Kate Middleton is without a doubt one of the luckiest women on the entire planet. She gets to live like a princess (though she has the title of Duchess), is married to a prince, and lives a charmed life with three beautiful children. She is the picture-perfect embodiment of elegance and sophistication. Though she will never want for anything, all this royal prestige does not come without a price.
Before she was married to Prince William and was just another college girl at St. Andrew's University, she was seen rocking short shorts and spaghetti-strapped tank tops. Now that Kate Middleton has become the Duchess of Cambridge and a vessel to birth royal children, none of that suggestive fashion will ever be allowed again.
The Royal Family has strict rules that they enforce on women when it comes to fashion. Whether she is pregnant or not, Kate Middleton must abide by the fashion rules of Kensington Palace. She is a favorite of Queen Elizabeth's because she is obedient to these rules and is rarely seen breaking them. In the rare times that she does, it goes overlooked because she abides by them at least 95% of the time.
Here are the 25 fashion rules that the Duchess cannot break.
25 Kate's Outfit Post-Birth Is Handpicked And Carefully Chosen
Unlike us commoners, royal women have to dress up and look amazing immediately after giving birth to pose for the public outside the hospital. This is why the postpartum outfit is carefully chosen because this is one of the big events that gets captured in royal history for generations to come.
When Kate presents their baby to the world, people will always remember what she was wearing.
In fact, many designers refer that for fashion inspiration when they design maternity clothes. Kate Middleton has made postpartum look way too chic because most women would rather dip out of the hospital in their sweats and pajamas. Princess Diana was iconic in her '80s fashion when she gave birth to Prince William. Kate must go straight from her hospital gown to her postpartum dress in a matter of minutes.
24 The Baby Must Wear A Christening Gown To The Baptism
Whether the baby is a boy or a girl, they have to wear a christening gown to their special baptism. The royal baby's christening gown is designed after the Victorian one worn by royal babies in past generations. Prince George's christening gown was designed by Angela Kelly, who is the personal assistant and dresser to the Queen. In 2004, she commissioned a replica of the Victorian original, which had been too fragile for any further use. Prior to that, they had literally been using the same one for hundreds of years. That is definitely one piece of clothing that you can't just run through the washing machine. The original Victorian gown had been worn by 62 royal babies during its entire lifespan. Talk about a timeless piece.
23 Regardless Of Pregnancy, Cleavage Is A Hard No
Revealing cleavage is a big no-no for the Royal Family, for obvious reasons. It is unladylike and it sends off the "wrong message," which makes you look improper and suggestive. There were a few times when Princess Diana broke this rule just to be rebellious and it raised many eyebrows. For the most part, she followed a trick to hide her cleavage. Princess Diana’s handbag designer, Anya Hindmarch, famously called her clutches “cleavage bags.”
"We used to laugh when we designed what she called her 'cleavage bags,' little satin clutches which she would cover her cleavage with when she stepped out of cars,” Hindmarch said in an interview with the Telegraph.
However, Kate Middleton has yet to be seen showing any cleavage, even in her pregnancies, so this is one of the rules that she never breaks.
22 Must Have Nude Pantyhose, Bare Legs Are Not Allowed
Kate has been caught here and there with bare legs, and so did Meghan Markle in her engagement announcement to Prince Harry. Though her legs look bare from a distance, Kate normally has pantyhose over them to give her some cover-up. She usually is seen sporting nude tights, which on par for etiquette and reasons permitting to the weather. For all Royal events, the Queen requires that her family members and guests all wear nude tights. It looks like the dress code applies not only to the Royal kin but anyone who rubs shoulders with them. This is a basic ladylike type of rule that will make you look more presentable for any formal occasion. This actually isn't a bad rule to follow for general formal affairs even outside the Royal Family.
21 Kate Must Never Wear Brighter Colors Than The Queen
Ever notice that Queen Elizabeth is always dressed in bright colors? No, this is not because she likes bright colors and wants to be the center of attention. She needs to stand out so that the public can recognize who she is. If she didn't, then she would just look like another little old lady walking down the streets of London. When she is wearing brightly-colored monochrome colors, she can easily be spotted in the crowd and her entourage will know where she is, in case they need to protect her. According to the Queen’s biographer, Robert Hardman, she was quoted as saying, "I can never wear beige because nobody will know who I am." In order to not compete with the Queen, women in the Royal Family must refrain from wearing brighter colors than her.
