Being a member of the British royal family is no easy task. Sure, you get to have your hair done weekly and you get dressed by the most famous designers. You get to live in a beautiful castle, fly all over the world, meet cool celebrities, and go to the greatest parties. Everytime you walk outside someone wants your picture and to hand you a bouquet of flowers. You get to spend your time visiting charities and taking up hobbies like gardening or playing with your puppies. Wait, why did we think this was a hard life again?
So while the royals might not exactly have it bad, they do have to live their lives within a pretty rigid box. There are rules that must be obeyed if you’re part of the royal family. You are in the public spotlight from the moment you’re born. Remember how many news outlets camped out in front of the hospital when Kate was giving birth to George? If you’re royal, your life is not really your own. And on top of the media presence, you have these 15 slightly absurd rules that you have to follow. Or else it’ll be off with your head! Oh wait, wrong queen…
15. When The Queen Stands, You Stand
Take a hint from the Obamas – when the Queen is standing, you’re standing. See that chair behind them? Notice how no one is sitting in it? That’s because Queen Elizabeth is standing tall. And if the 90 year old monarch can stay standing, so can you. But this rule applies for more than just meet and greets when most of the room is standing anyway. This rule is especially important if you’re ever invited to dine with the royals. If the Queen is standing by the dinner table in front of her seat, you better be standing too. You don’t dare let your butt graze your seat until Queen Elizabeth is firmly planted. You take all of your sitting and standing cues from her. And if she’s not hosting, you take your cues from whichever royal is at the helm. The only exception to this rule would be if a royal stood up during dinner to make a speech. You don’t want to stand up with them then or it’ll look like you’re going to make a speech too.
14. The Queen Doesn’t Need To Have A Driver’s License Or Passport
Okay, this might be a little bit alarming. But the Queen is not required to hold a driver’s license or a passport. How is that safe? Sure, she might not need ID since she’s the freaking Queen of England, but shouldn’t someone be assessing her ability to drive? Just because you’re the queen doesn’t mean you know how to handle a Range Rover. Luckily, it seems as if the Queen likes to keep her driving adventures few and far between. Plus, she only ever seems to drive when she’s out in the country. You’re not going to catch Queen E zipping around London in a sports car anytime soon. And why would you drive when you can always have someone drive you around? We would never sit up front and have to worry about traffic, controlling the radio, and checking out blindspot when we could just sit pretty in the back.
13. Touching Is Frowned Upon
Lebron James, you may be the king of the court but you are looking like a royal fool in this photo. You don’t touch Kate Middleton! No Lebron, this isn’t just another meet and greet with one of your basketball fans. These are the future monarchs of England. They are royalty! You don’t just throw an arm around the Duchess of Cambridge! You can tell that Kate is a little thrown off by it. Sure, she’s maintaining her composure, because she’s a royal now. But there’s a bit of tension there. You’re really not supposed to touch the royals, especially in a photo opp situation. You’re lucky enough to be in their presence; don’t think you can just reach in for a hug or throw an arm over their shoulder like you’re besties. You didn’t see anyone else doing this, did you Lebron? Clearly it’s just not how it’s done!
12. When The Queen Stops Eating, You Stop Eating
The Queen has a lot of control at the dinner table. When she stands, you stand. And when she stops eating, you stop eating. This rule began centuries ago with the British monarchy. Modern news tells us the rule isn’t as strictly followed anymore. But back in the day, the meal was effectively over once the reigning monarch had their last bite. And of course, the Queen is served first, so she has a head start! That’s hardly fair. It was especially bad during Queen Victoria’s reign. Queen Victoria was an extremely fast eater – she could finish seven courses in under 30 minutes. Guests barely got a chance to look at their plates before they were cleared. And if you were the last person at the table to be served, you were pretty much going to starve all night. Luckily the rule has softened over the years and Queen Elizabeth isn’t nearly as fast an eater as her ancestor once was.
