The Windsors are probably the most-watched family in the world. Legions of admirers follow their every move and are curious about the glamorous life that they lead. It may look like it’s all tiaras and travel from the outside looking in. While their lives are quite lavish, there are very strict etiquette guidelines that William and Kate are forced to adhere to. Many traditions have been in the family for decades and there are no signs they’ll be changing any time soon.
From the way that they hold their chin when they sit to how they eat a meal, nearly every move they make is dictated by Her Majesty. Some of the rules Will and Kate are required to follow are downright bonkers. Meals are planned and there are some items that are banned from the menu. Even what they wear has to be within guidelines set forth by the Queen.
There are subtle signals that they must watch out for as the placement of the Queen Elizabeth’s purse communicates her specific wishes. Nothing is off limits when it comes to the scope of power she has over the Royal Family. Please enjoy this list of 15 bizarre traditions Kate and William still follow today.
15 The Royal Family Is Forbidden From Playing Monopoly
Do you ever wonder what it would be like to sit down and play a classic board game with the Royal Family? A bizarre rule from within the palace gives commoners a bit of insight into just how competitive things can get when Royals play Monopoly. According to Business Insider, Queen Elizabeth has banished the game from Kensington Palace.
It was reported that In 2008, the Leeds Building Society gave Prince Andrew (the Duke of York and Queen Elizabeth's third child) the game as a gift, but he responded, "We're not allowed to play Monopoly at home. It gets too vicious." So, it looks like William and Kate won’t be including any cutthroat games with their little ones thanks to this strange but true Royal rule.
14 No One Is Allowed To Eat Shellfish
Queen Elizabeth is one of those women who certainly doesn’t want to leave anything to chance, especially when it comes to food poisoning. The family has very strict dietary rules that are designed the keep everyone healthy and happy. According to the BBC, “The Royal entourage likes progress to run smoothly, free from the disruptions of gastronomic indisposition. Hence the ban on shellfish, rare meat, foreign water and any food that is too spicy or exotic”
Who can blame the Queen for wanting to avoid a nasty tummy episode? Although, Prince Charles has been known to enjoy eating Oysters now and again so this might be one of those rules that end up being broken sometimes. William and Kate may secretly indulge in eating shellfish but it is not something that they would probably be seen doing in the palace.
13 The Queen's Purse Actually Signals Certain Things...
Everyone in Kensington Palace keeps a watchful eye on the Queen’s handbag because she often uses the position of her purse to communicate with guests and staff at meals and events. According to Hello Magazine, Kate and William must remain at the dinner table until the Queen decides it is time to go. I’m sure that when the meal winds down, all eyes are on her purse.
If Queen Elizabeth places her handbag on the table, that is her signal that she will be ready to leave in 5 minutes. If she places it on the floor, the staff is signaled to speak to a guest or move them along from a conversation. These subtle signals are an integral part of life in the palace and are yet another bizarre ritual that Kate and William must follow.
12 Public Displays Of Affection Must Be Limited
William and Kate are obviously in love with each other but the Royal couple is rarely seen holding hands or being affectionate in public. They have been known to be playful now and again, but for the most part, they hardly even touch one another while they are in public, especially if they on a trip abroad.
People Magazine spoke with Myka Meiere, a Royal etiquette expert, and she gave some insight into the public persona of Royal couples. “There is no actual etiquette or Royal protocol that says the couple must refrain from PDA.” Meire said. “The likely reasoning is more that while traveling on a tour such as the India trip, technically the couple are working representatives of British Monarchy,” she continues. “The couple is likely to show very little PDA, if any, to remain professional during their designated roles abroad.”
11 Kate And William Aren't Allowed To Give Out Autographs
If fans approach the Duchess of Cambridge and ask for an autograph, Kate will politely turn them down. It’s not because she’s anti-social but because the Royal Family has been banned from handing out their signature. She’s not the only Royal that is required to refuse signing an autograph, even Her Majesty has to follow the long-standing rule, which was implemented to avoid forgery of their signatures.
In Style discussed the ban and even offered a tip for anyone who has a personal encounter with Kate and William. “As for the monarchy's younger generation, William, Harry, and Kate are some of the friendliest Royals of our time, interacting with admirers at their slew of international events, so here's a pro tip for you: ask for a selfie instead of an autograph. There's no protocol that dissuades a good old-fashioned photo.” The insider said.
10 They Must Always Pack A Black Outfit When Traveling
There are many fashion rules that Kate and William have to follow. One of them requires the Royal couple to pack a black outfit whenever they travel. This was put in place so that they will always have proper mourning attire should a member of the family die while they are away. This may seem morbid but this rule actually has practical roots.
According to The Independent, there was an incident in 1952 when the Queen traveled to Kenya with Prince Philip. Her father, George VI passed away and a black dress had not been packed so she was forced to return to the UK in clothes not suitable for mourning. The monarch had to wait on the plane while a black outfit was fetched for her.
9 They Must Accept Every Gift With A Smile
William and Kate are required to accept any gift given to them graciously. The truth is, there is a rule stating that all presents belong to the Queen and she is the one who determines what gifts will be kept and how they will be distributed. It is also understood that all members of the Royal Family are to receive every gift with a pleasant smile, no matter how strange or weird it may be.
According to Megan Gibson of Time Magazine, “The most bizarre gifts the Queen has been given over the years include live animals; several horses, a canary from Germany, jaguars and sloths from Brazil, two black beavers from Canada, two young giant turtles from the Seychelles and an elephant called Jumbo from the Cameroon.”
