The Royal Family, they're a fascinating bunch really. And that's quite the admission coming from someone who's never even indicated to anyone about so much as a fleeting interest in the monarchy. Although it wouldn't have been hard to guess it when so many of us glued to the TV screen waiting for the name of Price William's first born to be revealed.
And I'm betting that I'm not the only one! No matter where you're from in the world, I can guarantee you can remember where you were and what you were doing when the Duchess of Cambridge left St Mary's Hospital - looking sublime - with the lavishly swaddled Prince George. Then again when she emerged from the same hospital with Princess Charlotte.
Personally, I've always been that much more interested in how the younger royals live. I know what Prince George's six cutest outfits are. I've watched YouTube videos of a young Prince William playing a piano. I've Goggled 'who was the scowling toddler at Will and Kate's wedding?'
While I've never thought into it, there could be deeper, psychological reasons as to why we're so obsessed. From childhood, we're surrounded by fairy stories and fantasize ourselves as nobles, believing princes and princesses are always made to feel valued, special and important. As we gaze at the British Monarchy it's impossible not to feel amazed. But as a royal kid there's certain protocols that need to be adhered to, including the following fifteen set of rules.
15 One Must Master The Windsor Wave
Who could possibly forget the moment when Prince George gave the world his first wave when he was born in 2013? When those teeny, tiny little fingers escaped from the confines of his blanket and greeted the billions watching him.
At 3 years old, George has the wave mastered - at least as mastered as a 3 year old can. A Windsor wave is immediately recognizable - it's a wave that, like everything else British, doesn't like to make a fuss.
The gesture, which is supposed to convey regality, class and control is done by the queen in just one swift concise movement. The wave requires that you have your hand vertical and then give a slight twist from the wrist. It's classy and oozes decorum and, most importantly, it doesn't get too excitable. Though the younger royals have infused it with a bit more energy making it less formal.
14 One Must Spend Christmas With One's Family Under One Roof
While most children are used to being under several different roofs during Christmas as they do the rounds of the family members, the Royal Family stick with tradition and spend Christmas under one roof at Sandringham House in Norfolk - though it shouldn't be that much of a problem. If one of the youngsters throws a tantrum, there are plenty of rooms that they can be carted off to to calm down.
However, when Kate Middleton joined the royal ranks she had plans to break tradition, though she waited a few years before she did it. So when Prince George arrived, she broke away from the 'everyone under one roof' custom. She wanted her children to celebrate a 'normal' Christmas and nowadays takes William, George and Charlotte away to spend Christmas with her parents and siblings. Apparently the Queen was not so happy about this the first time it happened.
13 One Must Not Fly With One's Dad
It has always been protocol in the British Royal Family that no direct heirs shall travel by plane together. (Exception was made in 2002 which allowed Charles, William and Harry to travel back from their skiing holiday after the death of The Queen Mum.)
Little royal rebel Prince George was already breaking rules when he was just nine months by accompanying his Dad to Australia. Though his parents are becoming renowned for doing things their own way.
When George turns 12 however, there will be no exceptions made, and Dad and son will not be able to share a flight together. It's kind of depressing when you think about it. Imagine needing to explain to your son that you can't fly with him in case the plane crashes and you both die. In previous generations, children were left at home while their parents attended to royal duties abroad.
12 One Must Accept Gifts Graciously
Surely one of the pros of being a royal kid are the presents involved. Last year, Prince George received 800 official gifts alone. (And just imagine how many unofficial gifts...the mind boggles). For the average kid, this is more than they'll receive in a lifetime. Interestingly enough, all the gifts actually belong to the Crown, so it's the reigning monarch (in this instance Queen Elizabeth II) who decides who gets to keep what.
Despite not being able to hang onto even a few of the gifts he's give, Prince George and Princess Charlotte will always have to remember to accept gifts graciously. This isn't only for the kids though, the adults must follow this protocol too, no matter how ugly the teddy bear is or if it's an alligator. (Prince Andrew received a live alligator as a gift though it was quickly re-homed by London Zoo.)
