From Deleting Their Social Media to Giving Up Garlic: 27+ Rules The Royal Family Must Follow


| LAST UPDATE 10/17/2021

By Scarlett Adler

Being a British Royal family member may seem extravagant, but there are many rules each person must follow. From strict food restrictions to Queen-approved travel, living in Buckingham Palace isn't all that simple.

No Personal Social Media

Just like the rest of the family, when Meghan Markle got engaged to Prince Harry in 2017, she said goodbye to her social media. Her Twitter and Facebook followers had to turn to the tabloids to keep up with her life happenings.

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The Royals are not allowed to have social media accounts. So, members like Prince William, Kate Middleton, and Meghan Markle have to share updates about their lives using the Kensington Royal account. This profile has been used to share announcements such as engagements and baby pictures to every day updates and events.

No Selfies Allowed

Even though the family gets flooded with fans asking to snap a picture, the Royals cannot partake in selfie culture. This includes both taking and being the subject of the photo. Jenifer Gehmair, a Royal etiquette expert, explained why this 21st-century phenomenon is a no-no.

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According to Gehmair, it is considered rude for someone to turn their back on a Duke or Duchess to take a selfie. Instead, people are expected to make eye contact and engage in a proper conversation with them. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a genuine conversation with a Prince or even the Queen is priceless.

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No Signing Autographs

To limit the opportunity for signature forgery, Royal family members are not allowed to sign autographs. This was a significant change for Suits star Meghan Markle, but she still gets to practice her signature on Royal documents like the rest of the family. 

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Prince Charles once broke this rule when he signed a piece of paper "Charles 2010" for a family whose home had been destroyed by a flood. His son William and wife Kate also went against Royal wishes when they signed the U.S. Embassy book of condolences in 2016.

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No Dark Nail Polish Allowed

No matter the time of year, women in the Royal family are always seen sporting a perfect manicure. They are required to have clean, shaped, and painted nails at all times of the year. But, there are rules about which colors women are allowed to wear.

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Dark-colored nail polish of any kind is forbidden. Only clear or light colors can be worn. In fact, the Essie color "ballet slippers" is an apparent favorite in Buckingham Palace. Whether they're wearing a clear topcoat or blush pink, the Royal women are required to keep their mani's in check.

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No Wedges Allowed

Allegedly because Queen Elizabeth has been said to despise them, wedges are not allowed to be worn by Royal family members. Once a woman becomes a member of the Royal family, she partakes in a closet purge. During this time, all shoes that resemble wedges are rid of.

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Markle once wore a strappy pair of wedges to a Royal event but has typically stuck to her iconic pointed heels. Shoes aren't the only part of the purge. There are more clothing and style requirements at Buckingham Palace. Many of them were created to ensure no family member upstages Her Majesty the Queen.

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Royals Must Partake in Full-Time Duties

When Kate married Prince William, she immediately paused her career. She previously worked as a website designer, photographer, and marketing officer for Party Pieces, her parents' event planning company. And William used to be a pilot, but he had to hang up his wings as well.

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All adult members of the Royal family are required to partake in a variety of full-time duties. Meghan Markle was actually ahead of the game on this stipulation. She announced her retirement from acting when she and Prince Harry shared news of their engagement.

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Must Live in a Royal Residence

No Prince, Princess, Duke, Duchess, Earl or Countess is allowed to reside in a regular home. Queen Elizabeth requires all members of her family to have an official Royal residence. And, she must give her stamp of approval for the living arrangement of choice.

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When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are not in Kensington Palace, they choose to live in Anmer Hall (pictured here). Anmer is an independent residence that is not attached to the Palace or Castle. Before they could reside there, the Queen approved and has since said that Meghan and Harry are welcome to stay there as well.

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Royals Do Not Vote

The Royals' political rights are limited. When Meghan married Harry, she lost the right to vote in England, as the Royal family refrains from voting and political expression. Even if they are qualified, the family cannot run for any political office.