8 Cutesy Nicknames Are A Big No-No
The world was left guessing what William and Kate would name their third baby before the official name was announced. One thing was always for certain, he would be called by his formal name and not a cutesy nickname. It is a rule that the public addresses the Royal family by their name. Kate’s official name is Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Although, she is mostly referred to as Kate Middleton.
According to Southern Living, the monarchs do have personal nicknames for one another but the public should never refer to them in that way. It’s fun to learn the pet names they are called behind the scenes. Queen Elizabeth is sometimes called “Lilibet”, which was a term of endearment from her childhood. Prince Harry is also known as “Spike”. Prince George calls the Queen, “Gan Gan”.
7 Kate's Wardrobe Is Carefully Selected...
Kate has a very strict dress code and must appear polished at all times. This means that she must look modest and keep herself very much covered up. Shortly after Kate married Prince William and became Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Queen Elizabeth stepped in to make sure that the new Royal was dressed properly. An incident at Calgary airport in Canada in 2011 might have prompted the overhaul. A gust of wind blew the skirt of the Duchess’s short yellow dress and flashed her underwear.
According to Britain’s Mail on Sunday, Her Majesty demanded that Kate stop wearing short skirts and opt for a longer hemline. “The frilled, girlish frocks she likes have been outlawed in case they detract from the newly grown-up image she needs to project and also to prevent any wardrobe malfunctions.” The insider wrote.
6 There's Only One Right Way To Sip Tea
The Royal Family loves their tea time and daily have “afternoon tea”. This means that it is required of Kate to know how to handle herself and be aware of exactly how to hold her cup. There is an expected way to do these things and she must be well-versed in tea time. People magazine spoke with Myka Meiere, a Royal etiquette expert, about the proper way to hold a teacup.
Meire advises, “Pinching the top of the handle with your thumb and index finger, with your middle finger supporting the bottom of the handle.” She explained. “The handle of the cup should always be kept at 3 o’clock and you should try to take a sip from the same spot to avoid getting lipstick stains around the rim.”
5 They Are Not Allowed To Eat Garlic
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Queen Elizabeth, it’s that she has very particular rules when it comes to what the Royal family eats. We already know that she discourages everyone from eating shellfish to avoid food poisoning but another cooking staple has been outlawed as well. Her Majesty refuses to have garlic in any of their meals.
Carolyn Robb was a chef at Kensington Palace for many years and she chatted with Racked about her time cooking for the monarchs. She was asked if there anything she was ever told not to make,“The only thing that was forbidden was garlic.” she replied. “And the reason for that was that they obviously did a lot of public engagements and were in close proximity to people and never wanted to have garlic.”
4 They Have To Sit The Correct Way
Kate is also expected to always sit like a lady, especially when posing for photographs. She must appear put together and modest at all times. Therefore, she is required to sit with her knees together and her legs slanted to the side. She’s mastered the pose so well that it has become known as the “Duchess slant.”
“Typically ‘the Duchess Slant’ is used when a lady has to sit for an extended amount of time while keeping poise and posture,” Myka Meier, Royal etiquette expert, told People. “It is the perfect pose for when a camera is shooting directly in front of you because by slightly slanting the knees to create a zig-zag effect when wearing a dress or skirt, your legs are angled so that the camera only shoots the sides of your legs and protects your modesty.”
3 Proper Chin Placement Is Crucial
The Royal women are expected to look composed at all times. The Queen even has strict rules in place when it comes to body posture. In an effort to appear regal at all time, the monarchs are required to be very aware of where they hold their chins. You’ll never see the Royal Family slouching or looking grim. As a matter of fact, there are even guidelines about how they descend down a staircase.
According to Good Housekeeping, they are instructed to walk downstairs with their chins parallel to the ground and their hands at their sides. They're also required to always pose with their chins in the same parallel position. The chin rule applies to handshakes and how they should be postured while sitting as well.
2 Napkins Must Be Folded In Half After Use
There are also very specific rules when it comes to dining with the Royal Family. Kate must adhere to traditional etiquette and one thing she has to be aware of is napkin placement. According to the House Beautiful article 10 Etiquette Lessons We’ve Learned From The Royals, Kate and other Royals are required to wait to place their napkins in their laps until the hostess does it first.
If at any point during the mean, they need to clean their mouth or hands, they must wipe inside the fold so that they don’t mess up any of their clothes. Just because you’re a princess doesn’t mean that anyone wants to have to look at your soiled napkin. It's much more prim and proper to keep that mess covered up and appear flawless.
1 Christmas With The Queen Is Mandatory
It’s no secret that Queen Elizabeth loves Christmas and it has been a family tradition that entire Royal family spends Christmas day at Sandringham House in Norfolk, England. Her Majesty makes attendance mandatory and according to Best Life, there are many activities that the family must participate in.
There is a Christmas Eve tea followed by a charity soccer game played by family members and staff. The Royals then gather in the Red Drawing room where they exchange gag gifts. They wake up Christmas morning and attend two church services before having a formal Christmas meal with a French menu. Although, the Queen did bend the rules and permit Kate and William to spend their first holiday as a family of four at their home in Anmer Hall.
References: businessinsider.com, bbc.co.uk, housebeautiful.com, hellomagazine.com, bestlifeonline.com, people.com, instyle.com, indy100.com, time.com, southernliving.com, dailymail.co.uk, racked.com, goodhousekeeping.com