Parenting can be filled with pressure. We all seem to have this idea in our heads of the parents we want to be, along with the parents that we think we should be, particularly when other parents are watching, and judging. A mom friend recently admitted that she semi-hovers or pretends to helicopter around her pre-school child in playgrounds, not because she’s actually worried about her child, but because she doesn’t want to deal with the harsh judgmental glares from other parents.
If regular parents feel this way about their parenting skills being put under a microscope, imagine what it would be like to be a famous parent? Let’s take even that to the next level, what about if you were royalty and in charge of raising the potential heir to the thrown?
We assume that Kate Middleton knew what she signed up for when she married Prince William. There would be plentiful social, charitable, and familial obligations, but what about her choice of how she raises her own kids, especially since they are center stage in the spotlight as the next generation of royals.
Both William and Kate are known for pushing the envelope in terms of what they are allowed to do as royal parents, but there are limits to this testing that even Will’s mother Princess Diana wouldn’t cross.
These are 15 things that royal mom Kate Middleton is forbidden from doing.
15 Using The Word 'Toilet'
There are certain words that are not appropriate to be said if you’re a British Royal, and we’re not talking about cuss words. If Kate couldn’t hear what little George was saying, she would never say ‘Pardon’. Even though most of us consider this a polite way to say ‘What?’ if you’re in the upper class this is a huge no-no. Instead say, ‘Sorry, I didn’t hear you’.
When Kate’s kids are potty training they will never use the word ‘toilet’ to describe where they’re going, instead they’ll say loo.
While Kate and Will are the next generation, most upper class folks call their parents “mummy and daddy’ not ‘mom and dad’ and odds are they expect their kids to do the same.
If you’re wondering where Kate and Will kick back after their kids are in bed, you’d be wrong if you said their living room, which is another middle class phrase which wouldn’t dare be uttered by a royal. Instead they’d retire to their lounge or drawing room after a long, hard day. While Posh Spice Victoria Beckham was one of the guests at Megan and Harry’s wedding, you’d never hear them, Kate, or anyone else in the family call her or anything else 'posh', instead they’d say ‘smart’.
14 Dressing Prince George In Trousers
Once Kate and Will had children, they didn’t need to worry about just their own clothes, but those of their children to ensure that they follow royal tradition and protocol. Kate needs to make sure that Prince George is wearing tailored shorts, and not trousers, at all times.
Want to know why? Etiquette expert William Hanson says, “It's a very English thing to dress a young boy in shorts. Trousers are for older boys and men, whereas shorts on young boys is one of those silent class markers that we have in England. Although times are (slowly) changing, a pair of trousers on a young boy is considered quite middle class – quite suburban. And no self-respecting aristo or royal would want to be considered suburban. Even the Duchess of Cambridge."
While Kate needs to make sure George is in short pants, she, nor anyone else can show too much leg, and must always remain dressed modestly when in public - that also means no low-cut tops of any kind.
Kate must wear hats at formal events, and then trade the hat in for crown jewels once the clock strikes 6PM. Even when playing with her kids in public, Kate would never dare putting Princess Charlotte in a crown, since tiaras are reserved for married women.
13 No Seconds At The Royal Dinner Table
My family has rules like ‘no cell phones at the table’ and children aren’t allowed to leave until we’re all done.
That is clearly a walk in the park when compared to the numerous dining rules that Kate and her family must follow.
Knives must always be held in the right hand and forks in the left, even when you’re cutting up food for your child – we’re guessing this isn’t quite as strict for the little kids, but you never know. When dining with the Queen the meal becomes like a game of Simon says, and the Queen is always Simon.
If the Queen is noshing, so do you, when she stops, you must follow, meaning that when the Queen sets her knife and fork down to signal that she’s done with her meal, your time to eat is also over. When it’s tea time Kate, and everyone else, needs to ensure they hold their cups with the thumb and index finger, with the middle finger supporting the bottom. Kate must also sip from the exact same spot so her lipstick doesn’t get all over her cup, because we all know there’s nothing posh or royal about lipstick stains.
12 Having Nicknames For The Kids
You know those cute nicknames that a lot of couples have for each other? Honey Bear, Sunshine, or even Kat, a common nickname for people named Catherine. This is not allowed when you’re in the Royal Family. Any shortening of the name or term of endearment would be off limits for anyone who is a part of the family.
In fact, no one in the family would call Kate by the same name the media does, they’d address her by her full name when out in public.
Basically they can’t be publicly addressed by any name or nickname that represents an informal nature, because there is nothing informal about being a royal. If you were to come across Kate and you don’t want to break royal protocol you’d say, “Hello your Royal Highness Duchess of Cambridge” which is actually a shortened version of her full name which is really, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn and Lady Carrickfergus.
What a mouth full! We’re guessing that George and Charlotte can just call her mom, even when they’re at a formal function, but you never know. For those who are afraid of screwing it up, calling her ‘Your Majesty’ should do the trick.
11 How To Give A Proper Handshake
From the moment they are born, the royal children are public figures and representing their family. Even as toddlers they have to put their best foot forward in terms of royal grace. As a parent that means that both Kate and Will would have to employ lots of lessons on decorum to make sure they’re measuring up.
