20 Bizarre Royal Family Rules You Won’t Believe
Love them or hate them (and let’s be honest, those are the categories people tend to fall into), the royals are unquestionably a fascinating bunch. A regular feature of the media, the royal family are in many ways the model celebrities: photogenic, outrageously rich and so eccentric as to appear to be almost from another planet to the rest of us.
Part of the fascination is that the royal family abide by a code and live by certain rules that nobody else in the world will ever have to. Some of these rules go back centuries, sprung from traditions nobody remembers anymore, while other customs were made to fit our modern age.
Here are 20 bizarre rules the royal family follow that you wouldn’t believe.
20. PDAs are strictly off-limits
It doesn’t matter how much Wills and Kate want to tash on in public.
When they’re out and about amongst the riff-raff, royal couples aren’t even supposed to hold hands, though Prince Harry has inevitably already flouted this rule as the rebellious one.
Luckily for certain randy royals, this rule is adapted to be appropriate for the event.
At more formal occasions, the royals are required to keep their hands firmly to themselves, much to Zara Tindall’s dismay.
However, at more informal events, it’s an absolute free for all. In fact, the Queen and Prince Phillip have even been papped in the middle of a cheeky hand-holding session on more than one occasion.
Naturally, since the royals are a cut above the rest of us, they could never be seen to engaging in such smutty behaviour at official occasions. Keep your hands to yourself, Liz!
19. If the Queen stands, everybody stands
If you ever find yourself in the presence of the Queen and she makes the decision to stand up, lest you want to end up in the Tower, you better follow suit.
Everyone stands when the Queen does, and nobody sits until she’s finished.
And woe betide anyone who dares to remain seated when HRM enters the room. Mark our words, heads will roll (quite literally).
It’s also import to arrive to any event prior to the Queen. After all, someone needs to give her the royal welcome!
Similarly, it’s considered incredibly bad manners to leave before the Queen, unless a person is granted special permission of course.
18. Everybody must stop eating when the Queen is finished
Hungry royal guests best pray the Queen takes her time with her fried peacock or whatever it is that royals eat, because once the Queen is finished, everyone else has to stop – whether they’ve finished eating or not.
It’s also important to keep an eye out for when the Queen starts tucking into her grub.
HRM would be seriously insulted by someone daring to taste even the merest morsel before she herself has taken a bite.
Some of the Queen’s favourite dishes include tea sandwiches (who knows?), fish and vegetables and Earl Grey biscuits.
She’s also partial to the odd slice of chocolate cake, so you might want to stock up just in case you receive a royal visit…
17. Men and women have to greet the Queen differently
In a rule that will make the heads of millennial libs the world over explode in fury, Queen greetings are strictly gendered.
While men are to bow before her maj, women are instead expected to curtsy.
However, if you’ve got weak knees or simply don’t fancy showing the Queen your receding hairline, there is one other option.
The Queen has been known to offer the odd handshake, although you should never initiate this more informal gesture.
Generally, this form of greeting is offered to Americans, who might not be so familiar with the ways of the monarchy.
16. Royals don’t vote
Considering the absolute state of British politics right now, it’s probably something of a relief to the Queen that it is “considered unconstitutional for the Monarch to vote in an election”.
This means that, though it isn’t enshrined in law, HRM isn’t supposed to vote, and immediate members of the royal family aren’t either.
This is due to the fact that royals are supposed to remain completely unbiased in the world of politics, although we reckon HRM has a secret soft spot for Corbyn. After all, who doesn’t?
Of course, the Queen does still play a pretty important part in the country’s political processes.
The day after an election, she will invite the leader of the party with the most seats to form a government.
15. Royals must always travel with funeral outfits
Apart from the odd item, a royal holiday checklist looks just like any other: passport, toothbrush, plug adapter, bereavement clothes.
When a royal travels, they must always have an all-black outfit in their luggage.
The reason behind this is pretty morbid. It’s in case someone dies and they have to return home ready for a funeral.
The Queen is not afraid of travel, and certainly gets around.
In her 65-year reign, Her Majesty has travelled to over 130 countries, giving Israel and Cuba (amongst others) the wide berth for some bizarre reason.
14. Heirs can’t fly together
It’s a rule for the morbid reason you probably think.
In case their plane goes down, direct royal heirs aren’t supposed to fly together.
This is why there was some controversy in the press when Prince William flew with Prince George five years ago, leaving the monarchy a faulty turbine away from constitutional crisis.
The tradition stems from back in the good old days, when flying was much more of a risky business than it is today.
More recently, however, the Queen has decided to relax her stance on the subject.
13. Shellfish is banned
If you’re a royal and you ever have a hankering for a cheeky scallop or decent clam chowder, it’s tough luck: shellfish is strictly off the menu.
This is because shellfish carries a higher risk of food poisoning than most other foods.
However, it’s not all bad news. The royals are allowed the occasional fishy dinner, so long as it’s been cooked at home and has been declared fit for royal consumption.
Red meat is also generally prohibited, and when eaten, it must be cooked well.
However, just because Liz has banned these foods, doesn’t stop Phillip from occasionally flouting the rules and downing the odd clam.
12. Young male royals have to wear shorts
Like it or not, Prince George is just going to keep on wearing those shorts, and not simply because it’s a look that he absolutely kills.
Since the 1800s, male royals have worn shorts until they’re around eight or nine, at which point trousers are introduced to signal approaching manhood.
The young Prince has quite the collection of shorts and suitably sombre matching shirts.
Clearly, this kid also loves to accessorise, as proven by his extensive wardrobe of knee-length socks.
