Image: John Rainford / WENN
You know, being a Queen or a Princess isn't exactly like the Disney movies make it seem! Sure, there are some bright spots (hello, tiaras on demand!). You get to live in a castle, or at least a very nice quasi-castle. There are parties and events and you get your very own royal title. But along with all of that, there are some pretty strict rules involved with becoming a royal. Obviously, you can't just stroll down to the corner Starbucks for an espresso. You have to demonstrate impeccable manners. They probably frown upon cussing and rolling your eyes at idiots - at least in public. Also, as it turns out, there are some pretty bizarre royal beauty rules that royal ladies have to follow.
A lot of people dream of having a endless supply of the finest clothes and jewels to choose from everyday. But what fun is that if you can't actually have fun with it?! The women in the royal family are bound by certain rules when it comes to how they dress, accessorize, and even how they wear their makeup. These bizarre royal beauty rules have been passed down for generations. We suppose if they're good enough for the Queen, they're good enough for everyone else. But some of these rules are strange and downright archaic!
What's a Queen or a Duchess without a tiara?! Single, apparently. We're used to seeing Meghan and Kate, and of course Her Royal Highness, decked out in some major head jewels. But they had to earn their right to bling their noggins. And by earn, we mean get married. Only married royal women are permitted to wear tiaras - they're never worn by single royals, or by children. According to Royal expert Grant Harrold, a tiara is a status symbol, and shows that the woman is spoken for. They also give men a heads up not to hit on the tiara-clad lady. Sort of like a wedding ring for your head.
You can't just whip out a tiara and wear it to preschool drop off, or whatever. Which seems like a total waste of a good tiara, but we're not royals so what do we know? Tiaras are only to be worn at official formal royal events. At indoor events, women must switch out their fascinators or hats for a tiara at 6 p.m. on the dot. So only for marrieds, only at formal events, and only after 6 p.m. We have to say, wearing a tiara seems pretty legit, and you'd have to pry ours from our cold, dead hands to keep us from wearing it all the damn time. Tiaras at Target, it would totally work.
We've all seen enough episodes of the Golden Girls to know that ladies of a certain age give no damns and will wear whatever they please. The Queen is a big fan of bright hues, like like fuchsias, bright green, and yellow. But it's not just because she's the Queen and she'll do whatever she wants. She wears head-to-toe bright colors in order to be able to stand out in a crowd. Says her daughter-in-law Sophie, Countess of Wessex, "She needs to stand out for people to be able to say, 'I saw the Queen'. Don't forget that when she turns up somewhere, crowds are two-, three-, four-, 10-, 15-deep, and someone wants to be able to say they saw a bit of the queen's hat as she went past."
Whenever the royals travel, either for official engagements or leisure, the women are required to bring along an all-black outfit. The reasons behind this one are actually pretty sad - it's to guarantee that should a member of the family die when they're away, they can be dressed appropriately for the occasion when they return. When Queen Elizabeth's father passed away in 1952, she was in Kenya. When she returned to the UK immediately following his death, she had to wait on the plane for someone to bring her an appropriately somber change of clothes. A little morbid, yes, but practical.
Royals are discouraged from carrying large handbags. And no, it's not because they have handlers around at all times to carry their belongings. The women are encouraged to carry small clutches or purses, usually in or on their left hand or arm, to keep their hand occupied. When their hands are holding a clutch, it discourages the public from reaching out and trying to shake their hands. According to royal etiquette expert William Hanson, royal protocol dictates that you don't extend your hand to any member of the royal family. You are only to return the gesture if they extend their hand first.
You won't see Kate or Meghan following any of those outrageous nail trends. The Queen prefers a short and well-manicured nail. A nude nail is fine, but if the royal women want to throw on a coat of polish, their options are pretty limited. No brights colors at all - nail colors must be very simple and neutral. The Queen herself has been wearing Essie shade Ballet Slipper for 28 years, so that pale pink is acceptable. Meghan actually caused something of a fingernail firestorm when she appeared at an event with dark polish on her fingernails. Bare or barely there, that's how Her Highness like it.
