We have such a love affair with the royal family – especially Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (better known to American media as her incorrect title, “Princess Kate”). Her style, grace, and way of doing things has certainly captured our attention and captivated our hearts the world over. She has a knack for forging her own path and will strongly assert her decisions. Of course, this hasn’t gone unnoticed by the rest of the royal family – as it would turn out, there are a lot of rules that the royal family must follow, and Kate has seemingly gone out of her way to break the majority of them. She wouldn’t be the first, thought – there’s plenty of royal family members that haven’t played by the rules, and as time goes on, those rules seem to become more and more lax. Still, the rules are there, and as far as they (and we) know, they must follow them. Here’s a list of some rules that the royals (including Kate) have to follow – we’ll make note if any have been broken by rebel royals before.
15. They Cannot Be Addressed By Anything Other Than Their Name
Kate? Wills? Charlie? Cam? Liz? Phil? Nope. Nuh-uh. None of that. One of the definitive rules of royalty is that they can’t be addressed by any nicknames or other names that denote informality. Calling the queen “Lizzie” is stupid informal, right? But even calling Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge by her more well-known nickname of “Kate” is now totally out. Safer alternatives when addressing the royals are “Ma’am”, “Sir”, and, in Kate’s case, “Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn and Lady Carrickfergus”, or “Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge” for short (in this case, it’s okay). For Queen Elizabeth? It depends on where you are in the empire. For the Brits, her full title is “Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith”. If you can’t remember that mouthful, try “Your Majesty” or “Ma’am”. That will suffice!
14. They Cannot Vote
This one does and doesn’t make sense, right? On the one hand, the royal family lives in the UK and are governed by the laws of the land (and have been ever since they switched over to a constitutional monarchy in 1689), but on the other hand, they’re still regarded as the most powerful figureheads in the entire country and probably shouldn’t weigh in on these sorts of things. To vote for one party could unfairly sway public opinion or send a message that they don’t intend to send. The royal family should aim to sit above public matters such as these and, instead, show impartiality. Just imagine the uproar should a royal vote for someone to be prime minister, then another person wins instead! And what if the royals were split on who to vote for? Talk about scandalous!
13. They Cannot Hold A Political Office
This one also makes a lot of sense, considering they…well, kind of hold the highest standing anyway, right? But more importantly than that, this rule is to safeguard against any monarch using their influence to sway political opinion or laws. If Prince William, for example, held an office with any amount of power, the fear is that he could use that for personal gain or the gain of his family/friends. What if he wanted to pass a certain law, and others in parliament felt they had to go with it simply because of his royal background? Not to say that he doesn’t have good character, it’s just that this sort of thing was rampant back in the olden days of English monarchy, and these laws are simply in place to make sure there isn’t a return to that (don’t worry, Wills – we trust you!).
12. They Cannot Play Monopoly
Even the royal family isn’t immune from the ills of Monopoly! When Prince Andrew, Duke of York (Prince Charles’s brother and Queen Elizabeth’s third child) was making a public appearance in 2008, he was gifted the notorious home wrecking board game to mark the visit. Upon being gifted, he quipped “We’re not allowed to play Monopoly at home. It gets too vicious.” Prince Andrew was 48 years old at the time of this comment, meaning that “not being allowed” to do something sounds like it’s legitimately a rule, as a grown man would typically be allowed to do trivial things of this nature should he please. Perhaps there have been too many royal rows over Mayfair (that’s Park Place for us Yanks)? And just who gets vicious? Is the Queen a sore loser? Now that’s something we’d love to see!
11. They Cannot Eat Shellfish
Whoops! Guess Prince Charles didn’t get the memo? Every now and again one of the royals will be photographed eating oysters, crabs, and other shellfish varieties. So if this is a rule, how come some of them royal family members are breaking it? Do they feel shellfish are just too delicious to pass up? Actually, this rule is an archaic one that is not so much a “rule” as it is a general health guideline. Back before science could explain allergies and food poisoning, it was advised that the royal family abstain from shellfish to avoid dying from the aforementioned ailments. Nowadays it’s more of a personal preference – for example, Prince Charles clearly enjoys a good oyster on occasion while Queen Elizabeth avoids the foods altogether. No word on whether or not the tradition will continue on with future generations!
10. They Cannot Be Touched By Non-Royals
Uh-oh, Lebron! Hands off…or not? Again, more of a general guideline than a rule…and one that is broken often. Sometimes famous people, like Lebron James, meet with the royals and can’t help but pose for photos like they would with their fans of more “commoner-like” backgrounds. As such, you’ll often find a celebrity with their hand on a royal’s shoulder or around their waist as a sign of closeness – something the royal family shouldn’t be giving! Judging by Kate and Wills’s reaction, they weren’t really expecting this, but went along with it anyway (because, like a good English royal, they didn’t make a fuss or cause a scene). Spokespeople from the palace have confirmed that James didn’t break protocol, but that doesn’t mean that you can run up to the Queen and give her a bear hug. Just, be cool, okay?
9. They Cannot Be Roman Catholic
Another one of those old, archaic laws, but it’s still on the books! It used to be that the monarch couldn’t be nor marry a Roman Catholic, but as of 2011, that rule changed. Now the royal family can marry a person of any faith, although they themselves must still be in communion with the Church of England. “After all,” said David Cameron, then-Prime Minister, “they are already quite free to marry someone of any other faith.” The law had remained unchanged for over 300 years since the passing of the Act of Settlement in 1701. The act was put in place to prevent the Catholic King James II and his descendants from ascending the throne waaaay back in 1688 during the time of the Glorious Revolution. With that threat clearly avoided, the change in law has been praised as progressive.