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In addition, the family cannot publicly express any of their political opinions. This is an important rule, as Parliament claims it is unconstitutional for the Queen and Royal family to vote or participate in the election process. The practice is in place to avoid any public sway.

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No PDA Allowed

PDA or public display of affection is extremely rare for the Royals. Have you ever noticed that the Queen walks a few steps ahead of Prince Philip, or that they are never seen holding hands? Royal etiquette expert Myke Meier explained that PDA is strictly for behind closed doors.

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Meier noted this to be why Kate and William have not been seen holding hands or kissing since they wed. But, for Harry and Meghan, this rule is meant for breaking. "Holding hands at a Royal engagement is a refreshingly modern approach to their new role both as a couple and as representative of the Royal family," said Myka.

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No Adult Bridesmaids

Since the beginning of the Royal family, children have made up the Royal wedding party. This is due to the rule that the youngest members of the family must fill the role. However, both The Duchess of Cambridge and even Queen Elizabeth herself has broken this rule.

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Following modern tradition, Kate's sister Pippa was the Maid of Honor at her wedding. In addition, the Queen had a group of bridesmaids around her same age act as her bridesmaids when she married Prince Philip in 1947. Following this pattern, Meghan also broke this rule.

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Wedding Bouquet Must Contain Myrtle

Myrtle has been included in all Royal weddings since the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria got married in 1858. When Kate married William, she carried a white bouquet full of a sprig of myrtle. In recent years, Meghan walked down the aisle holding myrtle and an arrangement of Princess Diana's favorite flowers.

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Markle's bouquet was made of myrtle, forget-me-nots, sweet peas, lily of the valley, astilbe, jasmine, and astrantia. This Royal tradition is long-standing and is still carried out to this day. Although many of the strict rules have been broken throughout the years, this is not one of them.

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Must Associate with Church of England

The Royal family is associated with the Church of England. Due to their cherished practices, Meghan was baptized and confirmed before marrying Prince Harry. In 2011, the centuries-old ban forbidding the British monarch to marry a Catholic was annulled by former Prime Minister David Cameron.

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Cameron found the rule "discriminatory and offensive," causing it to become modernized in the following years. The Queen still has to be in communion with the Church of England about marriage, but it doesn't mean that Royal family members cannot marry a Catholic or someone of any other faith.

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Woman Sit in the Duchess Slant

Royal family members are forbidden to sit with folded legs. According to an expert for Hello! Magazine, it is surprisingly looked down upon for women to cross their legs, unless they cross them at the ankles. This ladylike rule was created by none other than Princess Diana. 

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Royal women are taught to sit correctly with the Duchess slant. This is carried out by lightly slanting one's legs side by side in a tilt, with the option of crossing ankles. Royal men also have to follow good seating etiquette. They are not allowed to fold their legs or put their hands in their pockets.

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No Nicknames Allowed in Public

Due to it being considered too informal, members of the Royal family are not allowed to call any of their relatives by their nickname. But that doesn't mean that they don't have them! Princess Diana and Catherine Middleton's nicknames, "Lady Di" and "Kate," became known and widely used by the public.

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These women are the exception to this Royal rule. However, close friends of Harry call him "Potter," and Prince Philip even has a nickname for his Royal wife. Behind closed doors, Philip is rumored to refer to the Queen as "cabbage." How about that for a relationship goal?

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Tiaras Are Worn Inside At Night

Have you seen the array of glamorous hats worn by female members of the Royal family? For an official outfit to be complete, women must wear a fancy hat. But, if the event takes place indoors after 18:00, the caps come off, and sparkling tiaras take their place. However, this rule only applies to married women.

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In Royal-lingo, a woman without a tiara at a party or event means that she is available for suiters. Therefore, those sporting a crown are off the market. Tiaras are typically worn on the crown of the head (pun intended), but the more modern style is to wear it farther back at a 45-degree angle.