You may have noticed that all of the royal women seem to follow the same, natural makeup beauty routine (with the occasional deviation). That's because it's less a routine, and more of a requirement. The Queen's beauty routine has been the same for decades, and other royal ladies are required to follow a similar routine. Natural makeup only, nothing gaudy or over-the-top. Think neutrals shadows and lips, simple brown or black eyeliner, and rosy cheeks. A smoky eye is allowed depending on the occasion. But lipstick will always be a neutral pink, nude, or simple red. No fuchsia, coral, or violet for these gals.
Hair must be kept neat at all times. It's rumored that Kate Middleton has a professional blow-out three times a week to keep her hair sleek and polished, and Meghan has been doing the same. Up-dos are fine, as long as they are clean and styled. Even ponytails have to be polished, and don't even think about letting the hair band show. Buns, twists, and chignons are also acceptable, as long as they're neat. Meghan once again caused a bit of a furor when she attended royal events with her hair in a disheveled ballet bun. It seems to be taking her a bit longer to acclimate to the bizarre royal beauty rules. Or maybe she just knows what looks good and doesn't care!
This one is kind of a biggie. Royal women are expected to dress modestly at all times, and that means that they aren't to show even a hint of cleavage. Necklines should be high enough to cover the decolletage, although they don't have to walk around in turtlenecks or anything. Princess Diana was known to push the boundaries on cleavage from time to time with lower necklines. But that's where her trusty clutches came in! Handbag designer Anya Hindmarch says, "We used to laugh when we designed what she called her 'cleavage bags'. [They were] little satin clutches which she would cover her cleavage with when she stepped out of cars."
We are 100% team hat and fascinator, don't get us wrong. They are absolutely amazing and they add such a whimsical touch to what can sometimes be a boring royal outfit. But this is one of the bizarre royal beauty rules, even if it's one we can get behind. Hats must be worn by royal women to all formal events held outside. It's one of those rules that has relaxed a bit over the years, but the Queen feels pretty strongly about this one. They are definitely required at events like weddings and christenings, and the Queen has been known to switch her hats out for a headscarf from time to time. Of course, once 6 p.m. rolls around, they ditch the hats for tiaras!
It happens to the best of us: you catch a glimpse of yourself in a mirror while you're out, and notice your lipstick needs to be refreshed or your mascara left that weird smudge along your eyelid. We would just whip out a compact and fix it right up. But if you're a royal, don't even think about it. Royal women are not allowed to touch up their makeup in public. And they're not really allowed to excuse themselves to use the loo and fix it. So their makeup needs to stay in place for hours. Lots of setting powders and sprays on-hand in the palace for these ladies.
The Queen is a big fan of pantyhose. So much so that she hasn't been caught bare-legged in 91 years! That's a lot of nylons. Kate Middleton started a bit of a fashion trend a few years back when she stepped out in shiny nude hose. And she typically keeps her legs sheathed in nude or dark pantyhose. Meghan, on the other hand, rarely wears pantyhose. But while it definitely seems to be a personal preference of the Queen, it doesn't seem to be one of those bizarre royal beauty rules that she's a stickler for. She loves her traditions, that's for sure.
The one thing we would not be down with when it comes to being a royal is the shoes. Now, we LOVE Kate and Meghan's shoes. They have the shoe closet of our dreams. But good god, their feet must hurt all the time. The Queen likes heels (low and sensible for herself, natch), but she absolutely loathes wedges. Kate Middleton has worn a pair of Stuart Weitzman that she used to wear pretty frequently, but never in the presence of her grandmother-in-law. According to a royal source, "She really doesn't like them, and it's well-known among the women in the family". So when Kate wears her wedges, she makes sure Gran isn't around to see them.
We're used to seeing the royal women dressed to the nines at every event they attend. Even if it's a casual event, the women are typically in dresses and pantsuits. That's because denim, while not expressly forbidden, is considered to be for private use according to royal etiquette. So while Kate and Meghan can wear jeans to say walk the dogs for example, they would usually steer clear of denim for official events. But we've definitely seen them both out at royal events in jeans, so maybe it's a time and place kind of thing? You can't really wear a dress to the Invictus Games, you know?
