Britain's Own Elite: 15 Wardrobe Rules All Duchesses And Princesses Must Follow

Although all of us have dreamt about being a princess, it's apparently really hard work, especially when you're trying to impress the Queen of England. There are titles, there are things like Royal etiquette (think Mia's training in Princess Diaries), and you're even told what you are and aren't allowed to wear.

I know what you're thinking, princesses can wear a tiara 24 hours a day because it's their birth-right, but that's totally not true — some princesses aren't even allowed to wear tiaras! With Meghan Markle recently marrying into the Royal Family, we're taking a closer look at some wardrobe changes we might be seeing upon following the Queen's Royal wardrobe rules.

Meghan might be saying goodbye to controversial oversized tote bag from the Invictus Games and hello tiny clutches. (Like, how can a tote bag be controversial?)

Anyway, Meghan's style follows the lines of ripped jeans, button-ups, baseball caps, and ballet flats, but soon she'll be dressing more like a Royal. This she'll have to pass on stand-out colors, and stick to nudes and neutrals; nude and pale pink (strictly!) will override her signature moody dark nail polish. Read on below to find out if you could deal with these Royally strict wardrobe rules!

15 Wearing Black Is Still Frowned Upon, Except For When Mourning


Meghan Markle made headlines recently wearing black on a night out before becoming a Royal. Harry and Meghan attended a reception back in April and Meghan, according to InStyle, wore a "'Jackie O' Black Halo Dress...with an asymmetrical neckline, pairing it with a small black clutch and high black-tie heels." Meghan looked gorgeous, of course, but wearing black is frowned upon if you're a Royal, unless you're in mourning.

Years ago, Princess Diana even received criticism for wearing black on an evening out when first with Prince Charles.

According to InStyle, The English Manner's Alexandra Messervy said this about wearing black, "Generally it is thought that black is not usually worn unless in mourning, although Diana Princess of Wales did occasionally wear it for evening functions, and The Duchess of Cambridge has been known to do so...I note that there was a bit of an outcry recently when Ms. Markle wore black for a daytime event, but in the modern age I don't think that it is 'frowned' upon so much at all." The Queen might still reserve black dresses for funeral wear, but the new Royals are wearing black when they please and maybe taking inspiration from Princess Diana, who, according to Woman Magazine, famously wore black the day Prince Charles publicly revealed his infidelity; this dress later became known as THE revenge dress.


14 Royals Must Always Travel With A Black Outfit Just In Case


Even though the Queen isn't a huge fan of black as daytime or evening wear, she does require that all Royals travel with an all-black outfit, just in case. You may be wondering why this is a requirement for Royals, let us explain.

According to Harper's Bazaar, "When anyone in the Royal Family travels to another country, they have to take a black ensemble with them. This is just in case someone in the family were to die while they were away. This ensures that when they arrive back in the UK, they are dressed appropriately to match the somber mood of the nation." We know what you're thinking, this is really specific, but this rule came to be because the Queen was once caught off guard for such an occasion.

Harper's Bazaar reports "In 1952, the Queen was in Kenya with Prince Philip when they heard the news that her father had sadly passed away. She didn't bring a black dress with her on the trip, meaning she had to wait on the plane for one to be delivered." Although this rule makes sense, it does seem a little sad. But the Queen learned from experience and wanted to make sure no other Royal had to waste time waiting for an appropriate outfit with such pressing family matters to tend to.


13 Breaking The Group Dress Code Is Kind Of A No-No

Daily Express

Meghan Markle made headlines at one of the first engagements she attended as an almost Royal. It's not to say that the foursome (Kate & William and Harry & Meghan) intentionally dress to match, but in this photo, it's pretty clear that Meghan doesn't match the group!

The Royal philosophy is to stand out from a crowd, but not necessarily to be the group's standout.

Meghan has already received some criticism for the way she dresses compared to the Royal wardrobe rules. Whether her giant tote bag, ripped jeans, or even for wearing a crossbody instead of a clutch and this moment seems a little cringe. Given, Markle seems to be wearing a navy dress underneath, but at this moment the group hardly looks like a united front. Harry's been known to joke that the four don't always see eye to eye, but we're wondering if the Queen would see this as a fashion faux pas. We already told you that Royals can't remove their coats in public, so maybe Meghan didn't realize she would have her coat on, while Kate didn't wear one. Regardless, Will, Kate, Harry, and Meghan all look amazing, we're just wishing Meghan went with a more subdued look for the seemingly serious occasion.

