One way or another, you seem to have had a fantastic time reading our previous article about the occasional absurdity of a royal’s daily life. And you know what? We get it. We too like to feel a little better about ourselves with the notion that we may not rule a country but at least we can hold our teacup any way we see fit. For more examples, keep reading.
Never Mind Cars, Watch Out for Ships
The United Kingdom, or Great Britain, is a proud seafaring nation. Only a nation such as Great Britain would have a song called “Rule Britannia,” which proudly states, “Rule, Britannia! Rule the waves”. So, this seafaring nation and wave-ruling nation take sailing pretty seriously. Of course, their late figurehead, Queen Elizabeth II, would have to uphold this custom.
In fact, the laws of the UK, which apply to the royals, allow the Queen to take control of any ship in Great Britain and sail it. That’s right. She can just hop aboard and hoist its sails up. And in the past, the Queen has done so. She has commandeered a ship before. Now, isn’t that the perk of being the monarch of a proud seafaring nation?
There are so many rules around royal dinners that we’re not sure whether royal family members can enjoy a meal. In fact, we are pretty sure eating is more of a chore and duty than something that is relaxing or pleasurable. Most of us look forward to lunch and especially dinner so we can have a good conversation and eat something we like, but every aspect of a royal dinner has a rule attached to it, including napkins.
First, royals fold napkins in half. When they use the folded napkin, they need to wipe their faces and hands at the point where it has been folded in half so they don’t dirty their clothes. This might actually be a life hack.
A Scottish Wake-up Call
Everyone has their wake-up call or alarm-tone preferences. Some people prefer those alarm clocks which shoot off a boomerang that makes an unbearable shrieking noise. Others prefer lamps that display natural light and get brighter and brighter the closer it gets to wake-up time, meaning they make no noise at all. This one actually sounds pleasant. The late Queen Elizabeth II probably had the worst taste in alarm-sound preferences.
She preferred having the sound of bagpipes to wake her up. While it is certainly not for everyone, it would definitely get the job done. In this case, we’re not sure who would have the last laugh, William Wallace or the former British monarch. Either way, it is definitely one of the more unusual rules that the royal family abides by.
Don’t Beat the Queen at Charades
The late Queen Elizabeth II was a super fan of charades. Once a year, on Christmas night, the Queen gathers all of the royal family together, and they enjoy a spot of Charades. There is only one ‘rule’ – well, it is not really a rule but rather a very strong recommendation: you do not beat or upstage the Queen while playing the game.
The Queen considers herself something of an actress, so beating her at charades would not sit so well with her. It must have been awkward when Prince Harry had to introduce the actress Meghan Markle to the late Queen. She must have realized she had some competition during that games on Christmas night. We’re pretty sure Harry warned Markle not to outshine the Queen.
No Washing Machines
This is definitely the one rule that gives ordinary people – or rather, the workers of ordinary people – a major advantage over being a royal. The royals cannot use washing machines to do their laundry. Everything has to be hand washed. Can you imagine how difficult it must be to wash an evening gown by hand? Here we really pity the staff members, especially those responsible for laundry.
The worst part is that coats and evening gowns cannot be sent away to be dry-cleaned. This is because, in the past, the royals kept having their clothes pinched, as the dry-cleaning staff kept their clothing items as souvenirs. So now, every clothing item is hand-washed. At least they can still use irons.
No Raw Meat
There is definitely one downside to being a royal, especially if you like raw meat. There are plenty of types of food that are forbidden in Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, but there are some foods that the royals are simply prohibited from eating no matter where they are. This means that they cannot even leave the premises of Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle to indulge in some of their favorite treats.
The problem with raw meat is that if it is not prepared correctly or has expired a little bit, it be the cause of food poisoning. Thus, it makes sense that none of the royal family members can sneak in even a bit of raw meat, even if it happens to be their guilty pleasure.
When was the last time you ironed your shoelaces or had your shoelaces ironed? The only people whose jaws do not drop when asked this question are members of the royal family. We assume members of the royal family will never have to understand how one irons a shoelace because they probably get staff members to do their shoelace ironing for them.
But apparently not King Charles III. Paul Burrell, who was employed in the royal family and worked with the late Princess Diana and Prince Charles, explained that the king (who was then just a prince) actually woke up every morning and ironed his own shoelaces. Apparently, even wrinkles in shoelaces are unacceptable.
Addressing the Royals
One rule that applies more to us commoners than to the royals is that the public must address the royal family members correctly and appropriately. If you wished to address the late Queen, you would have to refer to her first as “Your Royal Highness,” and from there onwards, you would have to use “Ma’am.”
While this form of address would obviously apply to females, for men, you would also first use “Your Royal Highness” and then continue with “Sir.” Of course, you would expect to use specific titles with the royals, but it must take some getting used to.
Dresses for Girls
In some way, you could say that the royals are doing a great job of preserving the traditional image of the princess well and alive. It is not technically a crown rule, but it was one that was implemented during Queen Elizabeth II’s very long reign – women must wear dresses and skirts.
As said, this was one that was introduced under the late Queen’s reign simply because she preferred dresses and skirts. So we can blame the former monarch for preserving the traditional image of princesses. It all makes sense now since we always see the various female royals dressed in chic dresses or a two-piece with a trim skirt. Of course, the Duchess of Cambridge has broken this rule a number of times.
