The Strange Rules of the Royal Family
We just can't help but be fascinated by the British royal family. To this day, there is just something so enchanting and alluring about the life of queens and princes, dukes and duchesses.
But a royal life comes with a lifetime of rules and regulations that determine where you go, what you do, and how you are allowed to present yourself to the public. Here are 30 of the strangest rules that a royal must live by.
Queen Elizabeth II Never Goes Anywhere Without Her Own Blood Supply
When you’re a member of the royal family, you travel around a lot. And when you travel around a lot, you can’t always be sure about the quality of medical supplies in a given location. To that end, Queen Elizabeth II never goes anywhere without containers of blood on standby in case she needs any kind of transfer in the wake of injury or illness.
No Royal Travels Anywhere Without a Black Outfit
This one actually has a practical origin story. When Queen Elizabeth was still only a princess, she was traveling abroad when there came word that her father, King George V, had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away.
No Touching Commoners
We all grow up with dreams of being swept off our feet by a prince and riding off into the sunset, or sweeping a princess off her feet and doing the same. Turns out, that’s even less likely than you might have assumed. In the rare event that you do get close to a member of the royal family, it is widely understood that the only physical interaction allowed is a formal handshake.
The Queen Demands Her Crust Always Be Cut Off
You could fill an entire book with all the different culinary habits and preferences of the royal family. Come to think of it, that book almost certainly already exists. One particularly fascinating and widely known foible is that Queen Elizabeth frequently dines on tuna sandwiches, but always with the crusts neatly cut off.
There Will Be No Garlic With Dinner
Buckingham Palace is home to meals both wildly sumptuous and extremely functional. You might be served something expensive and world-class, and you might get something simple and easy. One thing you will most assuredly never taste while the current queen is still in power: garlic.
No Shellfish Allowed on the Road
The royal family are some of the most important cultural ambassadors in the United Kingdom, if not the entire world. It is important for them to always put their best face forward when going out on trips. To accomplish this, official royal guidelines remove even the chance of an upset stomach.
Queen Elizabeth Always Wears the Same Color Nail Polish
Consistency is always important for the royal image. In 1989, Queen Elizabeth’s official hairdresser reached out to the makers of Essie Nail Polish to request an order of "Ballet Slippers" polish. This pink-hued sheer finish has been Her Majesty’s go-to shade ever since, and it has been adopted by much of the rest of the family, including Kate Middleton.
There's a Reason Behind Those Neon Suits
One thing you might notice if you’ve ever seen any picture of the Queen is that it’s awfully hard to miss her. Queen Elizabeth is known for brightly colored suits and hats that she wears out to almost any public event. It makes her extremely hard to miss.
Monopoly Is Off the Table
The royal family is about as different from your family as it’s possible to get, assuming that your family is not also royal in some way. But a royal family is still a family, and much like any family, it sounds like the inhabitants of Buckingham Palace can get a touch too competitive during family game night.
Prince Phillip Has Someone Else Squeeze His Toothpaste
The royal family often tries to come across as normal and down to earth, but that doesn’t prevent them from indulging in the luxuries afforded them by their stature. Princess Diana’s former butler, Paul Burrell, revealed that Prince Charles insists on everything from his clothing to his bath plug being laid out exactly the way he desires.
You'll Never See the Queen's Skirts Fly Up
It’s the little things that keep an empire afloat. The tiniest flaws can shatter an image of strength and superiority, even something as simple as a helicopter or plane messing up a world leader’s outfit or hair. But Queen Elizabeth has been interacting with planes and copters all her life, and she has avoiding these disasters down to a science.
Royals Don't Have Last Names
Many last names originated as descriptions of a family’s job or trade, and, well, the royal family don’t really have anything like that. As such, the royals have never had ‘real’ surnames, instead being known either by first names or official titles.
The Real Entourage
How many people does it take to make sure a queen stays regal no matter what the situation? That’s not a joke; there is an actual answer to this question. 34 assistants, stylists, and secretaries accompany Her Majesty everywhere she goes. This well-trained platoon making sure everything runs smoothly.
Royal Boys Only Wear Shorts
One thing you will never see as the young princes grow up is one of the boys in full pants. Yup, apparently trousers are considered middle class and suburban wear, something the royal family takes great pains to live beyond.