They will be taught the rules for shaking hands: with eye contact held throughout a firm handshake with no more than two pumps.
Princess Charlotte will be taught how to sit like a lady, take a look, all of the royal women sit with their legs slanted to one side in order to keep their ‘modesty’ protected. I t even has a name and is often referred to as ‘the duchess slant’. Everyone in the family is also expected to learn multiple languages so they can properly communicate with people from all over the world.
Not only are Will and Kate likely to be listening to Rosetta Stone on their travels, so are their kids. Rumor has it that even Prince George is able to count in Spanish. The children also are groomed to master the royal wave when greeting others; there’s a reason they did this better than most tots would at the recent Royal Wedding.
10 Letting The Kids Play Board Games
Playing board games with your family seems like a very normal thing to do. As children we play games with our parents based on the number of people playing, the age of the players, and the type of game that interests everyone involved. Probably the most common board game found in anyone’s home would be the classic hit Monopoly - that is unless you’re a royal.
While the Royal family must be gracious and kind when receiving any gift, Prince Andrew (the Duke of York and Queen Elizabeth’s third child) let out a little secret, spilling the tea about the banned board game back in 2008. When the Leeds Building Society gifted him the popular board game he let it slip that the gift would not be used.
Prince Andrew said, “We’re not allowed to play Monopoly at home. It gets too vicious.”
This has led many of us to speculate who the most competitive Royals are, and were there incidents where the Queen threw the board in a fit of rage. Either way we’re guessing that even if this game is a guilty pleasure of Kate or Will, it’s kept well hidden from view when dearest grandma comes for a visit.
9 Buying 'Banned' Groceries
As a Royal you need to look your best and that means watching your diet. In addition to being healthy the family has certain rules when it comes to what food they put on the table come mealtime.
A long-standing rule has been for the Royal family to avoid eating shellfish when they’re out, to avoid food poisoning, so it’s not likely you’ll see Kate eating lobster any time soon.
On the same page they opt to avoid rare red meat. If the family is eating with the Queen there will be no garlic in the meal, because her majesty does not like the smell of it, and it is therefore never used in cooking for the family. Other forbidden items on the dinner menu are pasta, potatoes, and rice. When Kate is invited to dine with her royal family it’s nothing like dining ‘family style’ at the Olive Garden, and she is expected to dress her best at all times, with formal wear being required for dinner.
Should Kate be invited for breakfast with the Queen she can expect a very simple meal of Corn Flakes with nuts and dried fruit as this is what she eats every single day. When every meal is over, Kate and the rest of the family should fold their napkin in half.
8 Even The Family Pets Have Rules
Must love dogs may as well have been a requirement on the list of things that William needed in a partner, because the Royal family are big fans of animals. Most people know that the Queen adores her pet corgis, and she lets them do whatever they please, as her spoiled little pups.
The Queen has owned over 30 corgis since she took the throne.
The Queen has also had cocker spaniels and dorgis (dachshund-corgi crossbreeds) over the years. The Royal Corgis are never reprimanded for their behavior, even if they were to steal food right out of someone’s hand, although we’re guessing they have better decorum than that.
Should Kate ever be asked to dog sit for her grandmother she would need to ensure that the gourmet, specially prepared meals, were fresh from the in-house chef, and hand delivered to the dogs by a footman. Kate and Will have a dog of their own, Lupo, an English cocker spaniel. In 2013, Lupo made the tabloids when the Queen would not allow him to attend the Royal Christmas. So Kate had to find a puppy sitter in her parents, but we’re guessing the Queen’s dogs were a part of the family Christmas celebration.
7 Flying On The Same Plane
Being prepared isn’t just a motto for the Boy Scouts, it’s also one for the Royal Family, but some of their preparation falls under the umbrella of expect the best, plan for the worst, which some may find a little macabre.
Kate must always have an appropriate funeral outfit in her travel bags, just in case someone passes. It’s assumed so does Will, and all of the children should it be appropriate for them to attend the funeral. In addition to that any of the Royal heirs are forbidden to travel together.
This is an older rule, coming from a time when travel was far more risky in terms of accidents, illness, robbery, or unfortunate circumstances on the road.
These rules are slowly changing thanks to modern, safer ways of travel. In fact, as recently as when William was a baby, Prince Charles never had him travel with him to make sure the next heir in line was safe should something happen. Today Kate, Will, and their family travel together, but only time will tell if this continues once Prince George turns 12. Then it’s likely they’ll make him, William and Harry fly on a separate plane, just in case tragedy strikes.
6 The 'Purse On The Table' Rule
If you think you can sit wherever you want at a Royal Dinner, you’d be wrong. Kate is assigned her seating based on order of precedence at all Royal Events. Other things taken into consideration when coming up with a seating plan include age of guests, languages spoken, as well as interests and aptitudes.
In addition to sitting at a predetermined place there are all sorts of other rules that go into dining as a Royal. If Kate has to excuse herself to take a call from the nanny or simple powder her nose, she must never say why she’s leaving the table, instead she must simply say, ‘excuse me’ and then walk away.