They Must Be Baptized
In all the recent royal history of the Windsor family, there are photos of all of the royal family members being baptized. This is a hard-and-fast rule that they have to follow, and up to now – so far, so good. The royals are loyal to the Church of England, and they are known to take their traditions seriously, including performing the baptism rite.
In 1982, Prince William, the current heir, was baptized. And about 20 years before him, his mother was christened, which is technically a baptism. On October 23, 2013, his son, Prince George, was baptized. And surprisingly, even both of Prince Harry’s children, Archie and Lilibet, have been baptized. Shows you that traditions run deep with the royals, spanning several generations.
Handshake Rules for the Public
This is a handshake rule for us, but it kind of applies to them. People of the public should not initiate a handshake or offer their hand to the royals. Rather, it is the royals who should approach members of the public. Thus, for those uber-fans of the royals, if you are too pushy, you will come away with a burning hand.
Don’t be disappointed though – the royals are known for being welcoming and dutiful to the public, so as long as you stand back politely to greet them, you are bound to receive a royal handshake. This is also a tradition the royals must uphold. We have to admit it must get complex with hundreds of fans crowding about.
There are rules for what words to use and whom to speak, and when to speak, and now there is a rule for entering rooms. The custom dictates that royals have to enter a room according to their position in the line of succession.
That means that now with King Charles III on the throne, Prince William would be the first to enter, followed by his three heirs: Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. Then, you guessed it; it will be the Duke of Sussex to enter. We just hope that only one person needs to use a toilet at a particular time because bathroom visits could be complicated.
No Sleeping Before the Queen
We know that the national anthem of the United Kingdom is “God Save the King” (and used to be “God Save the Queen”). Thus, these royal personages are quite a big deal, but they are a very big deal in royal residences. In fact, one of the most stifling conditions and rules of being a royal personage is that you are expected to mimic much of the habits and routines of these royal figures. That means you cannot sleep before the Queen sleeps.
One notable royal who broke this rule was the late Princess Diana, which probably didn’t put her in the late Queen’s good books. We only wonder what happens when one is just simply spent or sick. We’re sure they make exceptions when a royal is sick.
No Yawning and No Picking Noses
We are not at all surprised by the no-picking noses rule, but to be fair, these are rules taught to royal children. It is also not unexpected that the royals are discouraged from yawning in public. In fact, they are encouraged to be polite and graceful and follow social etiquette at all times. Unfortunately, not every royal can keep up with the long conversations, conferences, and public events.
The late Princess Diana found it particularly difficult to stifle her need to yawn, and it was clear that some of these events were just downright tedious. That puts a damper on the dreamlife of a royal, but to be a prince or princess, you can’t yawn. Just ask Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte – they know all about it.
It is not completely surprising that the royals would take etiquette to the extreme, and one extreme point of etiquette is that they are not allowed to use certain vocabulary. What is surprising is that the royals are discouraged from using the word "tea." Of course, we don’t mean the warm drink, but we mean the meal you have in the evening. Only working-class and middle-class individuals would call it such. The royals call it "dinner" or "supper."
Another surprising one is the word "pardon." While it might sound polite and even upper-class, the royals prefer the word "sorry" or the phrase "sorry what." And finally, the royals do not have a "patio." At least, they do not call it by such. They call it a "terrace."
No Last Names
The no-last-name rule applies to the royal children, especially considering that they would be the ones attending schools, receiving vaccinations, and being registered for health services. What is odd is that the royal children do not need last names. The royals are called by the house or dynasty to which they belong. Prince George is officially Prince George. Or, if you want to be technical, Prince George of Cambridge. And his sister is Princess Charlotte of Cambridge.
Since royal children are generally home-schooled, there wouldn’t be much necessity for a last name, but Princess Diana broke this tradition of home-schooling when she sent Princes Harry and William to school. We wonder what these royal children were known by. Master of Wales? Or Master of Sussex?
Reporting for Duty
This is not actually a hard-and-fast rule, but it is so traditional and encouraged among the royals that it might as well be considered a rule. The royals are expected to enlist in the military. Most of us are quite aware of the late Queen’s service during the Second World War serving for the British Armed Forces, so this might as well be a rule because it has continued with the later generations.
In 2008, Prince William completed his training with the Royal Airforce College and served as an airline ambulance for two years. His younger brother, Prince Harry, also trained with the army, spending a whopping 10 years with the military corps. These royals certainly are committed to doing their duty to their country.
No Wardrobe Malfunctions
We’re not saying that wardrobe malfunctions do not happen to the royals, but we are saying that the royals take special care to make sure that they do not happen. As snapped once on her visit to the Royal Airforce in 2011, the Duchess of Cambridge’s dress was blown about a little bit too much, and she resembled a certain legendary actress from “The Seven Year Itch.”
When it came to the late Queen, stylists would go out of their way to make sure this kind of thing didn’t happen. They would sew pennyweights into the hemline and use other tricks to make sure that royals didn’t show too much skin or have any unexpected wardrobe malfunctions.
Being Graceful Is a Rule Even for the Children
This is just one of those things you expect from royalty – grace. What you probably didn’t expect is that it is a rule and it is something taught from a very young age. So, even the young Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis are slowly being taught the foundations of graceful behavior. They are being groomed to wave and speak gracefully and politely in public.
And, of course, with the former Monarch, Queen Elizabeth, the late Princess Diana, and heir Prince William have mastered graceful behavior to a tee. No doubt, the new generation – Prince George and Co. – will not fail to impress us. As said, we are not all that surprised, but it does make us appreciate the hard work royals put in.
