Princess Charlotte, Tiara, Flowers
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29+ Rules Royal Children Must Follow


| LAST UPDATE 05/02/2021

By Genevieve Scott

Being next in line for the throne doesn't come without a price, and the kids growing up in Buckingham palace know it first hand. From boarding schools to board-game bans, hang on while we walk you through the rules royal children must follow.

Mandatory Etiquette Training

"As soon as they're old enough to sit at a table," the royal children are expected to attend etiquette training, as etiquette expert Myka Meier revealed. What does that mean exactly? From the moment they enter this world, kids of the Royal Family are taught to be on their best behavior - always.

Prince George, Prince WilliamPrince George, Prince William
Chris Jackson/Staff via Getty Images

From "having formal meals, going to formal events, and practicing everything," as Meier told People, these children are taught perfect posture, "voice levels... dressing appropriately... even, of course, how to curtsy and bow." And then there's the "Windsor wave," which they need to perfect.

They Need to Have a Passport

For most babies, the need for a passport probably isn't one of mom and dad's first concerns. But, of course, royal babies are a bit different than the average newborn. Perhaps that's why, while Queen Elizabeth surprisingly doesn't own one, her heirs are required to hold a passport upon birth.

Prince William, Family, RulesPrince William, Family, Rules
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As a matter of fact, royal babies are not only issued a passport from the moment they're born, but they must also be prepared to fly internationally at, literally, any given moment. Just like Meghan and Harry's baby Archie, who found himself in Cape Town, South Africa, at just four months old.

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Must Attend Royal Engagements

With the help of their etiquette training, the royal children are expected to attend just about every royal engagement. From Christenings to weddings, to everything in between, these little ones will almost always be in attendance - before becoming full-time working royals, like their parents, of course.

Kate Middleton, Kids, RulesKate Middleton, Kids, Rules
Karwai Tang/Contributor via Getty Images

Of course, though, it's no surprise that these children must go through extensive etiquette training before undergoing endless hours of standing on their feet or constantly waving towards the crowd - which brings us to our next royal rule. Keep scrolling!

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Expected to Greet People With the Windsor Wave

As we already know, just about every member of the royal family is under the public eye from day one. Meaning? From the moment our royal children step into a crowd, these curious toddlers are expected to greet the public with the famous Windsor Wave, something they're taught early on.

Prince George, Wave, RulesPrince George, Wave, Rules
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What exactly does the wave consist of? According to royal etiquette expert Myka Meier, the entire process calls for three simple steps: Elbow pointed down towards the ground, all five fingers brought together, and a soft back-and-forth movement from the wrist, as Princess Charlotte clearly perfected!

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They Have to Curtsy to the Queen

We now know how they must act in front of us, but how about when they're dealing with the Queen? As The Royal Household put it, starting from age 5, female royals are expected to curtsy, while the males, a neck-down bow. So too, they must address Queen Elizabeth II as "Your Majesty," followed by "Ma'am," the following exchange.

Queen Elizabeth II, CurtsyQueen Elizabeth II, Curtsy
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As for what makes a "proper" curtsy? One leg placed behind the other, the bending of the knees, and a slight head bow. Then again, if they'd like to show full respect and formality, these little ones opt for a deeper curtsy and longer pause, as etiquette expert, Myka Meier explained.

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Heirs Can't Travel Together

This next rule makes perfect sense on paper, even if it dates back to a time we can't relate to, back when flying wasn't as simple and normalized as it was now: Unless the Queen says otherwise, no two heirs are allowed to fly together, in case of an accident, which would threaten the line of succession.

Prince George, Heir, RulesPrince George, Heir, Rules
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This means, technically, Prince William, second in line, and his son, Prince George, aren't allowed to fly together - though Grandma has made many generous exceptions over the years, as seen above. As for what's non-negotiable? The next royal rule…

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Required to Learn a Second Language

Considering our little royals do a lot of traveling, perhaps it's no surprise that they're expected to become bilingual at a pretty young age. In fact, did you know that Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, and Prince William are all fluent in a second language? Yep, French. But they're not the only ones.

Princess Diana, Rules, LanguagePrincess Diana, Rules, Language
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According to The Royal Household, the Duchess of Cambridge, too, knows a bit of French, though, if you ask her, it could use a bit of practice. "My language is so bad, I have to make sure my children are better than me," she allegedly joked to a Leicester crowd, before teaching Prince George Spanish at just two-years-old.

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Boys Must Wear Shorts

Learning the Windsor Wave or a bit of French isn't the only signifier separating these royals from commoners. According to BBC News, royal boys are also required to wear shorts until they reach the age of 8, an ancient tradition signifying higher class.

