25 Strict Rules the Royal Family Follows
It’s easy to picture each member of the Royal House of Windsor as being masters of their own fate; after all, they are ROYALTY in their own kingdom. However, in reality they have a whole host of rules they must follow. Some are sensible—like dressing modestly and being gracious—while others are downright bizarre, like not being allowed to play Monopoly or wear fur.
Some of these rules have been broken recently, and others required a formal law be passed for the royal family to be allowed to change their behavior. This includes the Succession to the Crown Act of 2013, which made all kinds of changes to long-standing traditions and laws, replacing the Royal Marriages Act of 1772. Among other things, this established that the oldest child of the reigning monarch, regardless of gender, is the next in line for the throne. It also decreed that the Royal family can now marry someone of faith, not just a member of the Church of England. Good news for the new generation!
Speaking of, William, Harry, Kate, and Meghan don’t seem to be afraid of breaking royal tradition and have been working hard to modernize the family. Only time will tell how far they go and what rules they replace, as well as what rules they must put in place in an ever-changing and more social media-focused world.
You Stand When the Queen Stands
To show due respect to the ruling monarch, whenever the Queen stands or is standing in your presence, you must do the same. It is seen as very rude if you do not, especially if you are a member of the royal family. If you are a foreigner who is in the presence of the Queen and do not stand when she stands (which, why are you even allowed that close to her if you don't know the etiquette), you look uneducated and disrespectful.
However, if you are a member of the royal family, you know better than to remain seated while the Queen stands as it is a decided act of rebellion and disrespect. So, if Meghan Markle was ever caught seated by the standing Queen, bad things would happen and it would be all over the news. This is considered just as disrespectful as not standing during the United States National Anthem.
Heirs To The Throne Are Not Allowed To Fly Together
Not just fly, but travel together. In order to protect the Royal line, William and Harry were never allowed to fly on the same plane growing up. Currently, William and Kate are still traveling with their son George, but that will change as he gets older. It would be a complete disaster, not only an emotional disaster, if the heirs to the throne all died at the same time. An utter travesty.
Just imagine what would have happened if William and Harry were also in the car when Princess Diana died in the car accident. William and Harry, the heirs to the throne could have both died with her, and the royal line of succession would have to scatter to prepare whoever was next after them. Even though siblings and cousins are also heirs to the throne, they aren't part of the eldest line of successors, which are obviously preferred in these scenarios.
Royal decorum reigns supreme when the family is out in public. Open and excessive displays of affection are not allowed. This is part of the reason why the first married kiss on the balcony in front of the crowd is such a big deal. It is very public and a grand display of affection, so the people go wild for it! The most you might ever see when it comes to PDA are little smooches, hand holding, or hugs, but everything must be kept very G rated.
If a royal couple was caught passionately locking lips, it would be all the media would be able to focus on. They have to keep these things really private to maintain their prim and proper image. This is really difficult since paparazzi seem to be everywhere, and even in their homes they are surrounded by maids, servants, and guards that could accidentally stumble upon a PG-13 touch. The royal family must be really careful.
The Queen Gets Final Say On Marriage Proposals
The Queen has to personally approve the marriage between all of her children and grandkids. This most definitely included the union between Harry and Meghan. It makes sense that royals would be very picky as to who they want in their family since it's not only about being a part of the family but also being next in line to rule their country. So yeah, it's a big deal.
We wonder what really happened with all of the royal family drama and why the Queen would approve of Harry and Meghan's engagement if she did not like her. Maybe the drama didn't happen until later or since Harry isn't immediately in line for the throne, it didn't matter as much. This all leads to a ton of questions that we probably won't get answered unless you are a royal family spy.
Bridal Bouquets Have to Include Myrtle
It’s become royal tradition for the bride to carry a bouquet that includes myrtle because it symbolizes love. Kate and Meghan both followed this tradition in the bouquets for their weddings. This royal tradition for the British royal family dates back to Queen Victoria's daughter Princess Victoria's wedding. Since then, the British line of royalty has made sure to include myrtles in their wedding bouquets. Many brides have been inspired by this tradition and added myrtles to their bouquets as well.