In fact, there is no rule against female royals wearing wedges, but there is one against wearing them in front of the Queen. Since her passing, this rule probably doesn’t apply anymore. However, back during her 70-year reign, it was well-known among all the female royals that the Queen didn’t approve of wedged shoes.
This means that you will probably spot the Duchess of Cambridge sporting a pair – in a stylish floral number – but you won’t see the Queen in sight. For those of you who are wedge lovers but have always dreamed of being a princess, you can see there are obvious downsides to being royalty. It does make us wonder why the former Queen disliked them so much.
The Queen Always Wore Gloves
There are probably very few photos you will catch of the late Queen in public where she is not donning gloves. One of the former Queen’s customs was that she always wore gloves when she was out and about. It is perfectly reasonable that the former Queen would have to wear them because she was always shaking people’s hands.
Imagine the number of people’s hands the Queen would have to shake on a daily basis. To avoid getting sick, the Queen would have to be sporting gloves. One question that comes to mind is whether the new monarch will keep up the tradition. We are not sure this rule will continue to apply under King Charles’ regime, but who knows?
You Can’t Turn Your Back on Her Majesty
One of the odd rules connected to the royals is that you could not ever turn your back on the late Queen. It is considered a sign of disrespect. One of the ways the royals used to get around this is that the late Queen was always the first to leave a room. Well, we suppose that is one way of knowing the conversation is finished, and it would make socializing a bit easier.
Maybe this is a leaf we could take out of the royals’ book, but then how would we decide among friends who is always the person to leave first? Perhaps, this is something we should leave to the royals after all.
Black Can Only Be Worn at Funerals
This is not exactly a rule, but it has certainly become enough of a custom that when it is not done, it is frowned upon. While it is a given that black is the most appropriate color for funerals, it is reserved for that occasion and only that occasion. There was one member of the family who dared to don black at a charity event.
Princess Diana, after being betrothed to the then-Prince Charles, wore a black taffeta dress. Of course, it did not go down too well with the royals. That was back in 1981, and we daresay we will not see any of the royals wearing black for any occasion but a funeral.
If there is anyone who would have a hairdressing code, it would be them. The hairdressing regulation is that the royals must remain clean-cut. That means no shaggy looks and no split ends. That is why the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, visits the hairdresser three times a week to have a blow-out.
This is a protocol all the royals must follow. Honestly, the more we read on, it seems like there is a lot of work involved in being a royal, but we must say that thanks to this rule, not one hair ever looks out of place, except maybe with Prince William. That was a bit below the belt.
A steadfast requirement of being a royal is that you are required to know at least one additional language. The monarchy does encourage knowing multiple languages, though. The late Queen Elizabeth spoke French and English. The newly crowned king, Charles III, speaks English, French, German, and Welsh. The late Prince Philip spoke English, French, and German.
Prince William takes somewhat after his father is fluent in English, French, and Welsh, and his wife speaks English and French like her grandmother-in-law. From four years old, Prince George has been learning Spanish. There is one black sheep. You guessed it. Prince Harry only speaks English, but his wife has certainly made up for him by speaking English and Spanish.
The Queen’s Breakfast
You might expect that, being the stately and royal figure that she was, the late Queen would have a stately meal for breakfast. But that is anything but the case. While it is not really a rule, the late Queen would have English breakfast tea (no surprises there) followed by cornflakes every day for breakfast. While we said it was not really a rule, there was no way possible of breaking this custom.
Her breakfast menu was non-negotiable. We’re also thinking that since she did have such a trim figure, maybe there is something to having such a modest breakfast. While we may binge on all delicious things for the first meal of the day, that was not something the Queen did. Just tea and cornflakes.
Tiaras are really serious business. We know they are reserved for only princesses and royal family members. We also know they rule – meaning if someone is donning a tiara, they are generally – or rather traditionally – some kind of ruler. It's all getting a bit confusing, but tiaras dictate to these individuals. When wearing them, the royal personage has to angle them properly.
In the past, they were worn near the front of the head, but now the modern style is to wear them further back and at a 45-degree angle to the head. There are some snapshots of Kate Middleton wearing the new style as a reference for when you wear your tiara.
No Casual Clothing
Of course, we all kind of knew this one already. We thought it was just simply a tradition or a custom, but it is, in fact, a rule — the royal family members cannot wear casual clothes. The rules are that the royals need to dress modestly too.
That is why even with the younger members, you won’t see them waltzing about in the public eye with jeans and t-shirts. It is always formal trousers and collared shirts. And when you get older, you guessed it, it is a full suit. The women have a little bit more freedom, but not much, considering that they still have a pretty limiting and strict dress code.
Weddings Must Have Children
You might be surprised to learn that one rule the royals need to follow is that children make up the royal bridal attendees. This is a tradition that goes way back in time. In fact, it is not only a royal tradition, but it is a British tradition.
This tradition has been captured in numerous photos over the years, such as the Queen Mother greeting her pageboys and a young Princess Anne carrying a basket of confetti at her aunt’s wedding. Even in modern times, this tradition has been maintained. While the British royalty was free to be an exception, they still maintained this British wedding custom.
The Queen Chooses the Tiara
A strange royal family tradition is that the late Queen got to say who wore which tiara and when. It is not all that unreasonable when you consider that most of the tiaras are part of the Queen’s collection and that she does have a lot of experience when it comes to them.