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Royals Must Be Manicured At All Times

Members of the Royal family are to appear well-manicured at all times. In fact, a hairstylist is required to be available for the Royals at any moment. The Duchess of Cambridge is expected to look manicured, well-groomed, and healthy every moment of the day. She even had her hair done just after giving birth!

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To maintain her exquisite appearance, Kate receives monthly facials and haircuts. She gets bi-annual hair treatments, blowouts, and dental appointments. And, of course, she always wears a fresh and clean manicure. Kate has stayed loyal to the Richard Ward Salon throughout the years, where she relaxes for her bee-venom facials.

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Wearing Fur Is Not Allowed

Back in the 12th century, King Edward III banned anyone, including the Royal Family and the men of the Church, from wearing fur of any kind. Due to their deep-rooted humanitarian beliefs, the family does their best to follow suit. But, the Queen herself has broken this rule on occasion.

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Prince William and Kate have also broken the rule. Back in 2016, they actually received lots of backlash for wearing fur. During a visit to Canada, the couple was seen wearing traditional scarves with an otter fur trim. Kate had also sported a pair of Restelli Guanti fur-lined ski gloves.

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Royals Must Dress Modestly

Continuing the closet purge, Royal family members must dress modestly and elegantly at all times. They are seldom seen wearing casual clothing. In fact, even the youngest members of the family, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, dress up to go out to play.

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Queen Elizabeth II is widely known for her neon-colored outfits that consist of a matching coat, dress, and hat. She dresses in colors such as neon yellow and blue because she wants to stand out from the crowd. According to Countess Sophie of Wessex, it's so people can be able to say "I saw the Queen," or spot a bit of her hat. 

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Must Travel With An All-Black Outfit

Unfortunately, the Queen was informed that her father, King Geroge VI, had passed away while she was in Kenya with Philip. Reluctantly, she had not packed an outfit suitable for mourning. Therefore, she felt her a bit unprepared about her return to England.

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This is the precise reason behind the Royal rule. When anyone in the Royal family travels, they must pack an all-black outfit in the case of a sudden funeral. This is a habit that everyone has since followed, as being unprepared is not on the Royal agenda.

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No Shellfish Allowed

No shellfish is allowed in Buckingham Palace. This is set in place to avoid the chances of food poisoning or less than ideal bodily functions. The Queen also avoids spices and any foods that can perish quickly. She has even banned several foods from her residence altogether.

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But, the Queen has a particular soft spot. The no shellfish rule was bent for former President Barak Obama's visits to the United Kingdom. In fact, when Obama dined with Her Majesty, she asked her private chef to serve her guest a platter of fresh lobster.

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Two Heirs Cannot Travel Together

Even if they're going to the same place, those in line for the throne cannot travel together via plane. No matter how close or distant they might be from the throne, everyone must oblige. This might seem odd to some, but the rule was created when air travel was a bit riskier than it is now.

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Princess Diana's sons do not travel together. Also, Prince William doesn't fly with Kate, George, and Charlotte unless the Queen allows it. Her Majesty has since relaxed the rule, although her permission is still required before her beloved family members can travel together.

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No Garlic In The Palace

Garlic cloves, garlic powder, and garlic seasoning of any kind are banned from Buckingham Palace. The Queen is an incredibly picky eater and does not like an excess of onions. She also avoids potatoes, pasta, and rare meat. However, she does enjoy strawberries and chocolate biscuit cake.

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Chef Carolyn Robb, who worked as a full-time private chef at Kensington Palace, explained to OK! Magazine why the Royal family doesn't eat garlic. According to Robb, garlic is avoided because the family has to talk at public engagements in close proximity to others. 

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Do Not Eat Until The Queen's First Bite

The number one rule when dining at Buckingham Palace is to follow the Queen's pace. No one can touch their food or even their cutlery until the Queen has taken her first bite. Eating at the Queen's rate is seen as a form of respect. Learning this practice along with others is a must before dining with Her Majesty.

