Ever dream of being a princess one day? Being part of the Royal family gives a person countless privileges, but it doesn’t mean they can do everything they want. So it is not so easy as most people believe it is. Everything in life has a downside - even being a Royal.
In fact, the highest-ranked family of the United Kingdom has to follow many outdated rules and protocols. And non-royals can struggle with etiquette rules once they are around Queen Elizabeth, Prince William, and other Royals. The basketball player LeBron James, for example, broke the protocol putting his arm around The Duchess Kate a few years ago.
There are of course rules that seem strange to most ordinary people like us: Royal members have to ask permission to the Queen when they want to get married, two heirs can’t travel together and they can’t eat shellfish. There are rules even for Princess Charlotte and Prince George, and they have to follow a very specific dress code.
Well, but not everybody follows the rules and we can see the Royals breaking them quite often - even the Queen. Curious? Here is our list of 15 weird traditions the Royal family have to follow. Check it out.
15 Family Vacations Are Forbidden
According to Royal protocol, two heirs should not travel together, so the Royal lineage is not at risk. When this rule was established it did make sense: traveling caravans were exposed to risks like accidents, robberies, contagious illness and others. So traveling separated was a way to protect the succession line.
The tradition last for generations. The Queen was often on tours around the world and left the children behind with governesses. However, Kate and William decided to don’t follow the protocol and they often travel together with Prince George and princess Charlotte.
Their first family trip together was to Australia, when George was only 9-months-old and they justified their decision saying that just one flight would be cheaper. ‘It’s a long way to fly, and there’s a cost implication if they travel separately”, told a source to Daily Mail in 2013.
14 They Can't Be Touched
If you are a non-royal person, you shouldn’t touch a Royal Family member. Although the Monarchy’s website says that there are no obligatory codes of behavior when meeting The Queen or a member of the Royal Family”, it also points that people who “wish to observe the traditional forms” can follow some tips. Men should do a “neck bow” and women a “small curtsy”.
However, this protocol has been broken several times like in 2009 Michelle Obama put her hand on the back of Queen Elizabeth II and in 2014 when LeBron James with an arm around Kate Middleton became viral. As we know, there were no consequences for that, but both situations made the headlines.
This etiquette rule dates back to the Middle Ages. “Monarchs were divinely appointed to rule by God, so they were kind of seen as gods, so they demanded to be treated as gods”, says the British Historian Kate Williams.
13 Not Allowed To Play Monopoly
Ok, this is not a rule written on the official protocol but made the public curious. But while Prince Andrew ( The third child of Queen Elizabeth), was visiting the Leeds Building Society, he received with a Monopoly game personalized with the property features.
"We're not allowed to play Monopoly at home. It gets too vicious”, joked the Duke of York while receiving the gift. However, he didn’t give more details about what happens when they play Monopoly or if the Royal family uses to play other board games instead.
Perhaps he and Charles fought over a property in the game? Is Prince Philip not a good loser? Or someone tries to take advantage while playing? We will probably never know, but it does make us curious.
12 They Can't Vote
There isn’t a law that written anywhere, but according to the Parliament website “Although not prohibited by law, it is considered unconstitutional for the Monarch to vote in an election”. So basically they can vote, but they don’t. ,
The Royals are expected to be politically neutral and monarchs are advised to don’ express their political views. However, the Queen plays a definitive role in the election. The day after it happens, she receives the leader of the party with the majority of the seats to form a government, since he or she will become the prime minister.
In 2015 Prince Charles was very criticized after the media released letters he wrote to government ministers seeking to lobby the government on contentious issues such as alternative medicine.
11 Shellfish Is The Forbidden Fruit
According to various sources, in the past, the Royal family was forbidden from eating shellfish, especially when they were traveling. Today it is more a “health advice” since shellfish have a higher risk of food poisoning than most other dishes. Well, the advice makes sense since the stomach flu can really mess up with anyone’s routine, imagine if you have a schedule so busy as a Royal family member.
While Queen does follow this advice, other Royals, especially the younger ones, are often seen eating shellfish. Prince Charles seems to really enjoy it!
But shellfish is not the only food they should avoid. They are advised to not eat meat if it is cooked rare or drink tap water when they are traveling in foreign countries.
10 They Can't Have Nicknames
It is no surprise that there is a lot of formalities when someone has to deal with the Royal family - and the names are one of them. It is not allowed to call them by a nickname or anything that seems informal. So you will never see someone in public calling Prince William “Will”. The only two people who were able to skip the rule were Lady Diana ( often called Lady Di) and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate, who is never called by her birth name Catherine. In case of doubts when addressing the Royals just use “Ma’am” or “Sir”.
However away from the public life, they have nicknames for themselves. Prince Harry was called “Potter” by his close friends and Prince William and Kate were overheard calling each other “babe” and “darling”. And even Queen Elizabeth was called “Tillabet” when she was a girl.
9 No Eating After The Queen Finishes Her Meal
If you are ever invited to have dinner with the Queen, just keep an eye on her moves. According to the Royal etiquette, once the Queen finishes a course of mean, no one else should keep eating.
In fact, on a dinner with the Queen you should observe and do what she does: if she sits, you sit, if she stands, you stand, if she stops eating, you stop - and so does everyone else on the table. If you follow Her Majesty’s every move, the chances that you finish the meal without doing anything impolite are high.
