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Everything about being a Royal is glamorous -- even traveling. For most of us, when it comes to preparing for a trip, it basically involves packing clothes, maybe downloading new Kindle books, and making sure we know where our passports are. However, if you're apart of The Royal Family, the prep level is kicked up about 20 notches. Prince William and Kate Middleton are no strangers to jet setting, and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are even making sure baby Archie knows his way around a private plane! That doesn't mean that their travels are any less complicated. It's quite the opposite.
Ever wonder about all the moving parts that go into arranging a trip for the Royal Family? Sure, they have added assistance in the huge undertaking, and it's been reported that some trips take up to six months to plan. Between extra security measures, and the protocol that the Royal Family members have to obey, it's a lot. There are specific rules that the royals must abide by and many of them sound more like restrictions -- rather than protections -- to us, but hey that's what comes with being a Royal. Check out 27 traveling rules that The Royal Family must follow while touring around the world.
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The protocol for royals is that when traveling, two heirs should never fly on the same flight together. That way the royal lineage is protected. There’s no official rule in place, but if two heirs want to travel together, they first must seek permission from Queen Elizabeth herself who gets the final say-so on the matter. Prince William was granted permission to bend the rules when his son was just nine months old. In 2014, Prince George accompanied his parents on a tour of Australia and New Zealand, even though he's the next in line for the throne after his dad. (Poor Prince Harry, right?) In September 2016, the family all traveled again, as a family of four this time to Canada with Princess Charlotte.
This is not an actual rule but more of a precaution. The Queen and many other royals will choose not to eat shellfish or anything other types of seafood while traveling to avoid food poisoning and prevent any unforeseen allergic reactions. The last thing anybody wants (even regular folk) is to get sick from shellfish, especially while away from home. Prince Charles, however, will happily slurp up an oyster at any time. Living life on the wild side.
With their hectic travel schedules, a case of food poisoning could wreak havoc on the Royal family, the country they host, and their support staff. The royals are also advised to avoid tap water and rare meats to prevent potential hazards -- but that's true for all of us, really.
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Even the most glamorous plebs tend to dress down and prioritize comfort on a long flight. Comfy jeans, track pants, sweatshirts, and sneakers is the typical airport dress code, but not for the Royal fam. The Royal Family always travels in style, and they must look polished and put-together when they reach their destination -- no matter how long the flight. When Kate and William travel, she sports a long dress or a signature two-piece suit, and the Prince usually dons a blazer and a fresh pair of slacks or a suit.
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The royals don't use personalized Louis Vuitton suitcases or anything like that when they travel, they have a whole color-coded and monogrammed system for their bags. Each family has a colored tag to symbolize to whom each bag belongs. Prince George's color is baby blue, of course! Those who have caught a peek at the royal luggage has said that Prince William's bag had the letter W with a crown on it. Having your initials on your luggage definitely makes it less likely to get your bags mixed up with someone else's.
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As a rule, all members of the British royal family, they must always travel with at least one black outfit in their luggage. This is a precaution in case a family member dies during their foreign travels. The rule is a saving grace to make sure that the royals are duly dressed when they come back to the United Kingdom from their trip. It's been reported that this rule was created by Queen Elizabeth II back in 1952 after she was in Kenya with Prince Phillip and received news that her father, George VI, had passed away. The Queen didn't have a black dress with her, and instead of being perceived as disrespectful and being viewed in color after her father's passing, she apparently had someone board the flight with a black garment for her to change into before disembarking.
The Royal Family has a list of specific clothing that they must pack when traveling outside of the United Kingdom. The little boys must have at least five pairs of different colored shorts in their luggage. A general Royal Family rule is that young princes must wear shorts until they are around age nine or so, which is why you always see Prince George sporting them! Also, the girls must have “no less than ten barrettes” in their suitcase, and according to reports, the Duchess of Cambridge and Duchess of Sussex must have at least two pairs of beige pumps in their luggage.
Public displays of affection are frowned upon for the Royal Family -- especially during travel. We’ve definitely seen Prince Harry and Meghan Markle break protocol when it comes to this rule, but that's just the way they are! The idea is that PDA could make other, more conservative cultures, feel uncomfortable or even offended. So, if you check out the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's visit to the Taj Mahal in 2016, you’ll now get why their poses were so stoic. Every now and again, one of the Royals will break this rule and show their love some love, but when they are around the Queen, there’s no PDA whatsoever.
