7 Interesting Rules That British Royals Must Follow: Wearing Hats, No PDA, And More
If you have seen Disney's 2001 coming-of-age comedy film The Princess Diaries, then you know by now that being a royal comes with a price. In the movie, Mia Thermopolis (portrayed by Anne Hathaway), has to follow social etiquettes as heiress to the throne and Princess of Genovia. Though it's a fictionalised story, it alludes to a larger truth for royals across the globe.
We list down some seemingly odd guidelines that must be followed by members of the British royal family; so, bring out your teacups and table napkins as Tatler takes you deeper into the world of the English royals!
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1/7 When the Queen is finished eating, everyone is too
At a Royal dinner, one must always watch out for the Queen. If she is finished eating, you must fold your napkin in half and set aside everything you got from the table.
Speaking of dinner, don't come to the table without your Downton Abbey attire. In an interview, a royal insider disclosed that the family are always in their suits and ball gowns when eating with Her Majesty.
"They would come in for afternoon tea by the log fire in outdoor clothes, and then they'd all change for dinner. They'd come down in dressy ball gowns, and sit at the table—like a Downton Abbey dinner. All the fine china was brought out. At the end of the meal, a bagpipe player would walk around the table," Royal chef Darren McGrady (who cooked for the Queen, Prince Philip, Princess Diana and William and Harry) said.
2/7 British Royals must not involve themselves in politics
With the British family's popularity, you may have wondered why they did not run for office yet.. that is because they cannot. The family is also expected to refrain from casting their votes as they have to remain politically neutral.
In a monarchy, a king or queen is Head of State, which means that Queen Elizabeth, even without a political or executive role, can make and pass legislation with an elected Parliament.
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3/7 Women must wear hats at formal events
At Royal events, people are always on the lookout for extravagant fascinators worn by women of the English monarchy. This is because the dress code states that they must always wear hats for formal events.
According to Diana Mather, a senior tutor for The English Manner etiquette consultancy, ladies were very seldom seen without a hat until the 1950s. "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," she said.
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4/7 At 6pm, married ladies wear tiaras
In the royal family dress code, all married women must wear tiaras at 6pm. Tiaras are traditionally worn during formal events, most especially when the code is evening dress.
According to Etiquette expert Grant Harrold (known as The Royal Butler), tiaras are worn so gentlemen would not dare to "make advances toward the lady in question".
"For married women, it was a sign of status and would show you were taken and not looking for a husband," he said.
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5/7 Royal heirs are not allowed to travel together
This rule is self-explanatory. Two direct heirs are not allowed to travel by plane together in order to preserve the line of succession. In 2014, Prince William and Kate Middleton bent the rule so they could take the nine-month-old Prince George to Australia and New Zealand.
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6/7 No PDA
While there is no bona fide restriction on public display of affection (PDA), members of the royal family often refrain while they are on an official business for Her Majesty. Once in a while, photos of royal couples with their arms wrapped around each other would pop up but they are extremely rare.
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7/7 Royal handlers must keep an eye on the Queen's bag
People cracked the code behind Her Majesty's bag. Apparently, she uses this accessory as a way of signalling her wishes amid Royal functions. For an instance, If the queen moves her bag from her left arm to the right while she is talking to someone, her handlers know that it is time to wrap it up.
When the Queen's bag is on the floor, then it means that her handlers need to save her from an uncomfortable encounter. If she places it on the dinner table, it means she wants to end the event in a few minutes.
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