10 Style Rules The Royal Family Must Follow
No, you'll never catch Kate wearing sweatpants.
There’s a reason you’ve never seen Prince George in a Batman t-shirt or the Queen in a black pantsuit. The royal family has rules for everything and everyone. (Well, except Her Majesty’s Corgis, who can do whatever they want.) So it’s no surprise they have an actual dress code. Here are the top ten style rules the royals must follow. And for more royal coverage, don’t miss these 30 Fascinating Facts about the British Royal Family.
Casual doesn’t cut it
For official appearances, women are required to wear a “smart” day dress or “trousers” with a jacket or knee length coat. The Queen always wears brightly colored coats and dresses selected for her by her dresser, Angela Kelly. Gentleman must wear a collared shirt and chinos with a blazer. William and Kate have bent the rules a bit and, on occasion, have shown up in dark jeans. But Meghan take note, they are never, ever of the ripped or distressed variety.
Hats are a must
If you don’t know that by now, there’s no hope for you. Ladies must wear hats for all formal events like the Trooping of the Color (the official celebration of the Queen’s birthday), weddings, and state occasions. There’s no rule that says they have to be hideous though, as Princess Diana so elegantly proved. And for more about the royal engagement, here are 10 Things We Know About Harry and Meghan’s Wedding.
Tiaras come out after tea time
After 6pm, hats are never worn indoors and it’s time to put on the tiara. Flashy tiaras and diamonds are not to be worn during the day. (That would be tacky.) But the glittering headpieces can only be worn by married members of the royal family. Just another perk of being an official member of “The Firm.”
Always be prepared
When a member of the royal family travels, they must always make sure to bring along an all-black ensemble in the event of a sudden death. We’re assuming they’re referring to someone else’s death, of course.
Hair must always be neat
Perhaps that’s why Kate gets her hair blown out three times a week. Diana had hers done every day after her morning swim.
Gloves are a good thing
It wasn’t too long ago when no self-respecting royal lady would be seen in public without her gloves. They aren’t required anymore, but they’re still worn. Diana hated them—and made international headlines when she shook the hand of an AIDS patient in 1991 during a hospital visit without them. Kate wears them on occasion, though usually to guard against the cold. The Queen still mostly adheres to the tradition. Besides being an important fashion statement, they also serve a practical purpose for her. She shakes hands with hundreds of people every day, so they protect her from germs.
Men salute the military in uniform
Royal men usually wear their uniforms when they are representing their regiments at military occasions where British troops are honored. Prince William served in the RAF and holds the title of Colonel of the Irish Guards and chose to wear the regiment’s striking red uniform when he married Catherine in 2011, because he had recently been appointed to the role by The Queen. Harry, who has also served in the armed forces and wore his uniform at the wedding, will likely opt for a tradition morning suit for his nuptials because he is no longer a member of the military.
Even kids have a dress code
Thank goodness the custom of “breeching,” which had royal little boys wearing gowns and dresses until the age of eight, died off in the late 19th century. Prince George, like his father Prince William before him, follows the tradition of wearing short pants, a collared shirt, and a color coordinated sweater when he seen out with his parents. Our favorite look on George’s has to be that adorable monogrammed bathrobe, gingham pajamas, and matching slippers he wore when he met the Obamas last year.
Even royal girls dress to impress
How sweet are those smocked dresses that Princess Charlotte wears? We’ve never seen a little princess in anything but pretty dresses with Peter Pan collars worn with anklets and hair bows. You won’t find anything with glitter anywhere.
Colored nail polish is frowned upon
No Kardashian claws allowed. Nails are always short and understated. The Queen reportedly finds bright nail polish “vulgar.” Her Majesty only wears “Ballet Slippers,” the classic sheer pink polish by Essie. Kate chose Essie’s elegant shade of white aptly called “Allure” for her wedding. For her engagement photos, Meghan followed suits with a suitably royal-looking manicure. Her Essie shade of choice was a sign of things to come. It’s called “Limousine.” And if you can’t get enough royal wedding news, here’s How Prince Harry Popped the Question to Meghan Markle.
Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana: A Novel.
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