They may be in line for the throne, but there are still plenty of rules children of the royal family must follow as they grow up in the spotlight. Here are some of the do's and don'ts for royal children:
They Have to go Through Etiquette Training
According to etiquette expert Myka Meier, the royal children attend etiquette training, "As soon as they're old enough to sit at a table." This means that these kids are taught how to be on their best behavior at all times from the very beginning.
Meier told People Magazine, "They are raised having formal meals, going to formal events, and practicing everything from voice levels to dressing appropriately to even, of course, how to curtsy and bow." Their training includes everything from learning how to properly execute the "Windsor wave" to sitting with proper posture.
They Must have a Passport
If you haven't come to this conclusion already, royal babies are a bit different to your typical newborn. In fact, this is true in more ways than one, many of which we will continue to explore here. While Queen Elizabeth is the one member of the family who isn't required to carry a passport, royal babies are another story.
Royal infants must be ready to travel internationally at any moment. That is precisely why the royal children are issued passports as soon as they are born. This has remained true for all royal family members and has even been used by babies such as Meghan and Harry's Archie at a mere four months old!
They Have to Attend Royal Engagements
From a very young age, the royal children are taught exactly how they are expected to behave at public events. Before they become full-time working royals like their parents, they attend occasions such as family services, christenings, weddings, birthdays, and ceremonies.
It is expected that the entire family attends important events like these mentioned. But, to prepare for the long hours of standing or staying on their best behavior, the royal children undergo etiquette training to learn all of the do's and don't of royal events.
They Must Greet the Public with a Royal Wave
Each member of the royal family lives in the spotlight from birth onward. So, they must greet the public the same way. That means that royal children learn the Windsor wave at a very young age, as it is the customary greeting at any public appearance.
According to royal etiquette expert Myka Meier, the Windsor wave must be carried out as such: The elbow must be pointing down towards the ground, all five fingers together, with a gentle back and forth movement from the wrist. As seen in the photo here, Princess Charlotte has already got it down!
They Must Curtsy to the Queen
According to The Royal Household website, protocol states that women in the royal family must curtsy upon the first time seeing the Queen on any given day. For men, this is a neck down bow. When being presented to the Queen, the correct way to address her is "Your Majesty" then "Ma'am" upon the next time seeing her.
The proper curtsy for women is to "Simply put one leg behind the other, bend your knees, and bow your head slightly. However, deeper curtsies and long pauses are a sign of respect and formality," according to etiquette expert Myka Meier. The royal children are supposed to begin following this rule at around age five.
Two Heirs Can't Travel Together
This next rule's implementation dates back to when air travel wasn't as smoothed out as it is now. Unless the Queen grants permission, no two heirs are allowed to travel by plane together. This is a royal rule set in place to preserve the line of succession in the case of an accident.
For example, Prince William, who's second in line, and his son Prince George, who's third in line, do not travel on the same plane together. Since travel by plane has increased in safety measures throughout the years, the Queen has been more lenient with her family members who have wished to travel together.
They Must Learn a Second Language
Did you know that Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, and Prince William are all fluent in French? It is customary for the royal family members to be taught a second language as children owing to their amount of travel to foreign countries. In fact, the family depends on this quite a bit.
According to The Royal Household, the Duchess of Cambridge speaks a bit of French as well. It's rumored that while mingling with a Leicester crowd in 2018, she said, "My language is so bad, I have to make sure my children are better than me." So, she began teaching her children Spanish when Prince George was just two years old.
Boys Must Wear Shorts
According to BBC News, royal boys do not wear pants until they turn eight years old, an English tradition that dates back to the 16th century. In England, shorts are said to signal higher class. "It's a very English thing to dress a young boy in shorts," explained etiquette expert William Hanson.
He continued, "Trousers are for older boys and men, whereas shorts on young boys is one of those silent class markers that we have in England." The tradition can be traced back throughout the royals, with Princes William and Harry photographed wearing shorts until they were deemed old enough to sport full-length pants.
Girls Must Wear Dresses
The royal family has a history of leaning toward dresses for young girls. This is a tradition that can be traced back to the Queen's own daughter, Princess Anne. Royal expert Marlene Koenig explained that females "Tend to wear smocked dresses as little girls when they are in public with their parents."
Childrenswear designer Rachel Riley revealed that Charlotte is typically dressed in dresses to avoid looking "Out of date." She explained that young women are expected to dress in a "Clean traditional look," however when the kids are at home playing in the nursery or the backyard, they typically wear more casual clothes.
Siblings Have to Match in Public
Back in the day, young Princes and Princesses wore complementary outfits when carrying out public engagements with their parents. This seems to be true today, as Princess Charlotte and Prince George typically match in one way or another when in the public eye.
Princes William and Henry also tended to match as children, as seen in many pictures throughout their lives. However, based on our own family photo albums, it's fair to say that most parents follow this trend as well. After all, it does look pretty cute on holiday cards or at family outings.