The meaning of the myrtle includes prosperity, good luck, chastity, love, marriage, and fidelity. These are all things that are necessary in a long-lasting and healthy marriage and are also core values of the British royal family. Good luck, prosperity, and fidelity are also necessary to rule over a country and be a responsible figurehead, so a bride in the royal family havine this flower in her bouquet symbolizes that her values are in-line with the crown's.
The Queen Has to Say Yes to the Dress
While the bride gets to make the initial decisions regarding design and appearance of her wedding gown, it must be presented to the Queen for approval before it can be worn at the wedding. Since every member of the royal family is seen as an extension of the Queen, this is a very important matter to weigh her opinion on, especially because every fashion outlet in the world will be watching and giving their own opinions on the bride's gown, possibly for years to come.
The royal family brides are also big trend setters when it comes to bridal fashion. After William and Kate's wedding, bridal gowns with long, lacey sleeves were all the rage and everyone wanted to emulate the gorgeous detailing on her gown. On the other hand, Meghan got a lot of flack for how simple her dress was, especially compared to Kate's, but she married Harry in the middle of a time where minimalism was where it was at.
Hats for the Ladies
Female members of the royal family are required to wear hats to daytime events. There have been some striking examples of these, most recently at the royal wedding. This style choice may have its roots in the old fashioned idea that nobles had fairer skin because they were inside all day, while the peasants had more tanned skin from working outside on the farm all day.
Since fair skin used to mean, and still has some implications, that you were of higher social status, noble women would try their best to protect their fair complexion out of the sun. Now, hats are seen at nearly every wedding where Brits are present, not only at the royal weddings. It's a chance for every English wedding to be seen as a royal wedding.
Tiaras for the Married
After 6 p.m. married woman are allowed to take off their hats and replace them with sparkling tiaras. If someone is not married, they are not allowed a tiara, but they can take off their hats. If you have seen Bridgerton, then you know the importance that English society used to put on a married woman. Centuries ago, a woman was seen as more valuable in society if she was married than if she wasn't married.
This stigma still exists today to some extent, but it was very true for English society for a very long time, and this tradition most likely extends from that long-held belief. Some of it might also be to distinguish the women from the girls or the eligible bachelorettes from the married women.
Royal rules regarding dress extend beyond the wedding gown to everyday outfits and ensembles. Both men and women are not allowed to wear clothing that is too revealing, like miniskirts or extra short shorts. It's a double standard that the men have been caught shirtless while swimming when their wives would be ridiculed to no end if they were ever caught showing skin by the paparazzi.
However, Meghan Markle definitely did not follow these royal codes of fashion before she ever became public with Prince Harry, so there are some risque photos still out and about of her that would definitely not have the Queen's approval nowadays. Check out 30 Photos of Meghan Markle That Would Make the Royals Blush.
Queen Has the Last Bite
When the whole royal crew gets together for a family meal they take a lot of direction from their matriarch. When she finishes eating, the meal is over and everyone has to stop eating. You better hope that she is a slow eater, or you might go home hungry.
This is a sign of respect for the Queen and her direction and power over the country. She is the most important person in the country, so it is very important that she is well-fed, and if she is well-fed, then everyone else must be too. Then again, she is elderly and we know that our grandmothers will eat half a boiled egg and then say they are full, so maybe this isn't the best metric to go by.
No Roman Catholics
Well, no Roman Catholics until here recently. Until 2011, the Royal family was not allowed to marry anyone whose faith was not Church of England. The Queen is the head of it, after all, so it would kind of be like the son of the Pope (which obviously is not a thing) marrying someone who is Baptist or Lutheran. It would essentially be an act of heresy.
However, Kate converted to Catholicism in the 1990s and is still considered Catholic today. Meghan is Christian and went to Catholic school when she was younger, but she does not consider herself to be Catholic. Either way, neither was a member of the Church of England as they were dating their now-husbands, so before 2011, this marrying outside of their denomination was unheard of.