This rule doesn’t suit only guests, but all the Royal family - even Prince Philip, her husband. Perhaps they are a bit easier on George and Charlotte for now.
8 They Can't Run For Office
This rule makes a lot of sense since they have one of the most powerful positions in the United Kingdom ( and the world) and have an undeniable influence on diplomatic relations anyway. However, not allowing a Royal Family member to have a political office will prevent them to use their power to take personal advantage ( or benefit family and friends) of that position, influence public opinion.
If Prince Harry, for example, had a political position and wanted to approve a specific law at the parliament, other members could feel an obligation to go for it because of his Royal background.
Well, we just hope that George and Charlotte don’t have the dream to become a politician when they grow up.
7 There's A Strict Dress Code
Being part of the Royal family means that you have all the haute couture brands on our disposal, anytime you want, right? And who is the stylist who wouldn’t love to dress a Royal family member? Well, it is not as simple like that and they have a very strict dress code.
After entering the Royal family, Kate Middleton changed her style and it was not optional. Their clothes must be elegant and appropriate for each circumstance. On casual days she is often seen wearing a smart dress or trousers matched with a jacket and cardigans.
The Queen has a more conservative style but wears a lot of bright colors and people say that it is to ensure members of the public stand the chance of seeing her through the crowds.
Even Prince George has to follow the dress code. He can’t wear jeans or t-shirts with his favorite cartoon character because it is considered too suburban for a royal. It is a costume among the upper class, aristocracy and royals that small boys wear shorts.
6 The Queen Decides Who Keeps The Gifts
It is a fact that Royal family members receive a lot of presents and one of the rules is to accept everything they receive graciously. It is an easy task to do that when you receive flowers or stuffed animals, but a little more challenging when you receive live crocodiles (it really happened to Prince Andrew).
However, what many people don’t know is that all the gifts they receive don’t belong to them, but to the Crown. So it is up to the Queen to decide who keeps each gift or even what will be re-gifted. This is why we see jewellery who used to belong to passed away Royal family members being used by other people since it belongs to the Crown, the Monarch decides who receives it.
In case you are wondering the crocodiles were given to the London Zoo.
5 They Can't Be Raised Catholic
At least the Monarch can’t since he or she is the head of the Church of England, a Protestant Anglican church established by the Royals’ 16th-century when they were reigned by Henry VIII. The Last time England had a Catholic Monarch was was in the 16th-century, with Mary Tudor, who was famous for executing Protestants during her reign.
Under the law, if a child is raised as a Catholic, he or she can’t inherit the throne. It might change in a near future since Prince Charles affirmed that he will defend all faiths.
In facts, until 2011 the Monarch wasn’t allowed to marry a Catholic. For other family members, it might not be an issue either, even though the first six in the line to the throne have to ask the Queen for permission to marry.
4 Strict Rules On Seating
If a regular diner is full of formalities, it is no surprise that bigger events have even more strict rules. In a wedding, for example, the Royal family must enter the room following the order of their ranks with the Queen, who is, of course, leading the way. After her comes Prince Philip ( Duke of Edinburgh), Prince Charles and Camilla Parker ( Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall), Prince William and Kate ( Prince of Cambridge and Duchess of Cambridge)... basically everyone who is in the line to the throne.
Just between us: It seems like an endless procession. And, different from some other rules we mention, we haven’t found a situation where this one was broken. It seems that this protocol must be no matter what.
3 Wearing Fur A Broken Rule
In 1137, Edward III decreed that literally no one, including the royal family and men of the church, could wear fur. Since British people are very attached to their tradition, it is no surprise that this rule is still valid nine centuries later. However, as we have seen in other topics the Royals also break the rules quite often and why not break this one too?
Even Her Majesty, who is very strict on following the traditions, was spotted wearing fur several times. Camilla Parker was another member of the family who is a fan of wearing furs and even Kate Middleton wore fur-lined ski gloves while on holidays last year.
Of course, when it happens they receive a lot of criticism from Animal activists.
2 Christmas Must Be Spent Together
Who never felt pressed to spend Christmas at home with the whole family? If you are part of the Royal family, you don’t have a choice but to spend the Holiday with the Queen. Of course, they have room for everybody: the Royal family traditionally spend Christmas at Sandringham House in Norfolk, as opposed to Buckingham Palace.
The dinner is quite formal, men must wear black tie suits and the woman should wear gowns, jewelry, and tiaras. Boyfriends and girlfriends are not allowed, and that was the reason Prince Harry and Meghan Markle spent their first Christmas as a couple separated.
Kate was the first person to break the tradition and she spent Christmas with her family at their home in Berkshire a few times. Rumors say that the Queen wasn’t pleased.
1 There Has To Be 6 Ravens At The Tower Of London
Who said there is no room for superstition in the Royal family? They keep a group of at least six ravens at the Tower of London and, according to a legend “"if the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it". So the birds' presence is supposed to protect the Crown and the tower.
The legend dates back from Kings II, who reigned from 1660 to 1685, but some historians believe it is just a Victorian flight fantasy. A legend or not, they became one of the touristic attractions in London and the staff really take good care of them.
In fact, they keep the number of ravens above six, so if there is an accident and one of them dies, the Kingdom is still protected.