Prince Harry, Prince WilliamPrince Harry, Prince William
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In fact, "It's a very English thing to [do]," as etiquette expert, William Hanson explained. "Trousers are for older boys and men, whereas shorts on young boys is one of those silent class markers that we have." Even Prince William and Harry once took up this valued tradition, which you can see for yourself above!

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Girls Must Wear Dresses

Much like the royal boys, who are forced to wear shorts, our royal girls are required to wear dresses, something even the Queen's daughter, Princess Anne, once honored. As royal expert Marlene Koenig specified, the females typically gear towards "smocked dresses as little girls when they are in public with their parents."

Princess Charlotte, Uniform, DressPrincess Charlotte, Uniform, Dress
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Just like Princess Charlotte, who we can almost always catch in a "clean traditional look," as childrenswear designer, Rachel Riley put it. But the frilly attire, an attempt to avoid looking "out of date," as Riley explained, typically comes off when the little ones are at home, instead, swapped with casual loungewear.

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Siblings Must Match in Public

Sorry, folks, our next rule might bring back some unwanted childhood memories for you: Believe it or not, our royal children are, too, forced to match with their siblings, when out and about in public. In the olden days, it was Princes and Princesses who coordinated outfits while carrying out public appearances. As for today?

Prince George, Matching, UniformPrince George, Matching, Uniform
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It appears the tradition is still very much alive, with Princess Charlotte and Prince George often spotted out in matching attire - can't promise you they're happy about that one, though. Did you know Prince William and Harry, too, once followed this beloved tradition?

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Required to Have Good Posture

Of course, with proper etiquette also comes proper posture, as seen below: The matter is very important in the Royal family, as just about every action as a Royal is required to be graceful. Perhaps that's why female royal children are taught the "Duchess slant" at a young age, as royal etiquette expert, Myka Meier revealed. 

Royal, Family, Rules, PortraitRoyal, Family, Rules, Portrait
Anwar Hussein/Contributor via Getty Images

What exactly is it? As Meier put it, the royal deed calls for keeping one's knees and heels together - or, ankles crossed, if more comfortable - while legs are slanted at an angle, and hands, crossed over the knees, while seated. Overwhelming, we know. Contrarily, royal men can't stand with their hands in their pockets.

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Must Join Their Parents on Royal Tours

As we already know, royal newborns and passports practically go hand in hand - and it's with good reason. Regardless of their age, royal children are expected to join their parents on their royal tours, no matter what part of the globe it may take them. Just like baby Archie, who we caught in Cape Town at just four-months-old.

Baby Archie, Meghan MarkleBaby Archie, Meghan Markle
Pool/Samir Hussein/Contributor via Getty Images

From collaborations with charity organizations to meeting with foreign leaders, baby Archie stuck by mom and dad - or should we say, the Sussexes' - side all throughout. And, no surprise, the little guy was a crowd-pleaser, as seen above, with South African activist Desmond Tutu.

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Required to Get a Driver's License Eventually

Aside from the fact that they drive on the Left (which some might call the "opposite" - don't quote us on that one, though) side of the road, Britain has another interesting driving law: The Queen is the only citizen who can drive without having a license or ever taking an actual driving test. In other words?

Driving, Queen, Rule, WilliamDriving, Queen, Rule, William
Tim Graham/Contributor via Getty Images

All of her heirs must pass their very own driving tests when the time comes. How does Buckingham Palace put it? The Queen doesn't need a license, because all driving licenses are issued in her name. Interesting. Though we should point out she has been driving since she was 19, so she must know her way around the wheel, right?

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Typically Forbidden to Wear Black

Can you remember the last time you caught the Queen stepping out in a little black number? No? There's a reason for that. According to The Royal Household, the color black is typically reserved for mourning. In other words, the entire Royal family, children included, are forbidden from wearing the color to daytime events.

Prince George, Black, RulesPrince George, Black, Rules
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Of course, though, there have been a few exceptions, like the time Prince George served as a page boy at his uncle's wedding. Nonetheless, every Royal must pack at least one black ensemble when traveling, a tradition dating back to when the Queen's father suddenly passed while she was abroad, without a black dress in tow.

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Boys Have to Join the Army

We're typically used to seeing them all prim and proper, but believe it or not, male royal children are allowed to get their hands dirty every once in a while. In fact, sometimes it's actually required of them: When they grow up, men in the royal family are expected to join the army and excel in their ranks.

Prince William, Army, ShockingPrince William, Army, Shocking
Chris Jackson/Staff via Getty Images

Just like Prince Charles, a Navy veteran, and his sons, pictured above, who served in the Air Force and Army, respectively. "As you climb each step, think of the thousands of officers who have gone before you... you join them in one of the greatest careers... a wonderful... service," the Countess of Wessex explained of the rule.

