50 Rules and Traditions of the Royal Family
30th January, 2020
Netflix people.com
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll surely know about “Megxit”. The Internet is rife with news and let’s not forget, memes, about Meghan and Harry’s exit from the royal family. The news has been received with mixed reactions and has somehow shattered the image that being a princess is an easy task. Not only do the royals have several duties towards the citizens and the military, but they also have to abide by certain rules and traditions that have been followed since ages.
Curtsies and bows www.cosmopolitan.com
Curtsies and bows
Growing up watching those old films and Disney movies where the subjects have to curtsy to the Royal Family, we’ve all gotten a tad bit accustomed to understanding this tradition. But does it work the same way with the British Royal Family? Well, yes! Women are expected to curtsy while men are to neck bow when greeting the Queen.
Walking behind the Queen www.purewow.com
Walking behind the Queen
You must have noticed everyone walking a few paces behind Queen in public. It would be safe to assume that this is a polite gesture as she is the top-ranking official, but this is also more of a rule. Adhering to hierarchy, no one can walk ahead of Queen Elizabeth II, and this even includes her husband Prince Philip.
The order of precedence www.popsugar.com
The order of precedence
When the Royal Family is making a public appearance, they ensure that they line up according to the order of precedence. This order is as follows - Queen Elizabeth II, her husband Prince Philip, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton, and so on. The order reveals who is next in line for the throne!
No turning your back etcanada.com
No turning your back
There is a strict protocol when it comes to addressing the Queen and according to the royal protocol, no one can turn their back on Her Majesty. The Royal Family themselves follow it religiously as it would otherwise be considered rude. When Barack and Michelle Obama visited the Queen in 2009, they were so well-versed with the rules that they knew exactly how to present themselves in front of her.
Rules of handshakes www.dailymail.co.uk
Rules of handshakes
Rules are important to keep things running smoothly, and one of these rules involve handshakes. The royals must maintain strong eye contact and stick to a maximum of two pumpsper guest when shaking hands.
The Duchess Slant www.instyle.com
The Duchess Slant
When it comes to the Royal Family, it is safe to say that there are several rules that apply when they are appearing in public. While some are royal protocols to follow some are royal etiquettes that one cannot do without. This includes the Duchess Slant, where the royal ladies must sit with their legs crossed at the ankle instead of their knees.
Dressing appropriately www.vogue.com.au
Dressing appropriately
This comes as no wonder that the Royal Family is expected to dress in a certain manner. And by that we mean, no provocative dressing. Showing cleavage is a big no no, and in fact, some dresses are sewn to prevent any wardrobe malfunctions. One fashion tip the royals follow is sewing penny weights into the hemline of the garments to avoid the skirt to fly too high.
Hats and tiaras www.livingly.com
Hats and tiaras
All ladies of the royal house are expected to don a hat for any formal appearances during the day. Many socialites and other members of the aristocracy too follow this tradition on formal occasions. However, as the clock strikes six in the evening, the royal married ladies are expected to change into their tiaras. While some have their own tiara, sometimes, it can also be loaned from the crowned jewels.
After 6 pm, tiaras on www.marieclaire.com
After 6 pm, tiaras on
The royals have a strict dress code when they are attending dinner parties or other events. Women are expected to wear hats for all formal events, and that’s where you get a glimpse of the fanciest hats in the world. However, if the event is held indoors after 6 p.m., the women swap their hats for their fancy tiaras.
Women have to keep it natural www.marieclaire.com
Women have to keep it natural
Princess Mia (from The Princess Diaries) did give you a glimpse of how tough it is to be a royal. Royal women are expected to look elegant at all times. So, you won’t be seeing any of the royals coloring their hair bright red on a whim or sporting red pouts at events. The palace desires that the royal women opt for natural-looking hair and makeup while making public appearances.
Royal dress code for traveling www.livingly.com
Royal dress code for traveling
The Royal Family members adhere to a strict checklist when they’re packing. It is protocol to pack a black outfit in case there’s a sudden death in the family, and if you’ve been watching The Crown on Netflix, you’ll know how this rule came into place. Other than that, the Royals must incorporate certain colors, or symbols representing the said country in their attire.
Heirs must travel apart www.thesun.co.uk
Heirs must travel apart
To ensure the line of succession is not threatened or broken, the two direct heirs to the throne are not allowed to travel together. Although Prince William and Prince George, on occasions, have overlooked this procedure and traveled together when Prince George was a baby, it is understood that once he turns 12, the father and son will be required to fly separately.