They Must Maintain Good Posture
Posture is of the utmost importance for members of the royal family, as they must always project a poised image. Curtsies must be subtle, and actions must be carried out gracefully. Royal etiquette expert Myka Meier explained that women of the royal family must practice the "Duchess slant" when seated at formal events.
Meier explained, this means keeping knees and heels together, with legs slanted at an angle and hands gracefully crossed over the knees. If crossed legs feel more comfortable, women may cross their ankles. While women must sit as explained, men cannot stand with their hands in their pockets, which is considered poor etiquette.
They Have to Join Their Parents on Royal Tours
Not limited by age, if their parents are to go on a royal tour, the royal children are expected to go too. This is precisely the reason newborn royals are immediately issued a passport. For example, Henry and Meghan's Archie joined them on their South African tour at just four months old.
While the Sussexes were busy collaborating with organizations, discussing conservation efforts, and meeting with country leaders, baby Archie was by his parents' side. And everyone seemed to enjoy it, as you can see here, South Africa's Desmond Tutu enjoyed meeting the little peanut very much!
They Have to (Eventually) Get a Driver's License
According to British law, the Queen is the only person in the United Kingdom who can drive a car without a driver's license and has never had to take a driving test. This means that she expects all of the Princes and Princesses to study for and take their driving exams when the time comes.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson explained that the Queen does not need a license because driving licenses are issued in her name. But, this special exception does not extend to any of the family members. So, they still have to take and pass their exams, but at least they have an experienced driving coach!
They Can't Wear Black to Daytime Events
According to The Royal Household, in the royal family, black is a color that is strictly reserved for mourning. So, all family members, including children, are not to wear the color to daytime events. However, everyone must travel with at least one solidly black outfit in case of an unexpected funeral.
The rule's exception was when Prince George acted as a page boy at his Uncle's wedding, seen here. According to The Royal Household, Queen Elizabeth instated this custom after being caught without a black dress in Africa when her father passed away.
Boys Must Serve in the Military
Per tradition, the men in the royal family are expected to rise through one of the military branches' ranks. For example, Prince Charles followed in his father's footsteps by serving in the Navy. Prince William chose to serve in the Air Force, and Prince Harry also joined the Army.
This kind of training has helped the royals build connections. This was noted in the Countess of Wessex's Military Academy speech: "As you climb each step think of the thousands of officers who have gone before you...you join them in one of the greatest careers a person can choose, a wonderful life of service and duty."
Playing Outside is a Must
As the royal children have to be on their best behavior most of the time, it is equally required that they spend time outside. The rule is set in place so that the children can release their wiggles and pent-up energy. This is practiced in hopes that they can remain poised during royal events and engagements.
Since the Duchess of Cambridge supports several causes that help children develop an appreciation for the outdoors, it's no surprise that she encourages her own children to spend time outside in nature. Just look at how much fun they all seem to be having together on the grass!
Baby Food is Not Allowed
Royal babies do not eat canned baby food, like the rest of us. Instead, they have a kitchen full of private chefs at their disposal. Former royal chef, Darren McGrady, revealed to today.com that he made Prince William and Harry some of their first meals in year's past.
McGrady explained that the meals often consisted of steamed apples and pears, to which the boys approved and gobbled down. If there's one rule we are envious of in this list, it definitely has to be our lack of access to a private chef that makes yummy dishes for us.
They Have to Attend School
While Queen Elizabeth and royal children before her were privately educated by tutors, beginning with Prince Charles, all of the royal children have attended schools for their education since. Could you imagine having a royal family member as a classmate?
In 2019, Princess Charlotte joined her doting older brother at Thomas's Battersea School. Once royal children turn higher-education age, the school choice is up to each individual, as long as they attend. For example, Princes Harry and William attended Eton College, a different school than their father's alma mater, Gordonstoun.
No Shellfish Allowed
According to chef McGrady, because the royal family is lined up for thousands of engagements throughout the year, it makes sense that they want to stay their healthiest for public appearances. That is why seafood, particularly shellfish, has never been on the menu due to increased food sickness chances.
According to an article published by BBC News, the royal family also avoids foods that could create "Gastronomic indisposition." What a nice way to say an upset tummy! Along with avoiding shellfish, they also try to stay away from rare meat, foreign water, and any food that is too exotic or spicy.
They Can't Go by Nicknames Publicly
According to the Queen, it is considered improper for a royal family member to be formally addressed by anything other than their full name. This is why she has requested that Prince Philip try to avoid using his nickname for her, "Cabbage," unless they are within the Palace walls.
Other grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the Queen have to keep their nicknames private, aside from those who are too young to know any better, of course. Knowing this rule made by the Queen helps us understand why Kate Middleton now only goes by Catherine or the Duchess of Sussex in public.