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Tim Graham/Contributor via Getty Images

Other important rules pertain to plates and the restroom. Royals never put their silverware down unless they need to drink or excuse themselves from the table to use the bathroom. When they leave the table, they must cross their cutlery on their plate, so the staff knows they are still eating.

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Must Hold Teacups Properly

Teatime is popular at the Palace. But, one can only join if they know how to hold their teacup properly. According to etiquette expert Myke Meier, this is the correct way to sip Royal tea: "Pinch the top handle of the teacup with your thumb and index finger, while the middle finger rests at the bottom of the handle as support."

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In addition, Meier explained to People Magazine that the handle must remain at a 3:00 angle. This is practiced to ensure one can take a sip from the same spot each time. Also, this specific angle helps to avoid lipstick stains around the rim of the cup. 

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Wait Your Turn To Speak With The Queen

The lucky guests invited to dine with the Queen have to wait their turn to engage in conversation. During the first course of a meal, Her Majesty will talk to the person to her right. Naturally, during the second course, she will speak with the person to her left.

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The seating arrangement at the palace is never random. Place cards are always present. The Marshal officers of the Court refer to themselves as "mini-hosts" because they arrange the seating for the guests. This is all carried out according to specific criteria ranging from age, language, and interests.

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Stop Speaking When The Queen's Purse Moves

When Her Majesty is conversing with guests, she must exit interactions first so that people do not turn their backs to her. To signal that she is finished with the conversation, she moves her purse from her left arm to her right. This subtle non-verbal communication practice is closely looked out for by the staff.

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Hawk-eyed staff members help to wrap up lingering conversations by taking The Queen away if necessary. Another opportunity that the Queen allows her bag to speak for her is at the dinner table. When she places her purse on the table, it signals that dinner should come to an end within five minutes.

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No Hugging Non-Family Members

The official Monarchy's website states that it is customary for people to curtsey or bow when meeting the Queen or Royal family members. The public is encouraged to greet Queen Elizabeth with "Your Royal Highness" or "Your Majesty." Offering a handshake is okay, but hugging or putting an arm around the Royals typically is not.

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Like some of the other rules on this list, this practice has failed a time or two. Basketball star Lebron James once broke this rule by putting an arm around The Duchess of Cambridge. And, the Queen decided to forgo the practice when she hugged former First Lady, Michelle Obama.

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Accept Gifts But Do Not Keep Them

People from far and wide travel to Buckingham Palace to give the Royal family thoughtful gifts from the heart. Some presents consist of a toy or book for the children. But in 1972, the Queen was gifted something larger than life: An elephant named Jumbo III!

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The Royals are allowed and encouraged to accept gifts of all kinds. However, they are not allowed to keep everything. The Queen has the final say as to what is kept and what is not. In the Royal family, re-gifting and selling unkept gifts are forbidden.

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Fib To The Queen About Dinner Time

Darren McGrady, a former private chef for the Royal Family from 1982 to 1993, revealed his biggest trick in an interview. He explained that the Palace staff would have to fib to the Queen about dinnertime. Queen Elizabeth is notoriously known for being late to meals, even in her own home!

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Because she is usually the last person to arrive, the staff and family members all tell her that meals begin about fifteen minutes before they are scheduled. But, in the wise words of Princess Diaries' Julie Andrews, "A Queen is never late, everyone else is simply early."

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Royal Staff Must Never Be Seen

Last but certainly not least is a cardinal rule that all Palace staff members must follow. The staff cannot be seen or heard while working to ensure that they do not distract the family from their Royal duties. As for the Royal family, they are to focus on their work without giving in to distraction.

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Over 1,000 Palace workers reside in living quarters in the Palace. But during work hours, they do their work in silence. Life outside of the extravagant workplace is also tranquil. The entire staff is required to sign an NDA or non-disclosure agreement, binding them to secrecy.

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