20 Surprising Rules the Royal Family Must Follow

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If you think your family is weird, wait until you hear about the rules British royals follow on a daily basis. While a lavish lifestyle is guaranteed, protocol requires following traditional customs; some will leave you scratching your head. 

The power of a purse


Royal ladies carry purses in their left hand to wave with their right one. The late Queen Elizabeth II reportedly wore the same Launer handbag almost daily, and she had over 200 of the same classic black one. She used the purse to send secret codes to her staff. 

Sitting pretty 

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Royal ladies must also sit in a specific position to protect their “modesty.” As former King Charles III butler explained, their legs are slanted to the side. Princess of Wales, also known as Kate Middleton, has a signature pose with ankles together and her legs at an angle. 

Traveling Arrangements 

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Once Prince George turns 12, he cannot fly with his father, Prince William. Two direct heirs to the British throne never travel together, though Prince William relaxed the rules while George was still young. This was also seen as controversial, though the little Prince still has a year of flying with the family. 

Different vocabulary 

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Though not confirmed by the royals, reports claim using common words like “toilet” or “dessert” is frowned upon. Instead, the proper terms are “loo” or “lavatory” and “pudding” for an after-dinner treat. Similarly, “patio,” “perfume,” “lounge,” and “couch” appear to be less than popular when you’re hanging out with a member of the royal family. 

Bring your black attire

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You might have noticed that royals avoid wearing black since it is commonly reserved for funerals. But what if something happens while they are abroad? Don’t worry; all royals have to carry all-black outfits in case of an unexpected death. The late Queen preferred bright colors to stand out and be more visible for her security, and though not all wear almost neon shades, royal females are known for their colorful attire.

No ring, no tiara

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Royal ladies must wear hats during day events, but after 6 p.m., the fascinators and marvelous headdresses are replaced with tiaras. Tiaras are accompanied by priceless family jewelry. The exception is that a bride can wear a tiara at any hour on her wedding day. Only married royal ladies can wear tiaras. 

Even shake hand comes with a protocol 

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Keep firm eye contact while shaking the royal’s hand, but there’s more. According to former British butler and etiquette expert Grant Harrold, a royal handshake should consist of two to three pumps. Your palms must be open, and your thumbs must be down. 

No selfies and no autographs 

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Though Prince William once broke this rule, royals are not allowed to take selfies. Similarly, protocol forbids royal family members from offering their autographs to fans lest someone try to forge them. King Charles once gave an autograph to a family whose Cornwall home was affected by devastating flash floods. 

Christmas weight 


This one has to be among the strangest in a sea of bizarre information about the royals. CBS reported that each royal family member was weighed before and after Christmas dinner. If they gained weight, it signals that they genuinely enjoyed their meal. The eccentric ritual dates back to King Edward VII, Queen Elizabeth’s great-grandfather.  

No fur allowed 


Though this rule was broken numerous times, according to a proclamation from Edward III, the royal family was not allowed to wear fur. The Fur Act of 1337 only allowed knights and clergypersons to wear fur as part of their outfits. 

Iron your shoelaces


Shoelaces can get wrinkled, and if one family can’t allow that, it would be the British royals. Paul Burrell, who worked for Princess Diana and then Prince Charles, said that the King’s pajamas and laces were ironed every single morning. 

Nail rules 


This one is less strange, though it is restrictive. Unlike Royal outfits, royal ladies must wear clear nail polish or pinkish tones close to neutral, like Kate Middleton’s favorite, Essie’s Ballet Slippers. This is not so much a rule as a way to look more professional and avoid distractions. 

Dietary requirements 


Many royals, including the late Queen, avoid eating shellfish due to the risks of poisoning. This is not a rule but a smart decision, but things get more confusing regarding garlic. The Sunday Express claims that due to the number of high-profile meetings, garlic was banned by the royals to avoid bad breath. 

No permission, no marriage


The Royal Marriages Act of 1772 states that the most senior royals in the family require written permission from the Monarch before they propose. After the approval and the proposal, the couple gets official engagement photos, and the wedding countdown begins. 

Do not eat before or after the Monarch 

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If a Monarch stops eating, you must put down your knife and fork. Also, no one begins eating before the Monarch, and it is advised to follow their movement regarding eating behavior. Paul Burrell confirmed there were slip-ups, but the late Queen did not want her guests to feel awkward, so she made no fuss about the rule breakers. 


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Public display of affection is a big no-no in royal circles, especially among the highest-ranking royals. The late Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, set the rule, followed by their children and some of their grandchildren, including Prince William and his wife, Princess Kate. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, gained a lot of negative press over their mild PDA. 

No license, no problem 

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The Monarch does not need a license to drive. It is unknown whether the late Queen ever took the driving test, and she did not even need the license plates since all driver’s licenses in the UK are issued in the Monarch’s name. 

Lucky myrtle


Royal wedding bouquets must contain myrtle, a flower that symbolizes luck in love, fertility, and innocence. Queen Victoria carried myrtle in her bouquet during her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840, and since then, every British royal bride has carried a bouquet with a sprig plucked from the same shrub.

Don’t turn around 

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One should never turn their back to the Monarch. Additionally, the Monarch is the one to end the conversation and exit the room before anyone else. If this wasn’t enough, remember that no one is allowed to nap while the Monarch is awake or that when the Monarch stands up, so does everyone in their presence. And no, you can’t sit down before the Monarch. 

Chin up

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When walking downstairs or standing, a royal lady must keep her chin aligned with the ground. Her hands have to be by her side. Royals often have meetings with politicians, CEOS, and other influential figures, so keeping a pose can be seen as a power move. 

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