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Must Play Outside

Here's something most of our childhood selves would probably like to hear: Not only is recess time allowed for the royal kids, but a trip to the playground is actually required. Why? So that the little guys can release their built-up energy, helping them (hopefully) remain cool and collected during the next royal event.

Prince George, Outside, RulesPrince George, Outside, Rules
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But that's not all. Over the years, the Duchess of Cambridge has supported many causes dedicated to helping children develop a love for the great outdoors. So perhaps Prince George and Princess Charlotte's outdoor playtime goes beyond releasing the latest sugar rush, after all.

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Baby Food is Forbidden

Did we really think Prince Harry and Prince William's lunchboxes once consisted of canned Gerber assortments or Mott's apple sauce? Not only are the royal children's dining menus slightly different than ours, but they also call for their very own personal chef, at their disposal whenever snack-time hits.

Prince Harry, Chef, BuckinghamPrince Harry, Chef, Buckingham
Anwar Hussein/Contributor via Getty Images

As for what young Harry and William were once putting into their little tummies? Former royal chef, Darren McGrady, revealed to Today that their menu once consisted of carefully steamed apples and pears, which, no surprise, earned the boys' approval. Yep, only a little bit jealous here.

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School Attendance is Mandatory

For anyone who ever thought that The Prince & Me was simply another fairytale, well, yes, it was, but the rom-com actually wasn't that far off: Not only are royal kids expected to attend school - like Princess Charlotte, who joined her brother at Thomas's Battersea - but they also set off for college when the time comes.

Prince Harry, School, CollegePrince Harry, School, College
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In other words, while Queen Elizabeth and those before her may have been homeschooled, today's royals, such as Prince Harry and William -who both attended Eton College - are allowed to choose where they call home for four(+) years, so long as they actually attend.

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Shellfish is Forbidden

We know that former royal chef, Darren McGrady's pantry was stocked with the freshest of fruits, but what's one thing that never made it to his kitchen? Seafood - shellfish in particular. The reason? With endless appearances lined up throughout the year, the royals simply need to stay nice and healthy.

Princess Diana, Food, ForbiddenPrincess Diana, Food, Forbidden
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But that's not the only dish our royal children will never get their polished hands on. From rare meat to foreign water, the Royal family steers clear of spicy and exotic foods, anything that might call for, what BBC News calls "gastronomic indisposition," - or what we simply call an upset stomach. 

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They Can't Have Nicknames

No surprise here, we'll never hear the Royal family addressing one another by a nickname, anything other than their full formal name. What is a surprise, though? That the Queen boasts her very own nickname behind closed doors: "Cabbage," by her husband, Prince Philip.

Prince George, Nickname, QueenPrince George, Nickname, Queen
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If only we were a fly on those Palace walls. But while Queen Elizabeth II and her heirs keep their nicknames to themselves - aside from those too young to do so, of course - at least we now know why Kate Middleton only answers to Catherine or the 'Duchess of Sussex.'

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They Can't Play Monopoly

Our next royal rule might just make you feel a bit better about being a commoner: The Royal family can't play Monopoly, ever. That's right, let that one sink in. Rumor has it, things got out of hand after Prince Harry swindled some green bills from the Bank one night.

Princess Diana, Monopoly, SecretPrincess Diana, Monopoly, Secret
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Just kidding. As Prince Andrew once put it, "We're not allowed to play Monopoly at home. It gets too vicious," the Duke of York jokingly revealed, after being gifted the board game back in 2008 by the Leeds Building Society. Consider us intrigued...

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Always Part of the Bridal Party at Royal Weddings

What's that we hear? Nope, not the wedding bells, we're talking about the muffled whispers and giggles coming straight from the aisle. Not only are the youngest of the adorable royal children labeled 'page boy' or 'flower girl' when their relatives decide to tie the knot, but they never disappoint.

Royal wedding, Prince GeorgeRoyal wedding, Prince George
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Well, um, we guess it depends on who you're asking. Sure, they might not be the best at keeping a straight face or walking in a straight path, but the pint-sized kids sure know how to steal the show. Look no further than Prince George and Princess Charlotte, who took their wedding duties very seriously, of course.

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They Must Listen to Their Nanny

They say it takes a village, but in Buckingham Palace, well, it actually takes one special person: The nanny. Sure, we might not hear much about 'em or catch 'em on diaper duty (not that we're complaining), but they too, boast hectic travel and appearance schedules - even if royal parents are more involved now than in past years.