The coats are always on www.marieclaire.com
The coats are always on
Coats are perhaps an indispensable part of the royals’ wardrobe, and you might have seen them sporting it at various events. However, they aren’t supposed to take the coats off. In fact, it is considered unladylike to remove the coat in public. So, if you spot the Queen or the Duchess wearing a coat to an event, it stays on the entire time.
Carrying a clutch www.thesun.co.uk
Carrying a clutch
While a clutch may be an uncomfortable accessory, the royals have found a subtle way to use this to their benefit. Just as the Queen uses her purse to give instructions to her handlers, a clutch allows the royals to politely refuse any handshakes. If you notice, they hold the clutch with both their hands, giving no room for any physical contact.
No-wedges policy www.businessinsider.com.au
No-wedges policy
Now this rule may be a bit personal than official, but the Queen absolutely loathes the aesthetics of wedge heels. Since she does not like the look, royal women are expected to edit these out from their wardrobe, or at least, not wear them when attending an event in the Queen’s presence. This is no secret and is well-known in the family.
Pantyhose is a must www.mirror.co.uk
Pantyhose is a must
Being a member of the royal family, the women are expected to uphold the British monarchy’s tradition. As per royal protocols, bare legs are considered very impolite, and royal women are expected to wear pantyhose to all formal events. When Meghan Markle was spotted wearing tights, it had sent the Internet buzzing with a majority of netizens disapproving of this protocol.
The Queen's colorful attire www.harpersbazaar.com
The Queen's colorful attire
This is more than just a fashion statement by the Queen! Imagine attending an event where Her Majesty is to come as Guest of Honor and having to miss her amid thousands of people! You wouldn’t want that, right? The bright, colorful clothing makes it easy for people to spot her, and also for her security to keep a vigilant eye on her.
Gloves are a must www.marieclaire.com
Gloves are a must
The Queen seems to have an entire wardrobe dedicated to her gloves. But her gloves are more than just mere fashion accessories they are a safety measure. The Queen wears gloves when she has an official engagement that requires her to shake hands with a lot of people. This ensures that her hands remain protected and she doesn’t contract any ailment.
The Queen’s purse www.rd.com
The Queen’s purse
Imagine being able to give instructions by just placing your purse in certain manners! That’s right. If the Queen moves her handbag from her left arm to her right arm, it is a sign that she wants to wrap up her ongoing conversation with the person. Similarly, if she places her bag on the floor, it is understood that she wants to move on from the said situation.
Permission to marry www.zimbio.com
Permission to marry
According to the Royal Marriages Act 1772, all Royal Family marriages need a letter of consent from the monarch. So, by that law, all marriages need the Queen’s approval! However, in the year 2013, this Act was modified to apply to only six people closest in line to the throne. Prince William and Prince Harry too had to get Her Majesty’s thumbs up in writing, which she sure did.
Wearing a uniform www.rd.com
Wearing a uniform
While it is not a rule, it is expected from the Royal Family members to enlist in the military and serve their country. And those who enlist and serve are traditionally required to wear their uniform while representing their regiments at military affairs, as well as to their wedding day. Both Prince William and Prince Harry wore their respective uniforms to their wedding.
The Queen chooses the bride’s wedding tiara www.telegraph.co.uk
The Queen chooses the bride’s wedding tiara
Tiaras are lovely, but they are more than an accessory to the royal ladies. Firstly, tiaras are worn only by married women, and secondly, it is the Queen who selects the bride’s wedding tiara. Everyone thought Kate would be seen sporting the “Lover’s Knot”, which was handed down to Queen Elizabeth. However, Kate sported the Cartier Halo Tiara for her royal wedding.
The Queen’s A-Okay www.marieclaire.com.au
The Queen’s A-Okay
From approving the wedding to giving her nod for the bride’s wedding dress, the Queen has a say in everything! Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle both had to show their wedding dress designs to the Queen and get them approved by her. A fun fact; the Queen had to use rationing coupons to pay for her wedding dress due to the rationing measures in place post WWII.
Myrtle in wedding bouquets www.instyle.com
Myrtle in wedding bouquets
Since 1840, the royal brides have always added a sprig of myrtle to their bouquet of wedding flowers. Starting with Queen Victoria, this tradition has followed suit with all royal weddings that have taken place ever since. This myrtle is sourced from Queen Victoria’s own 170-year-old garden where she planted the first myrtle given by her husband Prince Albert’s grandmother.
No PDA www.rebelcircus.com
When it comes to formal or somber events, the public display of affection (PDA) is not allowed. The Queen and Prince Philip themselves haven’t been seen showing any PDA because of their respect to old values, the younger couples too refrain from holding hands when traveling or at formal events. However, at casual events, they are seen to get a little handsy.