20 Only Closed-Toe Shoes Are Permitted (Even If Her Feet Are Swollen)
Closed-toe shoes are a must for royal women and their toes can never be exposed. Closed-toe shoes are more elegant and give an air of sophistication. Sandals and open-toed shoes are too casual for the Royal Family. You might see them wear them when they are on vacation, but that is far away from the public eye. People rarely see Kate Middleton without a pair of closed-toe heels on.
Even though she stands at '5"10 without heels, she is rarely seen not wearing closed-toe high heel shoes.
People must be in shock when they find out how tall she really is in real life when they meet her for the first time. Since the rest of her fashion sense is sophisticated, open-toed shoes just wouldn't go with the style choices.
19 Kate Middleton And The Queen Must Wear A Hat To Daytime Events
At formal hats, hats are expected for women. In the past, female royal family members could not even leave the palace without wearing some sort of headpiece, but those rules have changed since then. For royal affairs like weddings, Ascot and church ceremonies, you cannot get away with not wearing a headpiece.
Diana Mather, a senior tutor for The English Manner etiquette consultancy, told the BBC last year the history behind the rule: "Up until the 1950's, ladies were very seldom seen without a hat as it was not considered 'the thing' for ladies to show their hair in public. But all that has changed and hats are now reserved for more formal occasions."
"The old rule is that hats are never worn indoors after 6 pm, because that is when the ladies changed into evening dress, and tiaras and the family jewels would come out," she added.
18 But She Must Take It Off After 7 pm
Though hats are customary for royal women during the day, they must change into their evening attire after the clock strikes 7. Hats are a daytime accessory to cover a woman's hair and to keep her vision out of the sunlight on a bright day.
There is a transition period when women change into their evening wear and sometimes, the hat gets swapped out by the tiara.
There are schedules of how to dress throughout the day if you are a royal. Daytime events are usually held outdoors and this is the time where wearing a hat is the most appropriate. When day turns into night, then the event is taken to an indoor venue and the hats must be removed before the Queen.
17 There Are Certain Outfit Colors To Choose From
There are certain rules that the Royals need to follow, even when it comes to the colors that they pick. First off, they can never wear black, unless it is for a funeral or some kind of day of mourning. Even though no one can wear brighter colors than the Queen when they are in her presence, they still have to go with colors that make them pop. Wearing certain color palettes are strategically chosen so that they stand out from the crowd. This is the once in a lifetime chance for someone to say that they saw a member of the Royal Family. Even though that sounds pretentious, the Royal Family are held in the highest regards so people need to know when they are around.
16 No Colored Nail Polish
For Royal women, colorful nail polish is not allowed. However, having a nice manicure with nude colored polish is encouraged. Many people would assume that with all the wealth that is afforded to be a royal, you have a glam squad experimenting with different looks.
Instead, the royal women have to keep it simple in certain regards.
Kate sticks to nude and pink shades, and Meghan has also followed in Kate's footsteps, ever since her relationship with Harry became public. Since only natural looking nails are allowed at Royal events, you will never see Kate sporting any red nails or long fabulous nails that the Kardashian-Jenners are huge fans of. The Queen has been wearing Essie's "Ballet Slippers" shade for over 28 years.
15 Royals Are Rarely Allowed To Wear Jeans
There are some photos of Kate that show her wearing jeans, but those are mostly during her St. Andrews days before she was officially married to Prince William. These were the early 2000's days when you could see her walking down the street in lace strapped tank tops and low-rise jeans. Those were Kate's college glory days, but she now has to class it up and put those days behind her. Generally, Royal women must avoid wearing jeans if they can. But if they do wear them, it has to be in a style that blends well with their "smart casual" protocol. In the pic below, you see her wearing a pair of skinny jeans that are form-fitted and go well with her blazer. She is also breaking the "no wedge" rule here.
14 Married Women Must Wear Tiaras At Formal Events
Tiaras are worn on special occasions and white-tie affairs even for the Royal family. They are only reserved for the fanciest of events, and Royals have to hold out on their turn to wear those. Traditionally, they are worn for the first time for brides of the Royal Family and can only be worn by married women. Therefore, you will never see a single, 20-something years old princess wearing one of these beauties at a Royal affair, as the stereotype must suggest otherwise. The reason for this dates back to old tradition.