Prince George, Nanny, RulesPrince George, Nanny, Rules
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Just like baby whisperer, Maria Borrallo, otherwise known as the real-life, royal Marry Poppins. Upon graduating from Noreland College, the famous nanny learned "everything from defensive driving to security issues, to how to care for a future King or Queen," as Royal Commentator Victoria Murphy revealed to ABC News.

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They Must Obey Security Measures

When just about all eyes - and cameras - are on you, it's no surprise that the royal children are met with their very own security detail. Both the Palace and royal mommies and daddies go above and beyond to make sure their little ones are protected at all times, including the limiting of photographers during royal events.

Kate Middleton, Baby, SecurityKate Middleton, Baby, Security
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How does ABC News Royal Contributor, Omid Scobie explain it? Much like Princess Diana, who, "Never let protocol and the palace walls get in the way of raising her boys," the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge "want to bring up their children as normal as possible." Consider us impressed.

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Their Birth Must Be Made Public

Breaking news! After the birth of a royal baby, a sign is proudly plastered outside Buckingham Palace, featuring the gender and time of delivery. Then, the news is taken to Facebook and Twitter, because, well, welcome to 2021, folks. After that? A town crier announces the news - but only after a super secretive phone call.

Royal baby, Buckingham PalaceRoyal baby, Buckingham Palace
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"The parent of the child must immediately call the Queen on a special encrypted telephone," upon welcoming their latest arrival, as royal protocol states. Does this mean Prince Charles will be receiving late night calls once it's his turn to take the throne?

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They Must Be Baptized

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage - but not before he's baptized in a ceremony dating all the way back to the 19th century: About 2-3 months after birth, our royal babies are Christened in a traditional white gown replicating the one commissioned by Queen Victoria back in 1841.

Princess Diana, Baptism, BabyPrincess Diana, Baptism, Baby
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Royals like Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis have all worn the replica after the original was retired back in 2004. As for the ceremony? Led by the Archbishop of Canterbury and featuring holy water from the Jordan River, the babies are then baptized in a gilded silver bowl used by almost all royals since 1841.

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They Need the Queen's Approval to Keep Gifts From the Public

Being pampered with lavish gifts is nice and all, but how about when Queen Elizabeth II decides to toss them to the curb? According to the official royal website, any present the Queen's children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren - you get the gist - receive at events and public outings aren't theirs until she says so.

Prince George, Gift, QueenPrince George, Gift, Queen
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"Any gifts received on official duty aren't the young royals' personal property but belong to the Queen, who has the final say in what's kept and what will be donated," as official protocol states. One of the deciding factors? It must be under £150.

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Can't Open Presents on Christmas Day

Believe it or not, on December 25th, as Santa Klaus makes his way to town, the royal children are actually forbidden to see for themselves what wrapped goodies his little helpers have waiting for them under the tree. But don't you worry, it has nothing to do with who did or didn't make the Naughty List.

Duchess of Cambridge, ChristmasDuchess of Cambridge, Christmas
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The truth? The Royal family follows the German tradition of opening presents on Christmas Eve. Instead, the family attends church service at St. Mary Magdalene Chapel the following morning, followed by the Queen's annual Christmas lunch - which we can't help but drool at the thought of.

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They Can't Call the Queen "Grandma"

Don't worry. They're not busy calling her "Your Royal Highness" or "Ma'am." Instead? Queen Elizabeth II is simply "Granny" or "Gran-Gran," as the Duchess of Cambridge revealed in BBC documentary, Our Queen at 90, about her little ones. As for what her husband, Prince William, opts for?

Queen Elizabeth II, GrandmaQueen Elizabeth II, Grandma
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"After a fall at Buckingham Palace, the Prince cried out for, 'Gary, Gary,'" columnist, Richard Kay, once revealed. "When a guest asked who Gary was, the Queen stepped in and explained: "I'm Gary. He hasn't learned to say Granny yet."' How sweet, though something tells us he's since tweaked that nickname. Just a hunch.

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Girls Can't Wear Tiaras Until their Wedding

Last but not least, it's the moment we've been waiting for: Time to bring out the diamonds, lots of them. But did you know, the blinding stones encrusted on those breathtaking tiaras are actually reserved for married women and married women only? Yep, sorry, Princess Charlotte, looks like flower crowns it is.

Princess Charlotte, Tiara, FlowersPrincess Charlotte, Tiara, Flowers
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"The first time a tiara is worn is by the bride on her wedding day. It signals the crowning of love and the loss of innocence," as Geoffrey Munn, author of Tiaras - A History of Splendour, revealed. But don't think it's a free for all once "I Do"s are said: The diamond piece is reserved for only after 6 p.m., as it's evening wear.

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