorts and, surprisingly, there’s actually a royal rule behind it! There’s a tradition among the upper class that aristocrats and royals must dress young boys in shorts to show status. A pair of full pant trousers on a young boy is considered middle class and “suburban.” Although times are slowly changing, this overly traditional rule still seems to be in full force when it comes to Prince George.
23. Royal family members must speak multiple languages
Many in the royal family are multilingual. Queen Elizabeth can speak French fluently while Prince Harry can speak Arabic. Prince Philip can speak French and German while Prince William can speak French and Welsh, but not perfectly. Prince Charles also can speak Welsh and German. Prince George and Prince Charlotte are already bilingual! They can speak some Spanish.
22. Royals can’t wear heavy contour
As an actress, Meghan Markle definitely isn’t a newbie when it comes to makeup and learning how to perfectly sculpt the face. It seems that all these tips and tricks may not be any use to her now as a royal because it is suggested that royals skip heavy contouring and instead opt for a light flush of pale pink or peach on the cheeks.
21. The Queen must dictate 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.
20. Royal women must not show their hair
The royal dress code states that royal women must wear hats for formal occasions to avoid showing their hair in public. This rule was followed more diligently in the early 1900s. According to Diana Mather, a senior tutor for The English Manner etiquette consultancy, “Up until the 1950s ladies were very seldom seen without a hat as it was not considered ‘the thing’ for ladies to show their hair in public. But all that has changed and hats are now reserved for more formal occasions.” We think this shift in rules is for the better and that the hat tradition seems quite conservative for 2018!
19. The Bridal bouquet has specific requirements
A royal bride is required to leave her bouquet at the grave of the “Unknown Warrior.” This tradition began back in 1923 with the late Queen mother after her wedding to the Duke of York, later George VI. The grave located at Westminster Abbey holds the remains of an unknown warrior and has come to symbolize the nation’s fallen warriors. Another tradition that dates back to Queen Victoria is that the bride carries a sprig of myrtle in her bouquet. This particular flower is known as the “herb of love.”
18. Neutral or pale pink lipstick only
The Royals are never spotted wearing a bright or eccentric lip color. Instead, they tend to opt for shades of light pink or a peachy nude that is modest and subtle.
17. Royals 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.
16. Royal women don’t wear jeans
It’s rare to see a royal wearing jeans and is a rule that the Queen has enforced for years. Although in recent times it seems that the rule has become more lenient, we still definitely do think that jeans should be allowed in the royal dress code. They’re practical, comfortable and should be a wardrobe staple, even for royal figures! It’s all about time and place when it comes to jeans, and casual outings are definitely appropriate to bring out the denim.
15. All royal wedding bands must contain Welsh gold
Yet another tradition that dates back to the late Queen’s mother in 1923 is that all royal wedding bands contain Welsh gold. This gold is three times more valuable than gold from Australia or South Africa.
14. Royal women must have a variety of go-to hairstyles
There are definitely quite a few royal rules surrounding hair, but one important rule is that royal women must have a variety of go-to styles. They must have an array of looks they switch through, rather than just one uniform hairstyle. Kate Middleton has definitely mastered this look and switches between her bouncy blowout, polished updos and even a neat and glossy ponytail on occasion.
13. Royal women can’t give 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.
12. Royal women can’t show bare legs
Before they were royals, both Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle had a few public appearances that were quite risque in comparison to how they dress now. From low cut necklines, casual boots, and flashy textures, these ladies have seemed to have done it all. As soon as they joined the royal family, however, the Queen whipped them into shape and prompted that they refrain from showing their bare legs. Before her official marriage to Prince Harry, Markle seemed to have disregarded the rule and skipped out on the tights for many of her appearances, but now that she’s a Duchess she has succumbed to following the rule.
11. All royal wedding guests must wear a hat
It is common practice and tradition in Royal culture that all women attending a royal wedding ceremony must wear a hat. “Hats are part of the protocol for any royal wedding – it’s a part of history, as women were not allowed to show their hair until the 1950s,” explains fashion designer Aruna Seth.
10. Royal women must hide gray hair
Lastly, royal women rarely embrace their natural aging cycle and tend to dye their grays! There have been a few occasions where Kate Middleton was photographed with a few stray grays peeking through, only to have them vanish a few days later. Kate’s colorist takes care of her pesky grays and keeps her glossy brunette locks always looking like absolute perfection.
9. Royals must 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.
8. Royals should wear a clutch to avoid shaking hands
The Queen has a secret fashion protocol behind the reason she always wears clutches! Supposedly the logic is that a clutch requires two hands to carry properly which allows her to graciously avoid awkward contact or shaking hands with the public if she wishes. This rule is something that Kate Middleton has largely adopted into her own dressing as well.
7. Royal grooms have “supporters” and Royal brides have a chief bridesmaid
We’re all used to the idea of having bridesmaids, a maid of honor, groomsmen and a best man, but when the groom is a member of the royal family he has “supporters” instead of groomsmen. On the other hand, the bride typically chooses a chief bridesmaid instead of a maid of honor. Prince William broke this tradition when he asked Prince Harry to be his best man, whereas the Prince of Wales chose his brother Prince Andrew to be his supporter at his wedding to Diana back in 1981.
6. Royal women must not wear wedges
A strange and unexplained rule enforced by the Queen is that Duchesses and royal women should not wear wedges. During her early days as a royal family member, Kate Middleton used to favor the casual summer heel, but we can’t help but notice that in recent years she’s cut the style out of her wardrobe altogether. Wedges are a comfortable and stylish shoe which seems quite practical for long days of formal appearances, so we definitely think this royal dressing rule should be left in the past!
5. Royal weddings have a strict seating arrangement
During a wedding ceremony, the royal family is always to sit on the right side of the church. The only exception to this rule is when the groom is not royal, then they sit on the left side of the church.
4. Royal women must keep their coats on
Another strange royal fashion rule is that women must keep their coats on during public appearances because it is deemed “unladylike” to remove them by the Queen. Based on our observation, often when all the men take their jackets off and relax, Middleton is still seen wearing her jacket, even indoors! Royal protocol states that if she wishes to remove her coat, she must excuse herself and remove it in private away from any cameras.
3. Newlyweds must make an appearance at Buckingham Palace
After their wedding ceremony, the newlyweds and members of the royal family are always required to make an appearance at Buckingham Palace. Here they pose for pictures, wave, and kiss in front of the crowd!
2. Royal women must not wear short dress hemlines
This one may seem obvious, but royal women are prohibited from wearing short hemlines or baring any skin above the knee. Often their dresses are modest and tea-length instead! Princess Diana seemed to break this rule during her reign with mini pencil skirts and shorter hemlines, and Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle have seemed to follow her lead on occasion. We’re all for modesty when it comes to fashion, but showing a little leg in a classy way like Princess Diana definitely doesn’t hurt.
1. Women who marry into the Royal family take husbands’ title
Women who marry into the royal family will assume their husbands’ title. This basically means that just because Kate Middleton married Prince William, that does not make her a ‘princess’ — that title is reserved for women who are born into the royal family like their daughter, Princess Charlotte.
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