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When members of the Royal Family travel with their kids, they must have a nanny present. It makes sense, they can’t take the children everywhere they go while on tours, plus a lot of their travel is more of a work obligation. Many mommas know that traveling with a six-month-old isn’t easy, especially when you have as many daily appointments as the Royals do. It would be quite difficult to shake hands, receive gifts, and give your baby a bottle at the same time, so even if this *is* a Royal travel rule, it's totally necessary.
We're not sure that every single royal does this, but Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall (Camila Parker-Bowles) have said that while they travel, they take their own alcohol. They "BYOB" so nobody will have to make them a drink, which eliminates ther no danger of their drinks being spiked. Apparently, their police bodyguard will discreetly carry a bag of their favorite drinks (red wine for her and gin and tonic for him). When you think of it, that's not a bad way to travel. You definitely wouldn't spend all of your money buying expensive drinks by the pool or be tempted to raid the super expensive minibar. Not that we really think that's what the Royal family is thinking about.
The Royals are obligated to accept every gift offered to them, no matter the size, whether they're traveling or not. Everywhere the royals go, they are presented with all sorts of gifts from large bouquets of flowers to stuffed animals. In October 2018 when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were on tour in Australia, they received hundreds of stuffed toys. But it's typical for the family to receive handmade cards, bouquets of flowers, and even gigantic posters from fans while walking around. These gifts never stay in their hands for too long and are usually passed to someone in their entourage to carry. Then, if the Royal family won't use the gifts, they're donated.
The Royal Family doesn’t have to wait in long customs lines like the rest of do, but they still have to have passports and go through an immigration process. Even little Prince George had to get one before his first trip. The whole Royal group has to go through standard custom procedures in each country they visit. The only person that doesn’t require a passport is Queen Elizabeth. She gets special treatment but still has to share her full name, age, nationality, address, birthplace, and gender when she flies in and out of the U.K..
Queen Elizabeth II always travels with her foolproof remedy for jetlag, which is barley sugar. Every time the Queen travels through different time zones, it takes her quite a bit of time to recover. But, the mix of barley sugar uses her body’s sugar metabolic pathways to enable her body to adjust itself. If you want to travel like the Queen, just keep barley sugar in your carry-on bag. Life hack!
Queen Elizabeth II refuses to eat garlic both while traveling and in Britain. But the rest of the royals are not allowed to eat garlic or dishes that contain the heart-healthy staple that is known for its super pungent aroma only while on a royal tour. The flavorful addition is banned because of the bad breath it dishes out, and the Queen doesn’t want anyone, including herself, to greet important people with garlic breath. One could imagine how embarrassing that would be to stink when shaking hands with a dignitary. According to a report, garlic has been banned from the menu over at Buckingham Palace.
Embracing royals is pretty much off-limits, but not just for security reasons. Most royals are fairly formal in the way they greet the public, and will only shake hands. However, Meghan Markle is quite the opposite and at times will go right in for hugs. People magazine reported that at an event for International Women’s Day, a 10-year-old girl named Sophia Richards had told Prince Harry she wants to be an actress and when he bought her over to meet Meghan, she embraced her!
Just like celebrities have personal bodyguards, it's just as essential for the Royal Family to keep security personnel nearby. The royals usually cause a frenzy wherever they travel, so at all times -- especially while traveling abroad -- they need security guards to protect their safety. The Royal Family travels with both a security team and bodyguards at all times. According to reports, The Royal Family has five armed guards with them 24/7. When Meghan Markle flew to New York City for her baby shower, she had hers in tow to ensure her safety while in the U.S.
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When the British Royal Family flies commercial, they must support their own country and go with British Airways. William and Kate experienced the same frustrations of air travel that we all do when the plane's in-flight entertainment broke in 2011. Royals, they're just like us! The Duchess is very accustomed to flying the airline since her mom and dad both worked for British Airways long before she became a Royal. In December 2017, Harry and Meghan were spotted on a British Airways flight to Nice, sitting towards the back of the plane by the restrooms.
Packing your own personal blood bag doesn’t make checklists for trips for commoners like us, but when it comes to HRH, anything is possible. Apparently Queen Elizabeth II and her son Prince Charles will always bring their own bag of blood with them when they travel to countries where the blood supply is questionable. However, in order to even perform a blood transfusion, you would need to have a doctor on deck, which is why there is a Navy doctor who travels with every royal on his or her trip just in case of emergency.
When royals go out in public, no matter if they're traveling or not, once they have a coat on they are not allowed to take it off until they're behind closed doors. If they’re hot? It doesn’t matter. Once they have it on, it can’t come off for any reason -- that's just the rule. For the ladies, its deemed unladylike to be seen wearing less clothing than you were wearing previously. That sounds uncomfortable, especially because the rule stands even if they walk indoors. The only exception is if they're explicitly instructed to take off their coat by a host. So if you’ve ever seen a photo where a Royal Family member looks toasty in their coat, now you know why!