No Monopoly at Game Night
A self-imposed rule, the Royal family has barred the game from their homes with Prince Andrew, saying in a 2008 interview that it can’t be played “because it gets too vicious.” This rule doesn't have any base in prim and proper society of the British royal family, but rather it's a rule that most families have enforced even in their own homes.
We all know that one person in our family can ruin game night for the rest of us by being a sore loser, or winner and makes it not fun for everyone else. If your entire family is like that, hopefully, you like that kind of competition or have stopped playing games altogether, because things can get pretty toxic. Of course, if this is happening in the royal family, they don't need any more toxicity than they already might have.
Black is a Travel Must
When traveling, all members of the Royal family must pack an all-black outfit appropriate for a funeral, because, well, there might be a funeral. This may be grim, but it makes sense that they wouldn't want to be caught dead, no pun intended, disrespecting another member of their family, even if it is sudden, and wearing black is a sign of respect for the dead.
They don't exactly have the best track record with travel safety. This is tied into the rule that heirs to the throne are not allowed to fly or travel together. The royal family is not like the first family of the United States. They are tied by their bloodline, not by their position of power, so they are not as easily replaceable, although the death of any member of the first family of the United States is still a great tragedy.
No Pants for Baby Boys
Male royal children are expected to wear tailored shorts, and don’t get pants until they are 7 or 8 years old. This is a strange rule, but it probably allows them to be able to run around and play easier than if they were in pants. You know little boys, they can get pretty rough, and they don't want those nice pants to end up with a ton of holes in the knees.
Hopefully this rule does not apply to winter because winter in the U.K. can get pretty chilly. And hopefully this rule also applies to little girls because girls need to run around and play just as much as boys do. If not, this might be setting up for their lifetime of double standards for gender roles in the royal family.
Look but Don’t Touch
More of a rule for the “general public” than for the royals themselves, non-royals are not allowed to touch members of the royal family unless a royal initiates the contact. This is usually a good rule for everyday normal people as well. If the touch does not look like it is going to be reciprocated, just don't do it.
Like we have mentioned earlier, the royal family are considered a rarity because they are important according to their bloodline, not just their position of power, so not only is initiating even a handshake with a royal considered impolite, it could also possibly be dangerous and all safety precautions need to be taken to ensure that their bloodline continues.
According to a 12th century decree by King Edward III, all royals are banned from adorning themselves with fur. This is one of the few rules it seems they ignore. They seem very comfortable wearing fur hats, coats, and other items of clothing, much to every animal rights activist's dismay.
Fur, after all, has been a status symbol for quite a long time. We don't know exactly why it was ever banned for the royal family to dawn animal hide, but maybe it had something to do with the fair treatment of animals. The royal family are trend setters, so maybe they should make anti-animal cruelty the new black.
Due to the risk of allergies and food-borne illness, no member of the Royal family is allowed to eat shellfish or seafood of any kind while they are traveling. They also are warned about rare meats and tap water. As we have said earlier about the uniqueness of the life of the member of the royal family, they don't want to risk any death-causing allergies within the family.
Also, while traveling, anyone has to be careful about eating foods and drinking water because there could be new bacteria in the food or water that your body isn't used to and it could make you sick. This also depends on where you get your food or water. For example, in many place in Central America, you should not drink water straight from the tap because it could make you sick. As a good rule of thumb, you should also always get food from reputable restaurants and not some random person on the side of the road selling coconuts.
The Royal Family Must Accept All Gifts They’re Given
According to rules of etiquette, the royal family must accept whatever gifts they are given in good faith, and they have received everything from a miniature throne from the HBO show Game of Thrones to an Arctic Monkey’s CD. They must have a whole room in Buckingham Palace dedicated to these types of gifts, because we all know how fast unwanted gifts can accumulate even just for your average Christmas or birthday celebration.
If everyone kept every gift they ever received, we wouldn't be able to use half of our homes probably! Not to mention that we wouldn't be able to save money by re-gifting. We understand that this is polite and everything, but we would not be able to do this. If you don't want something, you don't have to keep it! Unless you're a royal that is.