Kids at the wedding party www.instyle.com
Kids at the wedding party
According to tradition, the royal bridesmaids are supposed to be young girls aged between 10 and 12. This was followed by Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle in their respective bridal parties. The former included Prince William’s younger cousin Lady Louise Windsor and other kids while the latter included Princess Charlotte as a bridesmaid and Prince George as pageboy. However, Kate had her sister Pippa as the Maid of Honor.
The royal diet www.craftginclub.co.uk
The royal diet
Garlic and shellfish are two of the ingredients that cannot be served in the palace! The Queen has banned these two food items as she hates garlic, and shellfish are not fit to eat, especially while traveling due to their higher risk of causing food poisoning. In fact, even meat that is cooked rare is not served in the palace.
Dinner party rules www.telegraph.co.uk
Dinner party rules
Be sure to know these two important rules if you ever find yourself dining with the Queen. The first one is to take your seat only once Her Majesty has seated herself, and the second is to eat while the Queen is eating. The royal dinner parties are planned to a tee, to an extent where Her Majesty even times her conversation with her guests sitting on either sides.
Leave the table discreetly www.cheatsheet.com
Leave the table discreetly
If the royals need to use the restroom while in the midst of a meal, they do not announce their intentions. They would simply say “Excuse me” instead of saying “I need to powder my nose” or “I need to use the restroom”, and leave the table discreetly. If they haven’t finished eating, they are supposed to cross the utensils so that the staff knows not to take their plates.
Dinner conversations with the Queen www.zimbio.com
Dinner conversations with the Queen
Dinner parties are kind of a big deal for the royals. Believe it or not, there’s an entire office that is dedicated to the organizing of the guests. If you think this stops here, you are mistaken—even the dinner conversations are formulated. The Queen begins by speaking to the person seated to her right, and during the second course of the meal, she switches to the guest on her left.
The royal tea-drinking etiquette www.vogue.com
The royal tea-drinking etiquette
Like everything else, drinking tea too has its own rules! Here’s how you drink tea like a princess – Pour tea in first followed by milk; hold the top of the handle with your thumb and forefinger and use your middle finger to support the bottom of your cup. Keep your little finger tucked inside; after every sip, place the cup back on the saucer without making any noise. 
No gender reveal parties www.goodhousekeeping.com
No gender reveal parties
While the Royal Family is quite open when it comes to sharing their personal news with us, there’s one thing that they must not overlook, gender reveals! We all adore them and follow them through their various life events, be it weddings or other occasions, but when a royal is pregnant, revealing the gender of the baby to the public is not encouraged.
Birth announcements people.com
Birth announcements
Historically, the birth of a royal baby was announced by a hand-written note that would be displayed outside Buckingham Palace on an easel for the public. Today, the same tradition follows, except that the note is officially typed on a royal letterhead and framed appropriately to be kept outside. The tradition of announcing the birth verbally is also still carried out by an unofficial town crier.
The first public appearance of the royal baby www.standard.co.uk
The first public appearance of the royal baby
Historically, the first appearance of the royal baby was always at their christening. But, since babies are no longer birthed at home, there’s a new tradition that follows. The mother gives birth at St. Mary’s Hospital in London, and as the parents are preparing to leave the hospital premises and move back to the palace, the public gets a quick look of the baby right outside. 
The christening outfit people.com
The christening outfit
A christening outfit was fashioned for the royal baptism of Queen Victoria’s daughter in 1841. Ever since, that same outfit has been worn by all royal infants for their christening. As that piece of cloth was used for over a century, a new dress was designed, which was a replica of the original one. The tradition continues even today as royal baby Archie wore this dress for his christening.  
Shorts for the young royals www.rd.com
Shorts for the young royals
As babies turn into young toddlers, even they have to follow a certain dress code. Young royal boys are often seen wearing shorts every time they make a public appearance because according to tradition, trousers are only meant to be worn by young adults and grown men. Prince George has always been photographed donning tailored shorts, and now we know why!
Homeschooling royal babies www.forbes.com
Homeschooling royal babies
Royals have only been homeschooled throughout history, until Prince Charles was allowed to attend an elite private school for his education. He was also the first heir to the British monarch who acquired a degree after his graduation. Following this new tradition, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s children Prince George and Princess Charlotte too attended Westacre Montessori School and Willcocks Nursery School respectively.
Learning multiple languages is encouraged www.bbc.com
Learning multiple languages is encouraged
English is spoken in several parts of the world, but the royals believe in learning different languages. It is expected of the members of the family to learn more than one language. Prince George already learned to count in Spanish. In fact, Prince Charles knows more languages than the other members of the royal family. He can speak English, French, German, and Welsh (passable).