12 Tiaras Are Evening Wear, Or Wedding Attire

Vanity Fair

Finally! We're talking about a princesses best accessory, her crown, well technically a tiara, but still, where can we get one?! In all seriousness, there are actually rules for when it is and isn't appropriate to wear a tiara and for who can wear one.

According to Town and Country Magazine, who interviewed jewelry etiquette expert, Geoffrey Munn, "Any woman may wear one, but ancient tradition has it that they must be a bride or already be married. The tiara has its roots in classical antiquity and was seen as an emblem of the loss of innocence to the crowning of love...Tiaras are certainly amongst the largest pieces of jewelry, and certainly the most imposing but they are not emblems of inherited rank. It is not the owner that triggers the wearing of tiara but the event at which they are worn. In the past, they were worn at full evening dress occasions, which are now known as 'white tie.' Sometimes the invitation would say 'Tiaras will be worn.'"

This explains why we didn't see Meghan Markle in a tiara until her wedding day! As Munn points out they usually are evening wear; we love that invites used to say 'Tiaras will be worn," we're putting that in the next group text we send to our friends about going out for the weekend!


11 The Queen Almost Always Wears Gloves, But Kate Saves Them For The Cold

Style Bistro

If you think about classic princesses, like Cinderella, you probably think of long white gloves with formal wear, which seems to be a tradition that is rapidly fading. Although the Queen often wears gloves, Megan Markle and Kate Middleton seem to only wear them when it is actually cold. According to The Sun, "The monarch wears [gloves] for practical reasons during the daytime as she is frequently required to shake hands with hundreds of people. This fashion item helps stop germs being spread from person to person." While this seems to make some sense, we don't see Kate and Meghan wearing gloves, again unless it's actually cold and the weather deems them necessary.

As with most of the wardrobe rules, this seems to be another class thing.

While Kate and Meghan are more than happy to shake bare hands with the public and occasionally even hug people, the Queen seems to be following in tradition and attempting to have some separation between Royalty and common people.

According to People, even Diana left this rule for the Queen, "When [Diana] was visiting hospitals, for example, she would wear cheerful clothes that would convey warmth and often chunky jewelry so that children could come and play with them...She abandoned the Royal protocol of wearing gloves because she liked to hold hands when visiting people or shake hands and have direct contact." We agree with Princess Diana, gloves make Royals seem cold, so save them for cold weather instead!

Huffington Post

10 Bright Colors Let A Royal Stand Out In A Crowd


You might have noticed that the Queen wears a lot of bright colors, and so does Kate. From beautiful pastel hues to bright neons, and vivid shades too, these are ladies who know how to stand out, but have you ever considered why the Royals want to stand out with their fashion choices?

According to PopSugar, "Queen Elizabeth II has always been known for wearing bold colors, but this love of rainbow shades isn't just a personal preference. There's actually a very practical, and quite touching reason the woman Prince Harry calls his 'boss' wears shades of fuchsia, lemon, and Royal blue for Royal engagements. According to her daughter-in-law Sophie...the Queen sports the bright hues to ensure that members of the public stand a chance of seeing her through the crowds." This makes a lot of sense. Most people don't wear such standout colors in everyday life, so that periwinkle blue, salmon coral, or kelly green definitely can draw a crowd's attention.

PopSugar also reports that Sophie said this, "She needs to stand out for people to be able to say 'I saw the Queen." Well, with colors this bright, you can't miss her! We're wondering if Meghan Markle's wardrobe will change from mostly neutrals to brighter colors too!

Town & Country

9 The Queen Always Wears Pantyhose, While Kate And Meghan Sometimes Skip It


Okay, let's be real here, pantyhose are kind of something that our moms wore; the kind of things that we spent our entire childhood wearing to school concerts, and ripping like five minutes into first period, then going to the librarian on our lunch break hoping that they would have some clear nail polish for a quick fix. So to us, pantyhose are just not cute, but Kate Middleton is changing all of that!

Kate Middleton's legs look amazing; they're smooth, they're toned, her skin is even, and there is zero razor burn in sight.

We need to find out where she gets hers because we've never found a pair that actually matched the color of our arms or faces!

According to Harper's Bazaar, "While Kate does have her legs bare a lot of the time, they are very rarely ever bare-bare. For each of her events, Kate will be sporting a pair of very fine nude tights or pantyhose." While Kate made pantyhose a viable fashion choice in recent years helping to sell out her rumored favorite pair, Meghan Markle is on our side of this great debate.