11 One Must Carry A Passport
The majority of people will probably be able to tell you what Prince George weighs, his height, the colour of his eyes and his middle names...but the little royal still needs to carry a passport, just like the rest of us.
For his trip to Australia when he was just nine weeks, he needed to get a baby passport (and the royals had to pay...$65 if you're interested, though this peeves me off somewhat. I paid more for mine!) and along with his parents, he needed to adhere to customs and immigration rules. Though it's customary for this process to be fast-tracked.
Funnily enough - and perhaps quite obviously - the Queen doesn't need a passport. However, Britain's longest reigning monarch does still need to go through an identity check every time she flies in and out of Britain which involves giving her age, address and gender to immigration officials.
10 One Must Do One's Royal Duties
William and Kate have been determined, even before the birth of their first born son George, that their children would live as normal a life as is possible, but there's only so much protection that they can give. The pressures that come with being a royal started from the moment George came screaming out into the world.
There is a lot that George, Charlotte and all the other young English royals will need to know and learn. Thankfully, it's a gradual process, but when George becomes a teenager, he will, like his father, and need to get work experience. It's predicted that George will serve in the military, and, alongside his younger sister Charlotte, will be educated by economic, diplomatic and political advisors who will prepare them for the road ahead.
Until teenagedom, the kids will only have a few royal duties, including taking tea with the Queen every Thursday afternoon.
9 One Must Always Speak Like A Royal
I've always thought royal speech was a bit grating on the ear, but as a Brit I'm used to it. As soon as he was able to utter a word, Prince George, like every other Royal before him, will have started to use language in a genteel way that would separate him from the commoners.
Here are a few examples of words used regularly in a royal's life: The word 'lavatory' instead of 'toilet.' Dinner would be 'lunch.' 'Lounge' would be 'sitting room,' and 'settee' would be 'sofa.' While I would have received a clip around the ear if I'd said 'what' as a kid instead of 'pardon,' for Prince George it'll be normal. Should the little prince become distracted while having a conversation by, say, a football or a dog - he is 'like us' in that respect, - he would interject with 'what' instead of 'sorry,' or 'pardon.'
8 One Must Have A Security Team Outside One's Nursery
When most of us go to kindergarten, our first day doesn't make international newspaper headlines, nor do we have a security team discreetly waiting outside. Although he will be king one day, for now Prince George is just like all of the other 15 children in his class, and is blissfully unaware of the protection surrounding him.
When he's out with mum and dad, the little prince has two bodyguards all of his very own, and this was increased when Princess Charlotte was born. This is considered as standard protocol for the Royal Family.
Ken Wharfe, who was on William and Harry's security detail in 1987 when the princes were 5 and 3, says the risk increases as the kids get older, due to the fact that they 'become much more mobile.' Now, while most people would never think about hurting the royal children, you can never be too careful.
7 One Must Stop Eating The Moment The Queen Has Finished Eating
Everyone has to stop eating as soon as the queen is finished with her dinner, even if it's been hardly touched. This is a rule which dates back centuries. While I can see it existing in times of old, I view this rule as being nothing but awkward nowadays, never mind hugely frustrating.
Come on. The Queen is 90 years old, she's not going to be eating for long. And we all know the time it can take to get a toddler to look at their food let alone eat it. I don't think the fact a royal baby is a royal baby will make it eat any quicker. I can imagine Will and Kate having many the same issues with getting George and Charlotte to eat their meals - and quickly - as any other parent. I can't help but wonder why the Queen hasn't let this one slide.
6 One Must Always Dress Appropriately
I do not know why so many people have a melt down over what the royal kids are wearing. I regularly read comments like 'They need to be with the times!' which I totally disagree with. While George and Charlotte, along with their cousins might look as though they've just walked into 2017 straight from an Enid Blyton book. I am in love with their adorable, classy, traditional way Kate and Will dress their little ones.