Speaking of her collection, the Queen has some amazing ones, including The Delhi Durbar Tiara, bedecked with emeralds, the Brazilian Aquamarine Tiara, fashionably living up to its name with its aquamarine stones, and The Burmese Ruby Tiara. It is certainly a stunning collection with all sorts of precious stones. There are plenty of pictures of various princesses donning these tiaras, but, of course, only after the Queen has given them approval first.
They Rarely Eat Shellfish
There are some dietary requirements that royals are expected to adhere to during their reign. When dining out or traveling, the royals do not consume shellfish. The family has gone to great lengths to avoid eating shellfish while dining out or visiting foreign countries because it carries a higher-than-normal risk of food poisoning and illness.
This is not a requirement, but Queen Elizabeth set the tone for this precedent. It remains a wise rule, nonetheless. Many royals still follow it religiously. Shellfish must not come in the way of royal duty, and we assure you this rule was set after learning the hard way.
Princes George and Louis Must Always Wear Shorts
For Princes George and Louis, it is always summertime. The boys in the family must wear shorts until they reach a certain age. Pants are for men and teenage boys. According to etiquette experts, the tradition goes back to breeching times in the 16th century. Young boys back then wore gowns and dresses until they turned eight.
By the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the tradition evolved into shorts together with long socks that cover the knees during bitterly cold winter days. This rule may exist on paper; however, we can swear that we have seen the prince in a pair of long pants before.
The Queen Only Wore Bright Colors
One of the most well-known quotes by the late Queen about her image is that she “needed to be seen to be believed.” Her wardrobe with bright rainbow colors was an extension of this belief. The Queen’s love for neon colors is the stuff of fashion legends.
She made it a point to wear the brightest shades of blue, purple, yellow, pink, and green – often rocking one color from head to toe, paired with neutral accessories. She liked making sure people could easily spot her in a crowd. A monarch must always stand out and not blend in with the crowds.
They Can't Speak Without Permission
Meghan Markle's tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey had audiences glued to their screens. Among the several revelations Markle made was how members of the royal family could not speak without permission. She shared how the family received clear directives on what to say or not at any engagement. Markle said the standard response to the press about most things must be "no comment," which she carefully adhered to as soon as she and Prince Harry began dating.
One must understand that if members of the royal family are able to share their thoughts and opinion wherever and however they want, then what would be the purpose of their role? They are there to look glamorous and give us more juicy stories to add to "The Crown."
When the Monarch Sits, Stands, or Finishes Eating – So Do You
Guests must follow the monarch's cue at any event, even during a large wedding reception. If you are dining with the Queen or King, you must approach the table only after they do. No one is permitted to sit until the monarch has taken a seat. Guests eat only when the Queen or King begins to eat.
It might be wise to eat quickly since dinner ends as soon as the monarch has finished eating. Don’t even think about second helpings or savoring meals at a royal dinner! The monarch leads the pace of the event, and all parts of the evening must be aligned with the schedule, so there is no way to wait for slow eaters.
Loyalty to the Church of England
Religion is crucial to the British monarchy. Apart from personal belief and regular worship, this commitment is also a constitutional requirement. The monarch is the Church of England's supreme governor and the "defender of the faith." The monarchy is also not limited to Anglicans.
The Union of England and Scotland in 1707 committed English sovereigns to uphold the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. The Royal Family nowadays can marry Roman Catholics after a decree passed in 2011. However, they themselves must remain loyal to the Church of England, which was established by King Henry the 8th after he sought a way out of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, and the Roman Catholic church wouldn't allow divorce.
The Queen Approves Royal Wedding Gowns
Who knows whether King Charles will or should have a say in this one? However, Queen Elizabeth approved not just weddings (whether they should or should not take place), she also vetoed the bridal dress. It is tradition for the Queen to approve a royal wedding gown.
Still, it is more a courtesy than a mandate, similar to how a new Prime Minister must seek the Queen's approval before forming a government. The Queen approved Kate Middleton's Alexander McQueen gown and Meghan Markle's Givenchy gown before their respective weddings took place. The only question now is, who approved Camilla's gown?
Mind Your Utensil Placement
You should mind your utensil placement unless you’re the kind of royal who doesn’t mind causing chaos at the dinner table. Knives, forks, and their placement can make or break dinner decorum. If royals must leave the room in the middle of a meal but haven’t finished eating, they cross their utensils — a signal to the staff to leave the plate on the table.
If they have finished eating, they place their knife and fork at an angle. And the handles must touch the bottom right of the plate. Table manners are taught from a very young age in England, and being royal is irrelevant. If you've finished eating, let us know.
The Royal Handshake
Of course, the family has rules for shaking hands. Royals must maintain good eye contact when shaking hands with the general public. A royal handshake must consist of two to three pumps. Anything more is a bad look! The palm must be open, and the thumb should be facing down.
Handshakes should not appear to be giving one person preferential treatment over another. All parties should receive the same amount of shakes with the grasp. On most occasions, the late queen would wear gloves to avoid physical contact with others, however, in this specific photo, she bent the rules slightly.
The Art of Purse Carrying
Handbags and purses are popular accessories for royal outings. Even though they have an entourage that can carry stuff around, the royals believe that carrying a purse makes them more relatable. They never appear in public without it – even if the bag is empty.