According to The Cut, she might even be leading the anti-pantyhose movement: "Across the pond, the Royal Family seems to enforce a strict, unspoken pantyhose policy. Everyone wears them. Except for Markle, apparently." We're not sure anyone looks good in pantyhose, except for Kate Middleton!


8 Clutches Not Only Make A Fashion Statement But Keep Hands Busy


Let's talk purses. We already mentioned that Meghan Markle has gotten a lot of negative attention for wearing her giant tote bag and for wearing a cross body, when it comes to Royal accessories, a clutch is standard.

Why do Royals wear bags without straps? Well, according to Bustle, "The sneaky etiquette reason for the style choice is actually sort of devious. You don't have to shake hands with someone if you don't have open hands to shake. The clutch is essentially used as a way to avoid awkward situations, which is enough to make you want to carry them from now on too."

Are clutches the new gloves? Maybe!

While Kate never wears gloves during spring or summer, she always carries a clutch. So did Princess Diana, but hers served a different purpose! According to Good Housekeeping Diana's bag designer, Anya Hindmarch, said this about Diana's 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." Diana was photographed using her bags basically every time she stepped out of a car with a low cut dress. While Kate doesn't seem to use her clutch for that, to each princess her own! We're just wondering if Markle will have to give up her collection of designer tote bags!

What Kate Wore

7 The Queen Hates Wedges, But Kate Loves Them


The Queen may hate wedges, but we know someone who does not, Kate Middleton! Basically, the rule when it comes to wedges, don't let the Queen make direct eye contact with you while wearing them. The reason we think this rule has got to go is that heels often times "sink-in," whether walking on grass or even just navigating through a crowd, wedges are so much easier to wear! Plus, Kate is a mom of three, so she runs around all day.

According to Marie Claire, "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." Is Kate trying to make her grandmother-in-law mad? We don't think so!

We think Kate's love of wedged shoes is totally practical, and it seems as though she's stopped wearing them so much since the Queen disapproved and now tends to stick to heels, even after giving birth.

While we think the Royal wore wedges after having Prince George, she appears to have worn traditional heels after having her second and third babies, Charlotte and Louis. One thing is for sure, if Kate wears anything, it sells out in minutes, so the Queen might see a lot more wedges around in the future.

6 Fascinating Fascinators And Hats, When Making A Daytime Statement

Hello Giggles

The Royal Family is a point of fascination, but the most fascinating part has got to be their fascinators. Why hasn't this trend hit America yet?! Literally, the best part about the Royal Wedding was us looking in amazement at all the crazy hats, we looked like Prince Harry looking at Meghan Markle, we were staring at fascinators mouthing, "you look amazing." According to Woman's World, "These fashionable, funky, and over-the-top hats are part of the Royal dress code and have been for decades — plus, they provide a bit of entertainment for us non-Royals. Of all the things we love about the Royal Family, hats — especially kooky Royal Wedding hats — are one of our favorites." We couldn't agree more!

Woman's World also reports that Diana Mather, from The English Manner, said: "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."

We're wondering if hats have become formal wear because the Royals don't want to hide their hair anymore? One thing is absolutely certain, Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton have got great hair and if anything we're sure they want to show it off. So, we are all for hats, but maybe ones small enough so that we still can see the Royals' gorgeous locks!


5 Hemlines Have To Be Appropriate, Of Course


Princesses and duchesses obviously have to wear kind of modest clothes, whether sleeves on their wedding day, we're looking at you Kate and Meghan, or making sure hemlines are appropriate for Royal wear. We've obviously never seen Kate Middleton in a mini-skirt, although we have seen Meghan in one, that was her old life; now, she'll be wearing dresses and skirts that hit right around the knee, well a little below it!

Even though Kate seems to keep it pretty classy, the Queen once had to make stricter rules because she thought Kate's dresses were too short — keep in mind too short means you can see a little knee.

According to Vanity Fair, "Royal correspondent Katie Nicholl reports in the Mail on Sunday that the Queen has issued some dictums as to how Kate should be dressed when she tours Australia in April. The upshot? The hemlines will be longer, the jewelry will include a bigger statement piece, and there will be more tiaras than you'd find at a Miss Texas Teen U.S.A. pageant." Again, Kate has kept it classy over the years, but apparently, there was a moment where the Queen thought her hemlines were a little too short for a duchess.