8. They Must Keep At Least 6 Ravens At The Tower Of London
“If the ravens leave the Tower, the kingdom will fall…” So says the legend regarding the minimum of six residing ravens at the Tower of London. Some accounts say that this legend began as far back as King Charles II reign, although others argue it holds more modern roots from the 1940s. Whenever the legend started doesn’t really matter – at the end of the day, the ravens are there to stay, lest crown and kingdom come undone. They take this matter very seriously; in 2013, two of the eight ravens that lived on the premises were killed by foxes. Luckily, they still had six ravens on the grounds, but that was definitely too close for comfort! They have since upped the number of ravens to remain well above the minimum count, but that certainly caused some commotion on that day!
7. They Have An Order Of Precedence For Seating Arrangements, Processionals, Etc.
Did you ever think that seating arrangements at school or formal functions like weddings were strict? We think the royal family can top that! Whenever there’s a procession, such as a wedding, the royal family must enter in a very specific order with the reigning monarch (in this case, Queen Elizabeth II) leading the way. Then follows the Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip), the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall (Prince Charles and Camilla), the Prince of Cambridge and the Duchess of Cambridge (Prince William and Kate)…you get the idea. Basically they go by “whoever’s next in line to the throne” sort of deal. These are very, very strict rules that must be followed at all costs – of all the rules to make it on this list, this is the one that they rarely, if ever, deviate from!
6. They Cannot Eat After The Queen Has Finished Eating
This rule is actually pretty all-encompassing – it’s basically monkey see, monkey do. Queen sits? You sit. Queen stands? You stand. Queen eats? You eat. Queen stops? You stop. Queen burps? You…well, actually, we don’t know what happens in that case. At any rate, doing as the queen does shows that you are paying full attention and due respect to Her Royal Highness (and aren’t caught with a mouthful of food at an inappropriate time). This isn’t something that just commoners would have to follow should they find themselves amidst royalty – from Prince Philip down the line, all royals have to follow suit (although we’re pretty sure they’re letting George and Charlotte slide for now). If you ever find yourself at dinner with the queen, we hope you’re a fast eater – because once she’s done, you’re done (and that royal food looks too delicious to leave on a plate)!
5. They Cannot Wear Fur
Wow, what is it with all these rebellious royals breaking all these weird rules that they set for themselves? In 1137, Edward III decreed that literally no one, including the royal family and men of the church, could wear fur. Some 900 years later this rule doesn’t seem to be in full force, as Camilla isn’t the only one to have broken this regal rule. Even the Queen herself wears fur on various occasions. Perhaps it would be best to reinstate this rule, however, as the royal family tends to stir up controversy whenever they wear their furs. Animal activists are often angered whenever they see fur in general, and fur on a member of the royal family seems to send a very powerful message that basically says “fur is not only okay to wear, but luxurious and fit for royalty”.
4. Their Clothing Cannot Send Ambiguous Statements
Wait, is that Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, wearing lingerie in public?! *GASP* Don’t worry – Kate wore this sheer little number before she married into the royal family. Nowadays she’s wearing more subdued yet classy outfits that serve as a style guide for anyone who wants to be sophisticated yet chic. This style makeover wasn’t optional – the royal family is looked up to in many regards, and fashion is certainly one of them. As such, their sense of style must be fashionable and elegant without sending any ambiguous messages. Their outfits must also be modest and appropriate for the circumstance. The Queen prefers to wear an entire block of color from head to toe, whereas Kate switches it up a bit with patterns and blazers. Both pull off their style with the grace and poise that a royal should!
3. They Must Spend Christmas With Each Other
Being forced to spend Christmas with your family every single year for your entire life does sound a bit boring…unless your family is the royal family, of course. It’s tradition that the royal family spends Christmas together under one roof. This rule doesn’t seem like it’d be that big of a deal – after all, the royal family probably isn’t going to hang out with just anyone on an important holiday, and it’s not like they don’t have a house big enough for everyone. But this does appear to be a rule that’s been broken before – again by the rebel Kate Middleton, who likes to spend Christmas with her parents and siblings, Princes William and George and Princess Charlotte in tow. This reportedly didn’t sit well with the Queen the first time, so hopefully there’s no hard feelings this time around.
2. They Must Accept Gifts Graciously
It’s okay, Prince George is still very young and has a lot to learn, but one rule that he’ll need to remember when he gets older is to accept gifts graciously. This is true for all the members of the royal family, no matter what that gift might be. Gifts are usually fairly standard affairs, such as flowers or tokens of a symbolic gesture, but there have been some presents that were definitely ill-advised. such as live crocodiles gifted to Prince Andrew (they were eventually re-homed in the London Zoo – no worries!). The gifts all belong to the Crown, by the way, so anything that is given to Charles, Kate, or the rest actually belong to the reigning monarch. It’s up to Queen Elizabeth II to decide who gets to keep what, and selling or re-gifting any gifts is expressly forbidden. This is why it’s common to see a lot of Lady Diana’s jewelry on other members of the royal family – it didn’t necessarily belong to her in the first place, so the Queen can loan it out to other family members as she pleases.
1. Direct Heirs May Not Travel Long Distances Together
Again, definitely more of an archaic rule, but it sure did make sense when it was instated. Back in the day, travelling came with certain risks, such as accidents, robberies, illness, and even death. While all long-distance travel is a risk, modern technology continuously finds ways to make the trips less hazardous. Instead of travelling aboard a ship for several weeks or on a tin can in the sky, the royals now travel in absolute comfort, luxury, and safety, no matter what their choice of transportation. Nowadays it’s expected that royals travel together, such as when Kate, Wills, and the royal toddlers travel on tour. Still, this is a recent deviation from the norm, as Prince Charles did not have Baby William accompany him on such occasions. All in the name of making sure they don’t have to use that “spare heir”!
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