A tiara signals that a woman is married and is therefore off limits.
If someone is seen without one at one of these Royal events, that means that she is available. "For married ladies, it was a sign of status and would show you were taken and not looking for a husband," etiquette expert Grant Harrold, known as the Royal Butler, shared with the BBC. "For the gentleman, it was a clear sign not to make advances toward the lady in question."
13 Kate Must Always Have A Black Outfit Handy
This is one of the most morbid rules of dress code that the Royal Family has to follow. When Royals are traveling abroad, they must always have a black outfit with them handy, in case they get news that a royal family member has died. This must be the depressing segment of the Royal excitement of a new adventure, but this is, nevertheless, a practical move. This means that they would have to immediately travel back to the UK and be ready to attend a funeral ASAP.
This rule came from a bad experience with the then-Princess Elizabeth, in 1952. She and her husband, Phillip were traveling in Kenya when she got news of her father's death. She didn't bring a black change of clothes and had to wait inside the plane for it to be delivered before coming off the plane.
12 Skirts Must have A Knee-Length Hemline
Kate Middleton is known for her conservative and conformist persona, which makes her a darling for the Royal Family. This is why she opts for knee-length hemlined dresses. Her conventional choices of dresses and skirts comprise perfect hemlines so that the wind can not cause a wardrobe malfunction.
You will never find Kate in any kind of miniskirt, especially not in her pregnancy days.
When she is pregnant, she is seen wearing dresses that are less form-fitting than her normal style. The length of the hemline often falls just above the knee and no shorter than that. Though she has nice, long legs, she is not allowed to ever show them off like a normal commoner would. This is just a small price that you have to pay for being a Royal.
11 Kate Must Never Wear Wedges In Front Of The Queen
Kate obviously has a rebellious side because she has been seen out in public wearing wedges, but never in the presence of the Queen. For some reason, Queen Elizabeth dislikes the trend so that means no members of the Royal Family are allowed to wear wedges in her presence.
"The Queen isn't a fan of wedged shoes. She really doesn't like them and it's well known among the women in the family," a Royal source told Vanity Fair.
It makes sense that the Queen would ban any kind of suggestive looking clothing attire (like the no revealing cleavage), but this is a strange trend to be offended by. Maybe the Queen had a bad experience with someone wearing wedges in front of her or maybe she just doesn't find it flattering. In any case, whatever the Queen says goes.
10 She Must Never Take Her Coat Off In Public
When Kate Middleton is on a Royal Tour, she cannot remove her coat in public because it is deemed unladylike. Perhaps this is a way to keep the women covered up, not to expose any parts of their body for as long as possible. Even when she is indoors, and it looks rather uncomfortable to have all those layers of clothing on, she still cannot remove the coat unless she is away from the cameras. Even if she is wearing a Royal-appropriate dress underneath, it is against the Royal rules because it disrupts the outfit choice. This seems unfair if the weather changes or if the heat is turned up when she is indoors. This might look strange if she is traveling to hotter climates around the world and someone offers to politely take her coat.
9 Kate Must Use Clutches To Get Out Of Awkward Touching
Royal women are usually seen carrying clutches, wearing gloves, or holding a bouquet of flowers in hand. Why? Because it is important that they always have something to do with their hands. This ensures that they do not look awkward in public or in pictures.
It also discourages people from reaching out to shake their hands, which is a big Royal no-no for commoners.
This clever trick is so that Kate can get out of handshakes. Usually, she is seen carrying the clutch in both hands for that body language signal to communicate "don't touch me." This is why Meghan Markle's shoulder strap or top handle clutches are traditionally against Royal protocol. In time, Meghan will most likely catch up with this tradition and Kate will set the example for her.
8 There Are Rules For Casual Wear
So, there is casual wear that the common folk wears meaning it can be pretty much whatever makes them comfortable. Then there is the "smart casual" wear that the Royals have to abide by. Yes, even when you are running out to get groceries, there is still a dress code that the Royals have to follow. Just because an event isn't informal, doesn't mean that you shouldn't make any kind of effort. You still need to look polished and presentable because you never know when the paparazzi might be lurking around the corner. Normally when they are not sure, they dress up better than they think they should. This means that if they are overdressed, they can adjust their outfit at the last minute. For the women, this means switching out heels for flats, taking off dressy jewelry or putting on a cardigan rather than a coat.