If you notice, the royal women usually hold purses in their left hand to keep their right hand free to shake hands or wave at numerous meets and greets. We wonder if all royal ladies carry an empty bag or if some do actually put something in it. A phone? A packet of tissues? Their son's lost G.I. Joes?
A Strict Royal Dinner Protocol
A royal dinner is anything but ordinary, and event seating is of the utmost importance. There’s an office dedicated to organizing guests for any royal event. While officially known as the Office of the Marshal of the Court, they prefer calling themselves “mini hosts.” Guests are seated around the monarch by order of precedence, but factors such as interests, age, and language are essential considerations too.
The Queen spoke to the guests on her right during the first course. She addressed the guests on her left when the second course arrived. Everyone seated around the table has a role to play and a time to play it. The closer you are seated to the queen, the more important you are apparently.
Two Heirs Cannot Fly Together
Two heirs to the throne cannot travel together by plane in case something tragic happens en route. A morbid rule, but the logic is infallible. King Charles and Prince William must fly separately. Prince George is second in line to the throne after Prince William. Once he turns 12, he and his father will no longer be permitted to fly together.
Whether on royal duty or traveling for holidays, the two must travel everywhere separately. Many married couples, and we are not talking about royals now, choose to travel individually exactly for the same reasons. No one knows how a day will end, and they do anything they can to minimize the possible tragic outcomes.
Six Ravens Must Live at the Tower of London
According to legend, the monarchy will fall unless at least six ravens remain at the Tower of London. But does anyone believe that? They do! Nine birds currently live at the Tower. After being warned that the Crown and the Tower would fall if the ravens left, Charles II was the first monarch to insist on their protection.
The King's order went against the wishes of his astronomer, John Flamsteed. Flamsteed had a bone to pick with the ravens for interfering with his observatory work in the White Tower. To this day, the ravens are part of the scenery and a part of the whole experience when visiting the remarkable Tower of London.
No Nicknames in Public, Please!
Leaving your old life behind is a given once a “commoner” marries a British royal. But they must also say goodbye to nicknames in the public sphere. With marriage comes a new, formal name. “Princess Di” may be far more endearing than Diana, Princess of Wales, but it was the only acceptable title.
Kate Middleton should technically always be referred to as “Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales.” The names don’t always roll off the lips, but the Queen would have approved. Calling the Princess of Wales, Katie, or the Duke of Sussex just plain Harry will not work.
The Monarch Approves Marriage Proposals
British royals planning to pop the question can’t go ahead without the monarch approving the proposal. This one’s a bit like seeking blessings from the head of the family, except here, it was laid down by decree according to the Royal Marriages Act of 1722. And it doesn’t stop there.
The Queen also picked out the bride's wedding tiara from her personal collection. It remains to be seen whether King Charles or Queen Consort Camilla will keep this tradition. Even to this day, many religious cultures preserve the tradition of asking permission from the father of the bride to take her hand in marriage.
You Can't Touch Them
LeBron James caused a tizzy when he put his arm around Kate Middleton while posing for photographs. It is best not to make direct physical contact with a royal while posing for photographs. The golden rule? Wait, and assess for yourself on expected etiquette. Easy-going royals may offer to put their arm around people or hug them.
It is always good to mirror their actions so that people know what is appropriate for a particular occasion. Foreign guests, especially celebs from other countries, should receive a guideline about who they can touch and where. The odds are they are going to have their photo online and in every newspaper, so they better make sure it is appropriate.
The Queen’s Secret Signals
While King Charles will no doubt devise his own methods as time goes on, his mother used her purse to send subtle messages to her staff during her reign. During public engagements, the Queen moved her bag from her left arm to her right to signal she was done talking.
It was a gesture indicating that she was ready to end the conversation and move on. Why did we never think of this before? We already have small little purses and handbags, so all we need now is someone to notice us when we move then from one hand to the other.
Royals Must Pack a Black Dress While Traveling
The British royals are nothing but prepared for any eventuality. The royal family must pack an all-black ensemble while traveling for royal duties. The reason? They will have appropriate clothing in the event of sudden death when they must pay their respects or attend a funeral. While it sounds morbid, the rule is practical and makes sense for a family always in the public eye.
Some people say the rule came about after Queen Elizabeth heard of her father’s passing while she was in Kenya on a tour of the Commonwealth. The then-young princess arrived back at her homeland and was seen getting off the plane in a black dress to mark her mourning.
Eating Garlic Is a “No-No”
Queen Elizabeth II disliked having too much onion in her meals, and garlic was an absolute no-no — banned from Buckingham Palace entirely! Royal Chef, John Higgins, stated in The National Post, "The Queen is a lovely lady, and the royal family are lovely people, but they're missing out on garlic because they don't cook with it at Buckingham Palace. In case you get the royal burp, I suppose."
It seemed a sensible rule, given the many appearances and official meetings the royal family attended. One would never catch any of them with awkward bad breath in-between visits or a lost piece of cilantro stuck between the teeth.
Tiaras Only After 5 P.M.
Tiaras are typically reserved for events that begin after 5 p.m. and only for married royals. Although formal events can happen during the day, royals avoid wearing diamonds while the sun is shining. Daylight and sparkling tiaras can be a bit of an overkill. Tiaras for evening events are far more appropriate. Royal ladies and their tiaras are far more likely to stand out at night.
Inaugurations, balls, coronations, State visits, and royal dinners are the few occasions when a tiara is appropriate. The members of the royal family already naturally stand out, so there is no need for extra bling, especially not during daylight hours.