Marie Claire

4 'Casual Wear' Means Jeans, Not Sweats


Royals rarely dress down, but when they do they're not going to be wearing joggers or sweatpants; jeans, trousers, and chinos are dress down attire and regardless of the fact that Meghan loves her ripped jeans, those are probably going to become a no now that she has an official title! Kate almost always wears dresses, but she has been photographed on a few rare occasions wearing dark wash jeans, mostly while walking in her yard, or the countryside.

According to BBC, "Many places will not allow jeans as they are still seen as very casual wear, so it is better to play safe for both sexes. But if the duchess is outside walking the dogs for example, then jeans are fine." Again, dresses are a safer play for daytime attire, but if the Royals do wear jeans, they tend to be a dark wash, skinny, fitted, and without any holes; we're hoping Meghan gets the memo before the Queen issues a formal fashion decree! Honestly, for us, jeans are dressing up, and not to mention a lot of work to put on, especially being that skinny. But, we get it, princesses wear tiaras and let's face it, tiaras don't go with denim!


3 Even The Kids Dress Up All The Time


George, Charlotte, and Louis are fashion icons, too. They are dressed up pretty much all the time. How adorable are Charlotte's little dresses and George's loafers!?

George's shorts seem to be the staple of his wardrobe, and apparently, a lot of little Royals follow this wardrobe rule.

Harper's Bazaar had etiquette expert William Hanson explain the rule of 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...The modern habit of upper-class families choosing to dress their boys in shorts will deliberately hark back to a bygone age. The British upper set are always keen to hold on to tradition, and this one also silently marks them out from 'the rest.'"

Shorts aren't just a way for George to show off his socks, they also are a quiet indication of class and being part of the Royal elite. We can't wait until little Louis is wearing matching shorts with his big brother!

Hello Magazine

2 Coats Stay On At All Times, While In Public

Vanity Fair

Princesses and duchesses need to check the forecast while dressing. If they decide to wear a coat they can't take it off in public, so they're stuck wearing it even if it starts to heat up, which may seem a little unreasonable. Coats obviously make a fashion statement, sometimes an even bigger statement than Kate or Meghan's dresses and shoes; they're elegant, they're usually designer, and they're the complete opposite of the very unfashionable jackets that most of us wear, we just can't believe that you have to commit to wearing them all day!

According to Bustle, "When Middleton or Markle shows up to an event wearing a coat or coat-dress, she never takes it off while there. The reason for that is that taking off a coat is seen as an unladylike action, and not fitting for a duchess or princess."

If you've ever tried taking off your jacket while driving, you can probably understand why this is pretty much the least graceful thing a person can try to do. What if Kate or Meghan awkwardly got photographed with an arm stuck in a sleeve? Gasp! While again, we think this one is kind of cruel on a spring or summer day that starts cold and then heats up, we do kind of agree that it can be a pretty awkward thing to do once in the public spotlight!

1 Nude Nails Or Barely There Pink

Woman's World

What's the thing that would be hardest to give up for us in terms of Royal wardrobe rules? Colored nail polish! We don't know a girl who doesn't love a dark moody color in the fall, olives, burgundy, even black, or a bright red for summer pool parties and BBQ season, so to have to only wear nude polish seems so sad, well the Queen lets princesses and duchesses wear pale pinks too!

If you know anything about the Queen, you probably know her favorite nail polish shade — Essie's "Ballet Slippers", readily available at a drugstore near you!

According to E! News, "Royal Family members are prohibited from wearing dark and colored nail polish. Meghan wore the Queen's favorite color, Essie's Ballet Slippers, to the Royal Wedding, and we have a feeling that color is here to stay." Glamour reports the story behind the Queen and her favorite polish, "Back in 1989 Queen Elizabeth's hairdresser requested a bottle of the pale, nearly translucent pink polish be sent to Buckingham Palace — giving it the ultimate stamp of approval." Glamour also talks about the original inspiration behind the polish, "Essie Weingarten launched her eponymous line of nail colors back in 1981...The next year, she created Ballet Slippers to pay homage to her girlhood ritual of getting manicures with her mother. Every Saturday, if Weingarten — a budding ballerina — had done well in her ballet class, her mom would...let her get her nails done."

Town & Country

References: E! News, Glamour, Marie Claire, Woman's World, Vanity Fair, BBC, Harper's Bazaar, BustleInStyle, Woman Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, Town & Country Magazine, The Sun, People, PopSugar, Harper's Bazaar, The Cut, Bustle, Good Housekeeping

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