7 If You Wear Gloves, There Are Rules To Don Them
In the past, it was a requirement for Royal family members to wear gloves, but that rule has become laxer throughout the years. The Queen will never be caught out in public without wearing her gloves, but the Royal women can use clutches in lieu of gloves.
Though gloves are seen as a fashion item, they are meant to stop the germs from person to person as well.
Since Kate Middleton and the Queen are seen out and about shaking hands with hundreds of different people, they protect the Royals from catching bacteria. Crisp white gloves or dark colored gloves to match your handbag are the two options generally. Long opera gloves are required for formal evening events such as state banquets, and events hosted by world leaders.
6 Women Must Avoid Wearing Trousers If Possible
This Royal rule isn't as much enforced because it is the year 2018, and women are allowed to wear pants these days. This rule is most likely dated back to the Victorian times where women were only seen in skirts at all times. Kate has been seen numerous times in sporty casual wear (that still looks chic and classy AF by the way), but she has only been seen wearing trousers twice. Mind you, she has been seen wearing jeans, but trousers are different. The few times that she has been caught wearing trousers (like in this above picture for example), they have been from The Gap or J. Crew. You have to admire a Royal who shops at the same stores that "commoners" shop at.
5 Kate Can Not Mix Colors Up Too Much
Members of the Royal Family must choose a color that is befitting for the occasion or to honor the foreign nation that they are visiting. For example, the Queen wore a jade outfit on her 2011 trip to Ireland and Kate wore red on her trip to Canada.
For more somber days, like Remembrance day and funerals, black is customary.
Also, there is a strict rule against wearing any bright in-your-face colors when you are in the presence of the Queen. It is the Queen who must stand out the most and wearing any brighter colors than she is a no-no. Color palettes for Royals are in shades that are either deep, muted, pastel or more subtle. You simply cannot outshine the Queen. Period.
4 Hats Can Not Be Too Large
Though it is customary for women to wear hats, there are still rules and limits to what kind of hats you can wear. Kate seems to love a good hat and matching hats to her outfits. When a Royal woman does wear a hat, it must not obscure her face and never be too large. If the hat is too big, then it could prevent you from entering and exiting doors, and get from point A to point B. Plus, you want to make some room to show off that blow-out hairdos of hers. Kate is the master of wearing hats and she can pull off wearing her hair down without the hat is too much of a distraction. For some reason, hats are a huge thing across the pond, but you would never see that here in America.
3 Hair Must Never Be Out Of Place, Use A Hairnet If Possible
Kate Middleton is the fashion icon of what is proper in a well-to-do British culture. This means that during events where they are out and about, hair must not look out of place or too messy. Since the hats are intended to cover a woman's hair, the addendum to this rule is to have your hair in a hairnet or done in a way that it won't get disheveled.
Having that immaculately styled up-dos to just come undone wouldn't look very Royal.
When her hair is in buns and braids, she is practical enough to keep it in a hairnet. You don't really notice it unless it's up close but still, that is pretty clever, so you have to give her props for that. Talk about polished to perfection.
2 Heels Can Never Be Too High
Though Kate has a tall stature at '5"10, you rarely ever see her caught without heels. Every now and again, you will see her in some stylish flats, when she is out and about doing her own business or partaking in some physical activity, but never at a Royal event. No matter how tall she is, a good pair of heels is a must for all Royal women. There is a limit, however, on how tall the heels can be. The heels that she wears can be no higher than six inches, which isn't a difficult rule to follow, seeing as though most high heels are three inches. This is to ensure that she is stable and not teetering around to the point where it's hard for her to walk for extended periods of time.
1 Every Royal Bouquet At Weddings Must Contain Myrtle
There is a special meaning behind the Royal bouquet of flowers and that is romantic. Every Royal bride, since Queen Victoria, has played along with this tradition and Kate was certainly no exception. The spring of myrtle, in the wedding bouquet, represents the emblem of love and marriage.
Tracing back to past generations, each sprig of myrtle comes from the Queen Victoria's 170-year-old garden.
When you talk about the bride wearing something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue...this could very well be the "old" part of that mantra. Unlike the massive, cascading bouquet that Princess Diana carried on her wedding day, Kate Middleton kept hers simple and understated. The arrangement was wired together for a more structured look. White was a more conventional choice for the wedding bouquet.