When to Wear Military Colors
The royals frequently wear their regimental uniforms when representing their regiments at military events. Prince William and Prince Harry have served in the armed forces and often wear their regimental colors. Prince William served in the Royal Air Force (RAF) and also holds the title of Colonel of the Irish Guards.
Prince Harry joined the British Army's Blues and Royals Cavalry regiment and served as an Army Air Corps Pilot in Afghanistan. In 2015 Harry ended his ten-year military service, which he described as one of the best times of his life. In 2013 Prince William completed his military service; however, still holds on to his pilot qualification.
Christmas Is Always at Sandringham
The royal family must spend Christmas at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. Every year, the Queen insisted on arriving a week early to prepare for celebrations and welcome everyone. The royal family has several other Christmas traditions which they follow to the letter. They exchange and open gifts during tea time on Christmas Eve.
The family prefers spending Christmas Day at St. Mary Magdalene Church, located within the estate. The estate has been privately owned by the royal family for more than four generations and is most commonly associated with the late Queen Elizabeth and the private holidays she used to take there.
Curtsies and Neck Bows Are Encouraged
While the British monarchy's official website states there are no mandatory rules when meeting a member of the Royal Family, it does mention a preference for tradition. Bowing or curtsying has always been the customary way to greet a royal. Curtsying entails bending forward slightly and placing one leg behind the other. A handshake usually follows the curtsy, but only if the royal extends their hand first.
For men, a neck bow is the proper greeting, a full bow is not required. To this day, whenever a royal visits a town and walks amongst the crowds (also not mandatory) there are no second thoughts when it comes to bowing.
They Must Accept and Keep Track of Every Single Gift
A member of the British royal family must accept gifts with the utmost grace – no matter how bizarre, outlandish, or lame. What does one gift royalty apart from your boring old bouquets? And a family with such exacting standards at that? Some people have been bold in their gifting choices — from 500 cans of pineapple and dog soap to horse semen!
Eventually, the Queen or King would decide who gets to keep which gift. Buying a gift for a member of the royal family must be one of the hardest missions out there. We mean, if you are a royal and you want something, you just ask for it. No?
How to Sit Like a Royal
The one faux pas a woman in the royal family should avoid is sitting with her legs crossed at the knee. Legs and knees must be together, but crossing the ankle is acceptable. The "duchess slant" has become a popular pose — a term coined by Beaumont Etiquette for Kate Middleton’s preferred sitting position.
The pose involves squeezing her knees and ankles together and slanting her legs to the side. The pose maintains Kate's posture and makes her legs look longer while still appearing modest; the late Princess Diana also preferred sitting in the same manner. We think we will adopt this pose.
Formal Wear for Dinner
It makes no difference how trendy you may be in the outside world. If you show up to a royal family dinner wearing jeans and a t-shirt, chances are you will never receive another invitation again. Formal wear to dinner is on-brand for the British royal family.
It would be quite the sight to imagine them sitting around the table in slacks, trainers, or pajamas. With this crew? One needs to dress up and show up for dinner. A little tip from us; dress propper for any dinner you are invited to in England, not only ones held at the palace.
Foods the Royal Family Will Never Eat
It may be hard to believe, but the Queen disliked starchy carbs like pasta, rice, and potatoes, preferring to eat meals with fish or meat and vegetables instead. All meals at Buckingham Palace were usually carb-free. Try and remember that the next time you dream of marrying into the family! The Queen also avoided sandwich crusts, tap water while overseas, and spicy foods.
It remains to be seen whether King Charles will keep these culinary traditions or introduce his own quirks. We tend to believe that carb-free meals were established for health reasons; however, crust-free sandwiches are pure tradition, and England is known for having the best tap water in the world.
Royal Wedding Bouquets Always Contain Myrtle
Every Royal bride since Queen Victoria has carried a sprig of myrtle in their bouquet. Myrtle represents love and hope, which are ideal emotions for any wedding. The tradition dates back to Queen Victoria's reign when Princess Victoria carried it among her bridal flowers in 1858. Myrtle has consistently featured in bouquets carried by Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle, and Diana.
The myrtle in question grows in a special bush presented to Queen Victoria. The dark green leaves and the pearly white flowers of the myrtle complement any wedding gown, so, as far as we know, no bride had pulled a face when she was asked to add the flowers to her bouquet.
Prince Philip Had to Walk Two Steps Behind the Queen
Prince Philip, the late Duke of Edinburgh, always walked two paces behind Queen Elizabeth. The deference was a sign of respect for the orders of precedence. Even though he was the Queen’s husband, he was never king. He automatically became Prince Philip only when Elizabeth became Queen. It couldn’t have been easy for him to live in Queen Elizabeth's shadow.
Yet, Prince Philip remained her rock, supporter, and confidante throughout their nearly 74 years of marriage before his death in 2021. The idea behind this tradition is not only a matter of adulation but also to assure the queen is always the center of attention.
Royals Must Weigh Themselves Before and After Christmas Dinner
The royal family follows several holiday traditions, some less endearing and more embarrassing than others. Members of the royal family must weigh themselves on antique scales before and after Christmas dinner, a tradition that dates back to Edward VII's reign from 1901 to 1910. The reason? To ensure that guests have been properly fed.