This next rule sounds a bit weird, but the Queen is one who firmly follows this protocol explicitly with the help of her curator and personal stylist, Angela Kelly. Members of the Royal Family need to bring outfit duplicates while they're traveling in case there's some kind of wardrobe emergency like stains, spills, or tears. That way they will be able to change quickly during those high-profile events and meetings without making headlines for changing their outfit during the day! Royals are so scrutinized, after all. It's a pretty smart move on the Royals' parts, and it's easy for them to travel with two pairs of the same outfit because they don't have to worry about checked baggage fees.
When the royals travel, there’s absolutely no room for spontaneity. Every minute of each day is planned carefully. They need proper security measures for every trip they take and can't decide last-minute on some adventure, so it makes sense. The Royal aides have been seen carrying a spiral-bound notebook apparently filled with the detailed itineraries of each family member to stay informed on the day’s events.
Most pregnant women are advised to not travel in their third trimester, but pregnant royals are directed not to travel at all during their pregnancies, especially not overseas. According to reports, Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton, and other pregnant women in the Royal Family have been encouraged to keep their traveling abroad to an absolute minimum for safety measures.
They're encouraged to stay close to home as much as possible so that if there's an emergency help is more readily available to them. Kate did travel to Norway while she was pregnant with Prince Louis, but she's said to have kept other trips to a minimum. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made a royal visit to Morocco when she was seven months, and reportedly that trip was approved by the Queen herself.
Since every member of the Royal Family is representing the British monarchy and the United Kingdom while traveling, its vital that they all learn the basic greetings in each country’s native language before they travel to them. It’s been reported that the palace aids are always on hand to help each royal prepare before their very important visit. Before the royals visit the country, they also practice the etiquette of the culture or country in order to make sure they will be making the best first impression on their trip. Behind the scenes, there’s a lot of prep happening, especially when a royal travels to a country they have never been before.
For security reasons, the Royals are not allowed to take selfies with fans or sign autographs. It's considered dangerous to have any visual evidence of a royal's handwriting for fear of forgery. When Prince Charles is asked for an autograph, he's been known to say, "I'm sorry, they don't allow me to do that." However, Meghan Markle was called out for breaking said rule when she signed an autograph book that belonged to ten-year-old Caitlin Clark. Her autograph is out there from many years on Suits, so that might explain it.
When it comes to selfies, it's not a total no, but the Queen advises against it. Still, William, Kate, Harry, and Meghan will sometimes take selfies with fans.
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This rule holds true when the royals are traveling, and even they are not. Anyone who dines with the Queen must adhere to this one simple rule, which is to follow the Queen's move. So, if the Queen stops eating, everyone must stop eating at the table. That must be hard if you're still hungry, but the Queen is in charge, so if you ever find yourself sitting at the same table as Queen Elizabeth II, you should probably eat at her pace just in case she ends up getting through her food before you would.
This is another rule that stands both in Britain and abroad, but it's vital when a Royal is traveling. A woman in the royal family must sit with her legs crossed at the knee at all times. Crossing their ankles is fine, but their legs and knees must always be kept together. Beaumont Etiquette coined the pose as "the duchess slant," named for the Duchess of Cambridge. Middleton's go-to position when she sits is slanting her legs to the side as she keeps her knees and ankles tightly together. It gives her a modest posture, and the look also makes her legs look longer. It's known that the late Princess Diana sat the same exact way.
When the royals travel, their entire squad must follow suit. When Kate goes away, her personal hairdresser, her private secretary, and the royal nanny are not far behind. Others that are expected on the trip include Jason Kanuf, who’s the communications chief to William, Kate, and Harry, press officer Charlotte Poole, senior communications officer Katrina McKeever, and William's private secretary Miguel Head. That’s a lot of people, but when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travel, all of their personnel are obliged to join.
When the Royal family is traveling, the photographs you see afar may be random, but any staged photograph is by a background-checked royal photographer. Photographer Arthur Edwards is a frequent addition on the royal tours and has the job of capturing the perfect shot for the family. HRH & co. sometimes bring several photographers while traveling for more options. Royal tours are always “choreographed to the minute” with details decided way in advance, even ones as small as when the Queen sits down to eat dinner to the very exact moments she gets into a vehicle. In order to capture every moment, several people must be on call.