They Aren't Allowed to Play Monopoly
As much fun as the game might be for us non-royals, the royal family's children cannot play Monopoly. In fact, the board game is apparently banned from the Windsor Palace due to the family becoming overly competitive when playing with each other in the past.
When the Leeds Building Society gifted Prince Andrew the Monopoly board game in 2008, he reportedly said, "We're not allowed to play Monopoly at home. It gets too vicious." This leaves us thinking about what other games are banned from the Palace; Candy Land? Scrabble?
They Have to Serve in the Bridal Party at Royal Weddings
Look at how cute these royals are in their matching wedding attire! As the youngest members of the royal family, the children are typically tasked with performing the duties of page boy or flower girl at royal weddings. This must take much practice, as it can be hard to wrangle little ones of any age, royal or not.
Recently, the adorable Prince George and Princess Charlotte absolutely stole the show as members of both Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding, as well as at Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank's wedding. And, in our dreams, we have them booked for our wedding too!
They Have to Listen to Their Nanny
While the public doesn't necessarily hear much about them, the royal family's nannies have demanding travel and appearance schedules. Even though royal parents are reportedly more hands-on in recent years than in past generations, nannies are still necessary. So, the palace employs experts like Maria Borrallo for assistance.
Maria acts as a real-life Mary Poppins to the royal children. Trained at Noreland College, she is reportedly one of the most sought-after nannies in the country. Royal Commentator Victoria Murphy told ABC News, Maria was "Taught everything from defensive driving to security issues, to how to care for a future King or Queen."
They Have to Adhere to Security Measures
Did you know that the royal children have their very own security details? The Palace and royal parents go to extreme measures to ensure that the family's youngest members remain safe. The number of photographers allowed at occasions are limited, so the children can enjoy events without having to be poised at all times.
ABC News Royal Contributor Omid Scobie noted, "William and Kate want to bring up their children as normal as possible." He continued with a glimpse back in history; [Princess Diana] "Never let protocol and the palace walls get in the way of raising her boys." It's clear that a sense of normalcy was and is very important.
Their Birth Must Be Announced to the Public
Hear Ye! Hear Ye! A royal child has been born! After the birth of a new royal baby, a sign with the gender and time of delivery is displayed outside of Buckingham Palace. A town crier then announces the news to the public. But first, one call must be made.
According to The Richest, before either of the public announcements take place, the Queen must be the first person notified of the birth. Royal protocol states, "The parent of the child must immediately call the Queen on a special encrypted telephone."
They Have to be Baptized
The royal baby is then baptized while wearing a special christening gown that dates back to Queen Victoria's ceremony in 1841. Many royals wore the gown for more than 160 years before it was retired, and a replica was made. Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis have all worn the new gown.
The occasion is led by the Archbishop of Canterbury and features holy water from the Jordan River. The same circa-1840 silver-gilt bowl is used to baptize all of the royal babies. In fact, all of the Queen's children and grandchildren were baptized in the bowl except for Princess Eugenie.
They Can't Keep Gifts From the Public Unless the Queen Approves
The public seems to love gifting presents like books and stuffed animals to the royal children at events and public occasions, seen in the picture below, for example. However, they might not know that the kids aren't necessarily allowed to play with all of them.
According to official royal policy, "Any gifts received on official duty aren't the young royals' personal property but belong to the Queen, who has the final say in what's kept and what will be donated." One of the Queen's deciding factors if a gift can be kept? If it's valued at less than $184.
They Can't Open Any Presents on Christmas Day
The royal family follows the German custom of opening presents on Christmas Eve, which means that the children do not open gifts on Christmas day. Instead, the family attends the church service at St. Mary Magdalene Chapel on December 25th, followed by a family Christmas lunch.
At the Queen's annual Christmas lunch, the royal kiddos are treated to their own table in their very own room. After not opening presents that morning and attending a service instead, we are left wondering if this special lunch set up is meant to help them feel like adults.
They Can't Call the Queen Grandma
Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, said in the BBC documentary film, Our Queen at 90, the Queen is referred to by her grandchildren as "Granny" or "Gran-Gran." However, other names have been used by young ones throughout the years, some more unconventional than others.
While Prince William once referred to the Queen as "Gary" (yes, you read that correctly), Kate shared that Prince George calls his great-grandmother "Gan-Gan." We have to believe that all of these terms of endearment are loved by the Queen, as they're coming from the mouths of her precious heirs!
Girls Can't Wear Tiaras Until Marriage
Royal tiaras are reserved for married royal women only. This means that as perfect as a tiara might be to complete one of Princess Charlotte's outfits, she will have to settle for a flower crown for now. This goes for all unmarried royal women. To their advantage, they can sport any flower they'd like, but most pick white roses.
Geoffrey Munn, the author of Tiaras - A History of Splendour, explained: "The first time a tiara is worn is by the bride on her wedding day. It signals the crowning of love and the loss of innocence to marriage." So, what do you think of these rules for the royal children? Could you abide if you were a member of the royal family?