Every guest should ideally gain three pounds during the holiday as a sign that they had a truly Merry Christmas. We've got mixed feelings about this one. Back in 1910, the variety was limited, and the amounts of sweets and goodies were much less than what we have on offer today. Three pounds is nowhere near enough.
Royal Women Must Sport Natural-Looking Hair and Makeup
The royal family frowns upon over-the-top makeup. You won’t find a royal experimenting with winged liners or flaming auburn hair. The palace prefers a natural look. Elegant and understated is the way to go. Light face contouring and nude shades for lipstick and nail polish are acceptable. Since touching up makeup in public is not allowed, their hair and makeup need to remain flawless, sometimes for hours on end.
Funnily enough, at special events, male members of the royal family wear makeup too. The makeup is used to give them a smooth complexion and a polished appearance and to enhance their natural features.
The Royal Corgis Get Away With Everything
The royal corgis live enviable lives. It was no secret that the Queen adored her corgis, bringing new meaning to the phrase “it’s a dog’s life.” The dogs eat fresh gourmet meals prepared daily by a resident chef. A designated footman hand delivers the food after. One cannot reprimand the Queen’s corgis, even if they get up to unbelievable mischief.
The Queen allowed her dogs to do as they pleased. The late queen was associated with her precious dogs for more than 80 years, as she was often seen with them even in her young childhood days. Her first Corgi was named Dookie, and he was given to her in 1933 when she was seven years old.
The Rules on Wearing a Tiara
For most of us, tiaras are whimsical accessories, and any mention of "rules" concerning them seems odd. It turns out that wearing a tiara is more complex. Most royals nowadays wear their first tiara on their wedding day, which wasn't the case a few decades ago. Princess Margaret rocked tiaras everywhere, from dinner parties to theater shows.
Whether one is a born royal or marrying into the family, the women wait until their wedding to wear one. It is not a set rule; but more of a tradition, and the bride, being blood-related or marrying into the family, would never dare to go through her wedding without one.
The Royal Family Must Remain Politically Neutral
Members of the royal family cannot share political views, vote, or run for office. The monarchy must remain neutral. British politicians and royalty have co-existed for centuries thanks to clearly defined roles and responsibilities. As the Head of the Church of England and The Head of State, King Charles has his work cut out for him.
His reign has already seen its fair share of political drama, with Liz Truss resigning as Prime Minister after merely 44 days in office! So whoever is elected, whether they like it or not, the King learns how to work with them, and being part of an opposition is no option.
Only Hats at Formal Events
Hats are mandatory for royal women, and one can see why. Elaborate hats at royal events tend to up the fashion game instantly. All formal royal events require hats or fascinators. It is a tradition passed down through generations. The rule was much stricter in the 1950s — royal women could not go anywhere in public without a hat or fascinator.
Nowadays, they are only a part of fancier royal events, especially weddings. We're not complaining because those fashionable hats are stunning! It's become a local joke among the Brits, so when someone wants to announce an engagement, they simply say, "I have to go shopping for a hat."
They Can Break SOME Rules
Being a royal comes with tons of unbelievable perks, and many rules that apply to us don't apply to them. For example, the monarch does not need a driver's license or a passport for travel. When driven by police on royal duties, the family can break legal speed limits. Like Queen Elizabeth II before him, King Charles has sovereign immunity, which means he is exempt from criminal or civil investigation.
Some parts of the royal income are exempt from taxes. The royals don’t have to use their last name even though they have one, so Charles is Charles, William is William, and Kate is just Kate.
PDA Is Not Encouraged
The British Royals are known for the proverbial stiff upper lip. Still, no official laws prohibit heirs and their spouses from displaying affection in public. The Queen established a precedent encouraging younger, crazy-in-love royals to keep their hands to themselves and that seems to have stuck. Some future monarchs take the protocol seriously.
Prince William and Kate Middleton have never held hands or kissed in public. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle clearly treated it as a suggestion. One of the only moments that a royal shows his affection to the world is on the wedding day with the famous kiss on Buckingham Palace's balcony.
Guests Can Leave the Table Before the Monarch
If you must leave the table before the meal ends, discreet ghosting is perfectly acceptable. It can seem awkward to leave before the King or Queen finishes eating, but there are dignified ways to do it. If a royal needs to leave the meal midway, they must not reveal their reasons. They absolutely should not announce it to the rest of the table.
A simple "excuse me" suffices, and they can leave the table quietly. So, whenever a head of state has to go, they can just disappear and not come back. No one will ever know where they went to.
Chin Up, Ladies
Nobody does royal protocol like the British royal family. They even have specific rules about walking downstairs or standing still. Royal ladies learn the art of walking down the stairs with their chins parallel to the ground. Hands must be at their sides at all times. The women must also pose for photographs with their chins parallel to the ground.
No scope for the best angles and head tilts in royal photos! Let's face it — if we look at royal portraits and especially of women, the clavicle is always noticeable, and how surprisingly, no one has a double chin.
Royal Cleavage Protocol
This one's a no-brainer. Senior royals must dress modestly during public appearances to preserve the family's dignity and sanctity. Royals must always dress appropriately and avoid overtly revealing or skimpy attire. The women cannot show too much leg. Of course, flaunting cleavage is an absolute no-no. Princess Diana, for example, would exit vehicles with her clutch against her chest to avoid anyone getting too close a look.
The royal women have a certain way of getting out of a car so they don't expose any private parts, and they always cross their legs when seated. We can name a few families that can learn a thing or two from these customs.