Another thing to note is that if the Queen places her purse on the table, it’s not because she’s searching for her Tic Tacs, it is a five minute warning for everyone to finish up your food and leave.
If Kate was seated beside the Queen at dinner, which would be unlikely, Kate could only speak to her during particular times as the Queen begins her meal by speaking with the person who is seated on her right side, and switches to her left for the second course of the meal.
5 Breaking Holiday Tradition
Most families have a variety of holiday traditions that are unique to them, and it’s no different if you’re a royal. First off, Kate and her family don’t open their presents on Christmas Day, and instead host their gift exchange in the Red Drawing Room at tea time on Christmas Eve.
So there are no photos anywhere of the Royal Fam Jam opening up presents in matching plaid pajamas.
Christmas is usually a command performance for all members of the family with the festivities being held at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. We’re certain that even though there are many people in attendance, there is enough room for everyone and that no one has to sleep on a futon or pull out couch.
It has been said that somehow Kate and William have managed to attend with Kate’s family at least once since she joined the Royal family, and even taken the great grandchildren with them. However there has been speculation that the Queen was not a fan of this divergence from royal tradition, so it’s remained a very rare exception. The Queen usually arrives about a week before Christmas to make sure that everything is up to her high standards.
4 Having Debates At Dinner
Because of their role with the monarchy the Royal family needs to take their position as one with no political affiliations. This means a lot of things. Once Kate married Prince William that meant she was no longer able to vote, and she won’t be able to cast a ballot for as long as she’s a part of the royal family.
On top of that she is not permitted to show an affiliation with a particular political party, to remain neutral (much like Switzerland, even though they live in the United Kingdom). Because they are not allowed to show any political affiliation, this also means that anyone within the royal family is forbidden from running for public office.
It’s believed that the family’s influence may sway the public to vote for one particular party just because they have shown favor to a particular party or person running for office, which is precisely why they don’t vote.
It also means that because of their influence they could use this to benefit their family or friends, which isn’t fair or proper. Additionally imagine the scandal if the family were seen as divided over an issue such as politics, it probably keeps family dinners a lot more friendly.
3 Proper Gift Protocol
Just because you’re famous as a member of the Royal Family doesn’t mean you’re allowed to act like a part of the ‘new rich’ in Hollywood. Princess Kate is not permitted to give autographs or pose for selfies with her adoring fans, or permit the same of her children. The idea of either of these ‘peasant’ pleasantries goes strictly against the royal protocol.
When being presented with a gift, Kate must be gracious and accept it, even if it’s a hand-picked bouquet of weeds or a velvet painting of a giraffe.
Just the same, once Kate receives a gift, even if it is one for her children, it isn’t her place to decide if it earns a spot in their nursery, it’s the Queen’s. The Queen gets to decide who gets to keep each specific gift, although we’re guessing she’d be unlikely to say no to a particular present that her great grandchildren simply adored, she is still a proud granny after-all.
If you’re looking for a gift for Kate, don’t make it fur, since fur is supposed to be forbidden in the Royal Family (although some family members have seemed to have forgotten this rule from time to time over the years).
2 Work For Money
The Royal family has wealth because of taxpayer money as well as the nest egg of an enormous family fortune.
Because of this they’re not allowed to take on paid work. Any of their work, separate from their charity and royal related duties, need to be for fun, not funds.
Prince William is an ambulance pilot, and recently changed royal tradition by taking a paternity leave of two weeks from the Ministry of Defence (which was put into place in just 2003) when his children were born.
This is setting a new precedent, even since Prince Charles was born, as Prince Phillip wasn’t beside Elizabeth when Charles arrived, as he was off enjoying a game of squash. Even though the family isn’t working for their money, it doesn’t mean that they’re allowed to accept food or drink from anyone, unless it’s a part of being at an official function and the food they're eating is a part of the event.
This means if you ran into Kate and Will with the kids at a Starbucks, we’re guessing this wouldn’t be the norm anyway, you can’t flag the barista and offer to cover their lattes and scones, as they will not be allowed to accept your kind offer.
1 Keep PDA To An Absolute Minimum
Ever wonder why the royals seem so formal, but can’t put your finger on why? Some of this has to do with the rules surrounding touching, specifically no public displays of affection with their spouse, although this is a rule that Kate and Will have been known to break.
They also must not be touched by others. When in public on business Kate and Will are expected to maintain royal decorum, which means something as simple as holding hands is not allowed.
There’s also a rumor that Royals are not allowed to be touched when they’re out in public, which is why there was a lot of speculation about why Kate Middleton looked so uncomfortable in a photo where LeBron James put his arms around her. From time to time they will put their arms around each other or even hug when celebrating at a sporting event, but this is modern as you’ll never spot Prince Phillip and the Queen touching each other when in the public eye.
One of the many reasons why Kate and Will have become such public favorites is because it’s obvious that they have genuine romantic feelings for each other and that their marriage isn’t just a matter of a royal business arrangement.