11. A Curtsy Or Bow Is Encouraged
It’s no great shock to see a picture of a celebrity, like Uma Thurman above, or a foreign dignitary bowing or curtsying in front of the Queen of England. But is it really required? According to the British Monarchy website, curtsies and bows aren’t technically required when meeting the Queen. The website says, “There are no obligatory codes of behavior when meeting The Queen or a member of the Royal Family.” Sweet! So we can come in with a high five or fist bump when we meet Her Majesty? Well, not exactly. The website then goes on to say, “However many people wish to observe the traditional forms. For men, this is a neck bow (from the head only) whilst women do a small curtsy.” So we don’t have to, but you really want us to, right? We got the message. And remember that you’re never allowed to turn your back to the Queen so don’t let her catch you in a backward bow.
10. Royals Get A New Name
Who is in this picture? If you answered Prince William and Kate Middleton, you would be wrong. And if you said “Princess Kate” that would also be wrong. She may have been called Kate Middleton all her life and in the media, but after putting a ring on it, that was no longer her official title. Kate Middleton is officially Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. So is she a princess? Yes, but she isn’t Princess Kate since she’s not of royal blood. Her princess title is Her Royal Highness the Princess William of Wales. But since that’s a mouthful, the couple go by the super casual and down to earth titles, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. And if you ever meet them in person, you first address them as “Your Royal Highness” followed by “Sir” or “Ma’am” for subsequent conversations. Pretty sure we’re going to stick to Kate and Wills until we get to meet them in person.
9. Royals Don’t Vote Or Run For Office
Who would’ve thought the royals would be so flip about their democratic right to vote. Well, it turns out that this rule is rooted in history and had a good reason for coming into effect. See, the royal family is technically allowed to vote. They can legally head to a poll and cast a vote for whichever party they’d like. But they choose to opt out. And not because they’re too lazy to register or think voting is a waste of time. But their votes would be considered unconstitutional. The royal family has an intensely public image and they need to be able to identify with all sections of British society, regardless of party leaning. Plus, back in the day, the royal family had very close ties with the government. It would look pretty bad to see the Queen casting votes for someone she works with and has power over. This is also the reason that the royal family doesn’t run for public office – it would be a huge conflict of interest and misuse of power.
8. Royals Don’t Play Monopoly
About 10 years ago, Prince Andre Duke of York outlawed the playing of Monopoly at home with the royal family. Come again now? Prince Andre explained that the game simply got too vicious. Now, this is one rule we can get behind. In fact, we think many families could benefit from a rule like this around the house. Monopoly is a vicious game for sure. There are bankruptcies, mortgages, under the table deals, overdue rent, and time spent in jail. The game and its players are ruthless. And it can go on for hours! The endurance required to get through Monopoly can really bring out the worst in people. And with all of those little houses and hotels all over the board, it’s almost too easy to let your rage out and angrily flip the board into the air while you watch the pieces fall. Let’s make sure no one tells the royal family about Risk. If they thought Monopoly was bad, Risk is so much worse. It would be a country divided after a serious game of Risk.
7. The Queen Must Talk To The Person On Her Right
If you’re lucky enough to be invited to dine with the Queen and get seated directly to her right, make sure you have your talking points in order and a clear throat. Tradition dictates that the Queen must first make conversation with the person seated to her right, like Barack Obama above. During the first course of the meal, the Queen will turn to her right and expect you to hold her attention until the next course. That’s a lot of one on one with Her Majesty, so you better know what you’re going to say. For the second course, you’ll get a break – the Queen will then turn to her left and talk to that person. But she might come back to you on the next course, so you don’t get too much of a break. Remember to keep the conversation light with lots of small talk and pleasantries. Don’t ask anything personal or probing. In fact, maybe let Queen Elizabeth initiate the topic and go from there.
6. The Corgis Come First
The reigning British Monarch has long had a trusty group of pups running behind them as they pace the halls of Buckingham Palace. For Queen Elizabeth, it’s her beloved corgis and corgi crosses. She currently has four, Holly and Willow are the corgis and Candy and Vulcan are dorgis (dachshund-corgi mixes). And these are the most precious things in the world to Queen Elizabeth. So if you ever meet the Queen, it’s a good bet to pay a compliment to her pack of pooches. But make sure you do it from afar. The Queen doesn’t like anyone petting or playing with her pups except for her. So this will be a see no touch situation. Rumors from the palace also tell us that the dogs aren’t completely house trained and that most of the staff can’t stand them. The staff has to carry around blotting paper to take care of any accidents that the dogs might leave on the rugs. They also carry around little squirt water bottles to discourage the dogs from getting into any mischief such as biting ankles.