Playing Monopoly Is Not Allowed
The royal family will not play a particular board game under any circumstances. That game is Monopoly. The Queen apparently "banned" Monopoly from the royal household, but her reasons are more endearing than you'd think. The story goes back to December 2008, when Prince Andrew visited Leeds Building Society's newly-renovated Albion Street headquarters.
Before leaving, the Duke of York received the board game Monopoly to commemorate his visit. Prince Andrew politely declined the game, explaining that the Queen does not allow Monopoly at home since things get "too vicious." The way the queen saw it, the game brings out selfish and greedy sides that are hard to control, so she prefers to avoid it in the first place.
Pantyhose Over Bare Legs, But It’s Not Compulsory
While there are treatises galore on royal fashion rules, some may be more exaggeration than fact. Among them is the rule about pantyhose being mandatory for public engagements. In reality, official rules about wearing pantyhose to public events do not exist. It is not an official mandate but more of a suggestion when family members appear alongside the Queen.
Wearing pantyhose indicated respect for the Queen and the tone she used to set with her dressing. And besides, you don't have to be royal to want to be seen with smooth-looking legs, so we are here for nude pantyhose any day of the year.
Royals Cannot Wear Fur
Edward III was one of the earliest spokespersons for animal rights, long before the issue became a part of public discourse. He passed The Fur Act in 1337, effectively prohibiting the wearing of fur in the United Kingdom. Except for clergymen and knights, displaying fur as a part of one's attire was banned. The family has slipped up over the years, however.
The Queen herself wore fur hats on several occasions, much to the dismay of animal rights activists. Wearing fur has been a controversial matter for years, however, these days, very few celebs and public figures dare to be seen it.
Dressing for Diplomatic Success
The royal family’s diplomatic dresses aim to strengthen international ties. On state visits, the family must incorporate elements from the local culture into their dress. The Queen famously wore a dazzling green outfit on her 2011 tour to Ireland – a country with whom England has historically had bad blood.
She received a warm and friendly welcome, more so than most politicians. Other members of the family have followed in her footsteps. Prince William donned a Sherwani (buttoned coat) in Pakistan, while Kate Middleton wore a traditional Bhutanese Kira (skirt) to her first meeting with the King and Queen of Bhutan.
You Can't Buy Them Food or Drink
The royals live an incredible life, with impeccable food and drink being an integral part. But it’s not all peachy there. The royal family has an extensive list of dos and don’ts when it comes to food. One of the more pragmatic ones is never accepting drinks or food from strangers at unofficial events.
The rule protects the family from being poisoned, especially since they no longer travel with royal tasters. This custom is not unique only to the British royals, and many heads of state and other royal families avoid accepting food or drinks from strangers. You never know.
Coats Must Always Stay On
Kate Middleton’s status as a fashion icon is indisputable. Every outfit is on point, from the dress and accessories to the fashionable coats we love dearly. Besides fashion envy, Kate’s coats sparked conversation when she was photographed wearing one indoors. What gives? It turns out that British royal protocol considers it unladylike for senior female royals to remove a coat in public.
You can be sure the weather calls for a coat. The coat must stay on for public engagements, no matter the circumstance. This coat regulation is all about tradition. It's part of their attire, and this is what's expected from them.
Royals Don’t Get Paid to Work
The British taxpayers and inherited wealth support the royal family. Senior members of the royal family, such as Prince Charles, Prince William, and Kate Middleton, cannot get paid to work. Commercial deals such as advertisements or speaking engagements are considered a conflict of interest. Instead, they earn income from the Sovereign Grant or through their respective duchy.
But what of the other royals? It turns out some of them have regular day jobs. Princess Eugenie is the director of a London art gallery, while Princess Beatrice is the VP of a software company. Now, although Princess Royal Anne, the late queen's daughter, doesn't hold a 9 to 5 office position, she is recognized for her ongoing charity work and her investment in sports and education.
The Monarch Cannot Sit on a Foreign Throne
Queen Elizabeth made a much-publicized visit to the "Game of Thrones" set in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The series created thousands of jobs for the people of Northern Ireland, and as a way to repay them, the Queen met with the creators and cast of the show. When offered the chance to sit on the Iron Throne, the Queen politely declined.
It turns out that the monarch cannot sit on a foreign throne, even if it is the highly-coveted Iron Throne. The logic behind this rule is that if one monarch were to sit on another throne, it would be claiming sovereignty which is practically a violation.
A list of royal family protocols would be incomplete without mentioning tea! Of course, there is only one right way to sip from a teacup. One must hold the teacup handle with the thumb and index finger while holding the bottom with the middle finger.
While sipping tea, the royal women must remember to take sips from the same spot to avoid getting lipstick all over their teacup, which is considered unsightly and rude. As for the way the royals serve their tea, only fine china will do, and saucers always accompany the cups. The tea is poured before the milk, and a selection of finger sandwiches wraps it all up.
Royals Can’t Sign Autographs
Always wanted to frame a royal's signature as a keepsake? We have bad news. Nobody in the British monarchy is allowed to sign autographs. Can one take a picture? Yes, though selfies are a no-no. The reasoning behind these measures is pretty sound — a safety measure against forgery.
All royals must follow the anti-fraud policy. When asked for his signature in the past, King Charles politely declined, saying, "Sorry, they don't allow me to do that." This rule is believed to go back to the 1900s, and it was regulated to secure the privacy and security of the royal too.