Don't Expect an Autograph
Again, what might seem like a hoity-toity decision actually has some practical thought behind it. Autographs are banned in order to prevent foreigners from stealing a family member’s signature and getting up to who knows what mischief with it.
The Queen Gets Two Birthdays
"Giving yourself an extra birthday" is the kind of thing kids playing at being kings and queens might declare, right alongside homework being illegal and dessert allowed before dinner. But Queen Elizabeth does indeed celebrate two birthdays. One is on her actual birthday, April 21, which is a closed family affair.
7-Year-Old Cake Is Served at Christenings
Yes, you read that right: The royal family has a fruit cake originally served at Prince William and Duchess Kate’s 2011 wedding, and this same cake has been served at multiple christenings now. However, before you feel disgusted from picturing biting into that, it should be noted that this particular cake has been made with brandy, which helps it to last so many years in between gatherings.
The Queen Doesn't Need a Driver's License
If you’re having a tough time imagining the Queen of England waiting in line at the RMV, that’s because it’s never actually happened. While the queen does indeed drive, she has never had to take a driving test, not even as her age has progressed into her 90s.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip Are Cousins
Here’s one that maybe wasn’t covered in The Crown: Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip are actually related as more than just husband and wife. They are third cousins, with shared great-great-grandparents in Queen Victoria (she of, "We are not amused," fame) and Prince Albert.
Prince Harry Served in Afghanistan
No one is exactly sure what Prince Harry got up to when he was deployed to the frontlines of Afghanistan on a secret mission in 2008. What we know for sure is that Harry graduated from the Royal Military Academy as a second lieutenant and was subsequently deployed in some kind of covert capacity.
The Queen Uses Her Purse to Send Secret Messages
Handbags aren’t just an accessory for the royal family. In situations where diplomacy and politeness are considered of the utmost importance, Her Majesty can’t just brush an irritant aside with a muttered "New phone, who dis?" and move along to the next conversation.
Royals Are Offended by the Words "Pardon" and "Perfume"
It may seem like an extremely inoffensive way to signal to someone that you didn’t hear what they said, but apparently ‘pardon’ is verboten in Buckingham Palace. ‘Pardon’ is considered inappropriate, and the royals would rather you say "Sorry?" or "What?" if you need something clarified or repeated.
They Take Hostages
Before you get too excited, this isn’t Die Hard: Royal Edition. The taking of a hostage is nothing but a small nod to the traditional proceedings in olden times when it was never clear if a ruler would be able to return alive following a meeting with Parliament or the monarch’s enemies.
A Royal Visit Lasts at Most 40 Minutes
While it’s true that the royal family get to visit the most beautiful and popular places on Earth, most of their stops are shorter than the average tour. Every minute of their trips is tightly scheduled, and much of the time is spent in official meetings, so there’s never very much time for actual sightseeing.
Hats Are a Must
The crown is an important symbol, but even without it, royal fashion dictates that a hat is an absolute must at any official function. This rule was first imposed during the 1950s, when fashion mores were starting to change significantly.
The Queen Trained as a Mechanic
It’s difficult to think of any of the royal family getting their hands dirty, but World War II was a pretty severe ‘all hands on deck’ kind of moment. That included Queen Elizabeth, who was then still ‘only’ a princess. Just a teenager at the time, Elizabeth trained with machinery and had a crash course in driving.
Fashion Is Part of Diplomacy
It’s important for the family to look good, but not only because they want to make a classy appearance. The royal family often uses their clothing and accessories to pay tribute to whichever country they are visiting as a gesture of respect and community. This brings international attention to local cultures.
They Get Christmas Presents Early
Here’s one tradition that doesn’t even stem from the royal family’s own tangled history of habits and rules: Rather than opening their presents on Christmas morning, the official unwrapping portion of the holiday is held during teatime on Christmas Eve. Yup, even Santa gives them special treatment.
Kate Middleton Was the First Royal Bride With a Degree
While the royal family has high standards when it came to approving new members, Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge, was the first royal bride to have earned a college degree when she wed Prince William in 2011. Middleton has a Masters in Art History, earned from the University of St. Andrews in 2005.
Nicknames Are Off Limits
Here’s one rule that was made to be broken. While nicknames are forbidden, they’re hard to resist within a family. Prince William and Kate Middleton are rumored to refer to each other as ‘Big Willie’ and ‘Babykins’ when out of the public eye.