No Turned Backs on the Queen
When conversation is over with the Queen, she is the one who turns to leave. You cannot leave the conversation until after she has walked away. She is the Queen and she deserves to be respected for it. This rule includes everyone from the royal family to leaders of other countries. It's yet another reason that you should definitely study up on the rules and etiquette around the Queen before meeting with her, if you are ever so lucky.
The Queen gets the final say of when a conversation is over, and it is rude to just walk away from the Queen. This should prevent anyone from cutting her off in conversation or ignoring what she says. If only we all had this same rule in normal situations, then people wouldn't be able to ignore us or rudely walk away or drift in the middle of our conversation.
Royal Women Must Sit A Certain Way
The royal woman must always sit with their legs crossed at the ankle, or firmly together, but never crossed at the knee. Yes, that scene from the Princess Diaries is a thing in real life. If a woman is seen crossing her legs not at her ankles, that is seen as too casual and improper. You don't want to be too comfortable.
Included in that way of not sitting is to sit with your legs spread, even just a little bit. You won't see Kate or Meghan sitting criss-cross applesauce at any royal gathering. It is viewed poorly if a woman sits any way other than with her legs close together and crossed at her ankles. That is the proper way for a lady to sit.
Chins Up, But Not Too Up
When posing for photographs, Royals are instructed to keep their chins level with the ground. It makes for a better, more regal photo. This is a pose of confidence and power. Since the royal family is the most powerful family in the United Kingdom, of course they have to pose this way. It makes sure that every person looks as powerful as they actually are.
Also, this will help get rid of any accidental double chins in pictures. We've all been there. The next time you take a picture, remember to keep your chin up. Whether it's a group picture or a selfie, lifting your chin will help make your jaw look more defined and you neck look longer. Who doesn't need a little help posing?
Garlic is not allowed in the Queen’s presence or in any dishes served at functions she attends. Not because she's allergic, but simply because she doesn’t like it. When you’re the Queen you get to make the rules—at least about all things garlic. We honestly don't blame her for this one.
While we do love to eat garlicy food, we can't deny that it makes everyone's breath horrible, including our own. Maybe she doesn't like the way it makes her breath smell and she doesn't want to be so disrespected by such a small vegetable. Or maybe she doesn't want to talk to a bunch of people who have garlic breath all evening. Any way you spin it, garlic is a smelly food, and if the Queen doesn't like it, it's gone.
The royals must remain unpolitical, this includes things like voting and running for office. This rule seems strange, but this is probably why it has to be this way. The royal family was once in charge of the country both politically and royally, but since the United Kingdom has become a democracy, the royal family is still only in power as a figurehead, not in actual political power.
Because of this, they cannot be tied too closely to any political candidate. Their power extends through and well past any term of a Prime Minister or other government official, and they must retain an evergreen status. This may seem unfair to them, but it makes sense once you think about it.
No Driver’s License Required
More of an exception to a rule, the Queen is not required by law to obtain a driver’s license. This is because they are all issued in her name. If she is the one that is endorsing the driver's licenses, why would she need to endorse her own? Of course she already has her own endorsement! She's the Queen and she can do whatever she wants.
Most royals really don't drive anywhere except exclusive, private roads and driveways because it is a safety hazard for them to be driving everywhere, especially since they are so overprotective about their traveling anyway. It is important that the royals remain respected, alive, and healthy since they are the figurehead of the country.
Dinner Conversation Order is Scripted
The Queen follows tradition in how she makes dinner conversation. The first half of the meal is spent chatting with the guest to her right, and the second half spent with the guest to her left. If you have social anxiety, you would probably be relieved that this is the way it is done when you visit the Queen - that is if you ever get the opportunity.
Scripting out who you are going to talk to in a specific order helps maintain everyone's sanity involved, as it could possibly get way too loud or chaotic, which is not good for a royal event. Be sure to study up on all of these rules, though, so you make sure that you won't speak out of turn in front of the Queen: a good way to never be invited back.