I am forever being drawn back to the portrait that Annie Leibovitz shot of the Queen with seven of her grandchildren and great grandchildren, which looks as though it could have been shot sixty years ago. The girls are dressed in outfits that Elizabeth herself would have worn. The look that the royal kids have is a classical English upper class look which will never date, even if the majority of the internet disagrees.
5 One Must Have Excellent Posture
Have you ever seen a slouching young royal? Okay, maybe the rebellious Prince Harry on one or two occasions when he was little, and there may be some slouching going on in William and Kate's wedding photo, but on the whole it's a rare sight. Royals are taught practically from the moment that they're out of the womb, to stand and sit with excellent posture.
Prince George will be taught that to stand with proper posture, he must have his feet at shoulder width apart. He will be told to keep his spine straight and his chin slightly lifted. Feet will need to be flat on the floor and knees slightly bent. Hands should NEVER be in pockets - where most young children like to store them. He will also need to sit with good posture, so with his legs crossed or straight out with both feet on the ground.
4 One Must Wear Buckled Leather Shoes
I do not think that anyone can forget the adorable leather buckled shoes worn by Prince George and probably every other royal baby born since the 1940's. Despite the fact that they have always been meant for little girls, the male royals have worn them just as often.
Made by the classic English brand Start-rite, the company was given its 'Royal Warrant' in 1955 and has provided over 1,500 pairs of shoes to the Royal Family over the last half century. Start-rite is renowned for its high quality craftsmanship and style.
After Prince George was seen wearing the Navy Blue Leather Boys Buckle First Walking Shoes, sales across the world skyrocketed. And at £36 a pair, they're not as outrageously expensive as you might have first assumed. Naturally, Victoria Beckham is a fan, and had dressed her daughter Harper Seven in Start-rite, as has Katie Holmes with her daughter Suri.
3 One Must Not Eat Packaged Food
Dine on something packaged? A royal? Very bloody doubtful! I encountered a photo of George and Charlotte's step-grannie Camilla, Dutches Of Cornwall being gifted with a crate of baby food from a popular organic brand. But from the look on her face, she knew fine well that it wouldn't be going near the young royal kids.
This was verified by a former chef to the royals. Darren McGrady used to puree organic fruits and vegetables for little William and Harry and believes that the young prince and princess will be eating everything fresh, especially since his Granddad is passionate about eating organic.
Though apparently George is putting up a bit of a fight when it comes to eating his greens. The Duchess of Cambridge has said that she has to be crafty for him to eat his vegetables, so everything gets mashed up so he can't tell the difference.
2 One Must Not Have Presents On Christmas Day
Well, you learn something new every day, and today was the day I learned that the Royal Family adhere to Germanic Customs when it comes to celebrating Christmas.
While most of England's children wake up early on Christmas morning and run downstairs to open their presents in front of the tree, at the Queen's estate in Sandringham, things run a bit differently. It's on Christmas Eve when the gifts are given. They are laid out in the Red Drawing Room on a trestle table and opened before a formal meal at 8pm. Christmas day is reserved for church and watching granny give her speech.
Though when Kate came into the fold, things changed, and for George and Charlotte, presents will come on Christmas morning instead. I can't say the same for the other royal children though, but if they don't know any different, I suppose it doesn't do much harm.
1 One Must Wear Shorts
The shorts. We need to talk about the shorts. I for one, love the shorts. I've never had a problem with the shorts, but many people do have a problem with the shorts. The shorts I'm talking about are the ones Prince George has been seen in since he was old enough to walk.
They have been a hugely influential part of the Royal Family for generations, and I actually admire the fact that the tradition of short-wearing is being up-held. (I just like the shorts! They're cute!) The little prince is rarely seen in trousers or dungarees and, according to an etiquette expert, there’s a somewhat snooty reason behind it.
Apparently shorts on young boys are a silent British class marker. It's 'a very English thing to dress a young boy in shorts.' Trousers are thought to be 'suburban' – something no self-respecting royal would want to be considered as.