5. Dad And Son Can’t Fly Together
So here’s a shot of Prince William, Kate, George, and Charlotte getting off their plane during their visit last fall to Canada. However, there is a protocol in the British royal family that says no direct heirs shall travel together. That means that Prince William, future king, isn’t allowed to fly with George, another future king. So how come they flew to Canada together? Well, Kate and William are known for breaking the rules when it comes to monarchy protocol. George has flown with William to Australia and to Canada. But once George turns 12, the protocol will come into full effect. Now that’s going to be an awkward conversation for Kate and Will to have with George. “Hey buddy, yeah, you can’t come on this flight with us? Why? Well, if your dad dies, we’re going to need you to hold down the fort in old London town. Thanks, Georgie! We’ll see you when you get there!”
4. No Autographs
Did you even realize that this was a thing? The royals do not sign autographs. It is no surprise to see the likes of Kate and Will walking through crowds, shaking hands, and accepting flowers. But notice how they never have pens in their hands to scribble their John Hancocks on tabloids or posters? Yeah, it is just not a thing the royals do. Signing autographs is something that only celebrities do and the royals do not want to be thought of as celebrities (we totally get that). Also, a royal can only sign official documents. So not signing autographs is a way to keep the royals from having their signatures forged. The royals also are not allowed to pose for magazine covers or sell their photos. Of course, that does not stop the media from putting Kate, Will, Harry, and the little ones on every tabloid cover immediately.
3. No Eating Shellfish
An old rule in England states that the British royal family is never to be served shellfish. No shellfish? Rough life! How are the royals making it through without the delicious tastes of lobster, shrimp, oyster or scallop? That’s not a life worth living, if you ask us. Shellfish is delicious! It is so tasty! And there are so many good dishes that require shellfish. So why can’t the royals enjoy one of life’s greatest pleasures? Because shellfish can be susceptible to accidental poisoning in rare cases. It’s extremely rare – millions have been eating shellfish their whole lives without a problem. But the royals aren’t taking any chances. Going out on shellfish would be a pretty terrible way to go. But now that we know that this is part of the deal if you’re part of the royal family, we’re not sure we want to be royal. Give up shellfish in order to be a princess? We’ll have to think on that one.
2. Royal Babies Must Dress Like It’s 1950
All right, it is not so much a strict rule as it is just something all the royals happen to do. Look at this picture. It is a picture of Queen Elizabeth with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And when was it taken? Nope, not 1960. Guess again! Nope, not 1950. This was taken just last year in April of 2016. Yes, this is a modern photo of actual children in 2016. Look at their oufits! Take George: the toddler is in dress shorts, knee high socks, a collared shirt, and a cardigan. Who dresses like that? Seriously, who? Royals, that is who. Only royals can pull this off. All other boys George’s age are wearing pull on jeans and a onesie with some leftover lunch on it. But we kind of love this fashion throwback. We can’t wait to see what these cute kids wear next! We find them so adorable!
1. The Hierarchy Of The Curtsy
There is an official hierarchy of curtsies and bowing. It may appear as if those royals are just bowing and curtsying all the time to everyone but that’s not true. There is a very specific list of who you must curtsy to and when. And boy, does it get complicated. But you don’t want to mess up! Skipping out on a curtsy is like telling a grandma that her famous cookies taste like garbage. You could get immediately disowned. So let’s take Kate, for example. Kate always has to curtsy to the Queen. Obviously. But when she is with William, the other blood princesses, like Beatrice and Eugenie who are royal by blood, have to curtsy to Kate. However, if Kate is by herself without Will, she has to curtsy to Beatrice and Eugenie. And then there’s Harry, who will always have to bow to Kate, whether she’s with his brother or not. It all gets really confusing! If we ever become royal, we’re going to need a flowchart to sort it all out.