Well, how else are you supposed to overcome the brutal British winters?
11. Women must wear hats to all events
In their downtime, royals are allowed to ‘dress down’ (ie still wear relatively formal gear just in case the paps that circle them constantly like vultures catch a glimpse).
However, for more formal events there’s a strict dress code.
One item that women absolutely must always wear for events is a hat, which is to say that Princess Beatrice was actually following protocol in the photo above.
These days, the rules have relaxed slightly, and royals are allowed to use their own discretion when it comes to wearing a hat.
However, Meghan Markle was clearly keen to embrace the tradition, seemingly donning a hat at every given opportunity.
10. …unless they’re wearing tiaras
After 6pm, for royals attending events, the hats are quite literally off.
It’s after this time that the royal women – the married ones, at least – are required to get into evening gear, swapping their hats out for tiaras, a sign that the woman in question is taken.
And if you thought wearing a tiara was simple a case of popping it on your head at a jaunty angle, then you are sorely mistaken.
There is a specific way of donning a tiara, and it involves an intricate operation.
Whilst most Royal women wear a tiara for the first time on their wedding day, the choice to wear one is theirs after the big event.
9. Conversation ends when the Queen’s purse is on her right arm
It’s a system many of us probably wish we could implement.
The Queen’s purse, which HRM always keeps by her side, is used as social code as well as monarch decoration.
If the Queen’s bag is on the table, her people know she wants the current event wrapping up.
Meanwhile, if the Queen’s bag moves over to her right arm it tells her handlers that she’s finished with the conversation.
Similarly, if the Queen twiddles with her wedding ring then you know you’re in trouble. This indicates she’s ready to make a speedy getaway.
8. The Queen has to wear ultra-bright and colourful clothing
If you’ve been wondering why Liz 2 keeps turning up to royal events dressed like a nonagenarian raver, wonder no more.
In order to stand out in crowds, the Queen wears outfits that are colourful and ultra-bright, so even the plebs can see her from the cheap seats.
Kate Middleton has also started to follow suit, donning a bright red dress several times on her Royal tour of Canada.
However, it seems Meghan Markle has yet to learn this tactic.
Whilst attending Ascot, Meghan chose a white ensemble which made her positively pale in comparison to her fluorescent Grandmother-in-law.
7. Royal women must keep their chins in a certain position
Hard to believe as it may be, when it comes to the placement of the chin, there’s royal protocol for that, too.
One rule for the royal women is that chins must remain parallel to the ground at all times.
Too low would signal lack of confidence, while a chin that’s too high would give the impression she’s superior.
However, there are some practical reasons behind this rather pedantic rule.
Apparently, keeping the chin parallel can help with posture and sitting positions.
6. The Queen can drive without a licence
UK royal prerogative gives the Queen privileges nobody else in the country has.
For one, she doesn’t need to drive with a number plate on her car – nor does she need a driving licence.
The Queen has never even needed to take a driving test, but then who’s going to say anything to her?
Although usually chauffeured to official events, HRM isn’t shy of jumping behind the wheel to take a spin around the grounds of her many estates.
Clearly, passing a driving test is no way to judge someone’s driving skills. Isn’t that right, Phillip?
5. Proposals must be authorised by the Queen
Traditionally, a potential groom must ask for the bride’s father’s permission before popping the question.
However, the most senior royals need special permission from the Queen herself before they pull out the big guns.
This included Harry, who sought the Queen’s approval before asking Meghan Markle for her hand in marriage.
This is because he is one of the six people first in line to the throne.
After the Queen has granted her approval, a royal announcement may be made to share the big news.
4. The royals can’t take selfies with their fans
If you were after a cheeky snap with a member of the royal family, then you’re in for some serious disappointment.
However, the oh-so modern new royals have been known to make a few exceptions.
In 2014, Prince William obliged a schoolgirl by taking a cheeky selfie with her at the gates of Sandringham palace.
However, his brother is a little more reserved and has been quoted saying ‘no, I hate selfies’ on more than one occasion.
Unluckily for Harry, Meghan is not quite as camera-shy, and has been seen sneaking selfies with fans several times since the pair were wed.
3. Sitting down is a complicated affair
When it comes to challenging tasks, sitting down probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.
But in the royal family, there are certain faux pas which are simply unacceptable.
This includes women sitting down with their legs crossed at the knee.
According to royal protocol, knees and thighs must always be kept firmly closed.
This means Kate’s signature pose (debuted by Diana), dubbed the ‘Duchess slant’, is acceptable, and even makes her legs appear longer.
2. Garlic is banned
If you’re a fan of the strong stuff, you’l be sorely disappointed to learn that Liz has banned garlic from the palace’s cupboards.
All royals are prohibited from consuming the villainous veg, especially prior to royal events.
The rule stems from HRM’s traditional Victorian upbringing, when she was taught that to consume any amount of garlic before socialising was considered incredibly rude.
Garlic isn’t the only vegetable to have received the royal ban. Sadly, onions have not escaped unscathed.
Although the Queen does allow a small amount for flavour, excessive quantities are frowned upon.
1. The Queen has fussy eating habits
In an interview prior to her royal engagement, Meghan Markle revealed that her ideal meal consists of pasta and seafood.
However, she must have been seriously disappointed to learn that pasta is explicitly forbidden from the royal dinner table.
Whilst a big bowl of spag bol might seem like the ultimate comfort food, it seems Liz has other ideas.
HRM prefers to stay away from all forms of starch, including rice, pasta and potatoes.
However, she will sometimes break away from her restrictive diet on special occasions.