No “Monopoly” for the royals www.cheatsheet.com
No “Monopoly” for the royals
The classic board game is off-limits for the royals. When in 2008, Prince Andrew received the game as a gift from the Leeds Building Society, he responded by saying, “We are not allowed to play Monopoly at home. It gets too vicious.” The iconic game was banned since the royals got too competitive, and to prevent any altercations arising due to the game, the royals are forbidden from playing.
No political views www.marieclaire.com
No political views

The Queen is the monarch, which is why she and the royal family are expected to remain neutral. So, this directly implies that she has to forfeit her right to vote. Since they cannot vote, members of the royal family aren’t allowed to hold any type of political office either. Furthermore, they aren’t even allowed to express any political views in public.

No autographs or selfies www.eonline.com
No autographs or selfies

While celebrities are okay when you approach them for an autograph or a selfie, the royals wouldn’t oblige. Though they don’t take selfies or give autographs, Kate is known to pose for selfies in the past. However, even the Duchess of Cambridge would decline politely if you ask for her autograph. In fact, the royals aren’t allowed to do so because of the risk of it being forged.

No touching the royals www.popsugar.com
No touching the royals
Another important protocol that royals and people have to abide by is that the members of the royal family should not be touched. In fact, touching the Queen has been long considered as one of the oldest and greatest taboos surrounding the British monarchy. However, time and again this rule has been overlooked. For instance, Kate looked a wee bit awkward while posing with LeBron James who put an arm around her.
Royals have to accept gifts www.birminghammail.co.uk
Royals have to accept gifts
The royals tend to receive gifts from all over the world. One of the rules that the royal family has to abide by is that they must graciously accept whatever gift they are given. There are instances when they received bizarre gifts, and they were bound by tradition to not refuse them. Even the royal babies have to receive gifts from the heads of the country to the common people.
The Queen doesn't need a driver's license www.thesun.co.uk
The Queen doesn't need a driver's license
According to the British Law, the Queen is the one who issues the driver's licenses and enjoying this privilege, she is exempted from this regulation. As is well known, and photographed, she surely does enjoy the thrill of being behind the wheel, but she is the only person in the UK who can drive without a license. But, due to security reasons, she is asked not to drive anymore.
No nicknames, please www.vogue.com.au
No nicknames, please
Nicknames can be cute, but that’s not how it works with the royals. According to the royal protocol, they should be addressed by their full, given names, rather than the nicknames given to them by their families. So, after marrying William, Kate began being referred to as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, though the media still refers to her as “Kate.”
Gourmet meals for the corgis www.vogue.com
Gourmet meals for the corgis
Nobody can mess with the Queen’s dogs. In fact, the staff at Buckingham and Kensington Palace aren’t even allowed to scold the Queen’s dogs at all irrespective of how they behave. Moreover, the royal pups are served gourmet meals daily, which is prepared by one of the palace’s chef. These meals are then delivered by a footman. Lucky pooches!
The legend of the ravens www.bbc.com
The legend of the ravens
Ravens are mysterious birds, and there are several legends surrounding them. One such legend is that of the six ravens. Legend has it that ‘If the ravens leave the Tower, the kingdom will fall,’ which is why there will always be a minimum of six ravens residing at the fortress to keep the Tower and the kingdom from falling. To this day, the birds reside in the tower and are taken care of. 
Christmas celebrations began a week earlier www.townandcountrymag.com
Christmas celebrations began a week earlier
Looks like even the Queen loves the holiday season as much as the rest of us common folk does. In fact, she insists on spending a week preparing for Christmas. The royal family’s annual Christmas celebration is always held at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. She arrives a week early to prepare for the holiday and supervise the arrangements.
Presents aren’t opened on Christmas Day www.thesun.ie
Presents aren’t opened on Christmas Day
Doesn’t everyone wait desperately till midnight to open their Christmas presents? Well, it works differently with the royal family. They have their own set of traditions when it comes to opening gifts on Christmas Day too. They do not open their presents on Christmas day. Instead, they exchange their gifts in the Red Drawing Room during tea time on Christmas Eve.
...instead, it is spent at the church www.mirror.co.uk
...instead, it is spent at the church
The royal family’s Christmas plan is quite different from the ordinary folk. Instead of spending the holiday in their palace, with the family, they spend the day in the church. So, when the family visits the Sandringham Estate, where their annual Christmas celebrations are held, they attend service at St. Mary Magdalene Church on Christmas Day.