The royal family lives by a seemingly endless list of rules and regulations. This code, although unwritten, is essential to the image of the monarchy and dictates everything from the color of nail polish that members of the royal family can wear to the length of the trousers of young princes.
While some are traditional, it seems others are simply a matter of the Queen’s personal taste. It’s essential for anyone joining the royal family to know what they’re not allowed to wear – or face a royal fashion disaster.
READ MORE: Prince Louis looks unrecognizable in new photo of the Queen with all of his great-grandchildren
But there is a particular rule that will prohibit Kate Middleton and other members of the royal family from wearing a certain type of shoe in the presence of the queen. It’s an unspoken rule that members of the Royal Family must not wear wedge heels in front of the Queen, leaving Kate’s choice of footwear for royal occasions somewhat limited.
This is seen as a matter of the Queen’s personal taste, rather than relying on tradition and all members of the Royal Family know how to hide corners in the closet unless the event they are attending does not feature Her Majesty.
Kate Middleton has often been photographed favoring platform shoes, especially in the summer, rather than stilettos. But she also knows how to avoid them when she organizes an event with her mother-in-law.
There are many other dress code rules that members of the royal family must follow. Take a look at our list below to learn more.
Traditionally, tiaras should only be worn by brides and married women. In the past, they symbolized the transition from celibacy to the loss of innocence and to the wife.
Things have moved on since then, but the Royal Family still abides by this rule, with Kate and Meghan not seen in public wearing a tiara until their wedding day. There are plenty of famous royal tiaras, but the Queen’s personal favorite is the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara.
2. Nail polish
It might seem like such a small detail because nail polish can’t be dictated by royal tradition, but it turns out it is. Queen Elizabeth is still seen with her classic pale pink fingernails, which reports suggest she’s been wearing exclusively since 1989 – 33.
Kate Middleton is rarely seen with nail polish in public, but all family members should wear pale, natural colors if they are to be seen and wearing it.
3. Shorts for young boys
Surprisingly, until very recently, the princes of the royal family were only allowed to be seen in robes until they were eight years old. Now this has evolved and in recent generations young princes have been allowed to wear shorts instead.
But long pants are still mostly reserved for older children – although Prince Louis has sometimes been photographed in jeans or long pants, most of the time he is seen in shorts that end just above the knee.
4. Modesty is key
Royal women should watch their hemlines and necklines closely and have them monitored by members of the royal household. No neckline is allowed and hemlines must end just above the knee or below. This is why even the youngest members of the royal family are seen in long dresses for official balls and events.
Princess Diana used to hold her clutch in front of her chest when getting in and out of cars, to avoid any awkward photography from the waiting paparazzi. Following this trend, Kate is often depicted in chic dresses with a high collar and long sleeves, completely avoiding this risk.
5. The Queen’s Touch of Color
It is no coincidence that the queen is so often depicted dressed in bright colors. Contrasting with her subtle nail color, her outfits are designed to stand out and make her easy for the public to spot.
According to Edward the Countess of Wessex’s wife, Sophie, her outfits let people know for sure they’ve seen the Queen. Her Majesty has been seen in colors ranging from bright pink to bright yellow and even dark red. Her coats in particular make everyone’s outfits look very dull!
6. Hats and headdresses
Members of the royal family should always wear hats or headdresses in public, except after 6 p.m., when married women can exchange a hat for a tiara.
But this rule is rather old-fashioned among younger members of the royal family, who prefer to wear headpieces only during important events and engagements such as weddings and attending races.
7. Black is prohibited, but must stand by
One of the biggest missteps a royal can make is to wear black outside of Remembrance Sunday or a time of mourning. But it’s vital for all royals to pack black attire when traveling, just in case something happens to another family member while they’re in the know.
The Queen herself fell victim to this in 1952, when her father died while she was in Kenya. After returning to the UK, she had to wait inside the plane until she could get a black outfit delivered. Since then, it is believed that all members of the royal family have appropriate attire pending.
8. Coats should not be taken off outside
Royal women must commit to wearing a coat all the time they are in public, as removing it in the open air was once considered unfeminine. Meghan was often pictured wearing thick coats outside, and the Queen of course always wears one in a color that can be seen from a great distance.
Kate is often pictured outside without a coat on – but she hasn’t been seen pulling off one she’s already wearing. Maybe the royal found a sneaky way around this rule?
12. Shoes should shine
If you haven’t already figured it out, the royal family’s wardrobe should be neat and perfect, right down to the shoes. Any type of footwear should be clean and look fresh. Prince Charles would love to have his shoelaces ironed for this very reason.
The Royals use insoles with slightly oversized shoes for maximum comfort on long rides and to avoid uncomfortable blisters.
10. Take inspiration from those around you
The royals are expected to blend in during royal visits in terms of the types of clothes they wear.
They often show their respect for foreign culture during their visits abroad by wearing national dress or something symbolic for that nation. Kate was seen sporting a maple leaf badge while visiting Canada and a head covering while visiting a mosque in India.
11. Natural makeup only
Royals are required to have natural hair and makeup – so don’t dye your hair a wacky purple or blue if you’re a teenage royal. Hair can be worn up or down as long as it looks smooth and natural, and makeup should look effortlessly flawless without bright colors or bold styles.
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Still want to be royal?
With all these rules, it’s no wonder the royal family is always fashionable, clean and tidy! There may be a lot to keep in mind, but the younger royals are making their mark and slowly changing some traditions, or at least updating them. From Kate wearing the same clothes multiple times to her son Louis pictured in long pants, these rules are clearly not as set in stone as the family might have you believe.
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