Let's see. Meghan wears messy ballet buns. She wears jeans. Her dark nails sparked a polish scandal. And she rock s pantsuit like no other. We think maybe Meghan doesn't really give a hoot about some of these bizarre royal beauty rules? The Queen is fond of dresses and skirts, and much prefers them to pantsuits. In Fact, Harry actually nixed the idea of Meghan taking a formal suit on their official tour of Australia! But this one might be a case of what the Queen likes, and not so much a hard and fast rule. We doubt Meghan is getting on her bad side with her impeccable pantsuit choices.
Kate's hemline got tongues wagging in 2011, when a breeze nearly created a royal scandal. The thing is, when you're walking around in dresses all the time, something like this is bound to happen! But a royal is always prepared. Stewart Parvin in one of the Queen's couturiers. He sews small weights into the hems of all her skirts and dresses, to prevent a Marilyn Monroe-moment. Parvin says, "I use curtain weights, lead weights, from Peter Jones’s curtain department. We call them penny weights.." Smart! The last thing the palace wants is an skirt shot to be plastered all over the tabloids, so weighing down those hemlines is the way to go.
Clearly, marrying into the royal family requires adhering to a lot of (fairly bizarre) rules. If you ever have the chance to marry a royal, just know that you won't be picking out your wedding dress! Well, we suppose you can pick it out. But if the Queen doesn't like it, you won't be walking down the aisle in it. Per tradition, the Queen reserves the right to approve every wedding dress worn by a royal. She gave Kate's the final nod, and did the same the Meghan's. No word on what happens if she doesn't like it.
Listen, we're not saying he doesn't look freaking adorable in his little shorts and high socks. But doesn't it get a tad cold in England? Seems weird that the kid wouldn't be allowed to wear pants. But apparently, royal tradition dictates that boys shall wear shorts and knee-high socks, rather than pants. He can start wearing pants when he turns 12, though. On the bright side, we bet this saves the royal seamstresses a lot of time mending holes in his pant knees.
At her age, Queen Elizabeth is all about the sensible shoes. We probably won't see her walking around in Birks, but a well-made, low-heeled pump in her go-to. However, the Queen can't very well have sore feet, you know? And lord knows she doesn't have time to break in her own shoes. In order to make sure the shoes she wears are instantly comfortable, the Queen has staff members who will break them in for her. They put on a pair of beige cotton ankle socks and wear the shoes while walking around the palace. But only on carpet! Can't scuff up her shoes before she's had a chance to wear them, after all.
While gloves aren't technically part of the royal beauty rules, the Queen does encourage them and wears them often. Not only do they make any outfit spiffy, they also serve a very important function! While participating in a receiving line or mingling with the public at an event, the Queen prefers gloves to help keep the germs at bay. Honestly, this is just smart, and we're considering adopting this rule for ourselves and our kids.
It's common for the royal family to pay homage to countries they're visiting while on overseas royal tours. This can mean wearing the national color, dressing in a pattern or style that's common in the country, or even donning an accessory that displays a meaningful emblem from the country. The last few times Kate Middleton has visited Canada, for example, she's worn a diamond brooch in the shape of a maple leaf, and on one visit she wore a fascinator adorned with maple leaves.
Is there anything worse that putting on a fantastic dress, driving to an event, and getting out of the car only to find that the front of your frock now resembles an accordion? Now imagine getting out in front of hundreds of screaming fans and photographers from every publication and website in the world. This is a big reason the royals avoid fabrics that tend to wrinkle easily, like silk or linen. If you've ever wondered why they wear so much tweed and wool, it's because those fabrics would look flawless even if you pulled them from between the couch cushions.
Since the 19th century, the men of the royal family have worn military dress when attending state occasions and special events. Most recently, the whole fam turned out for the Trooping of the Colour, which is basically a parade and ceremony honoring the Queen's birthday. Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince Harry were all dressed on military uniform. They even wear military garb on their wedding days.