It’s no surprise that, when it comes to day-to-day life, the royal family is required to follow a few more rules than us mere commoners. Between their lives in the spotlight, and their proximity to the British throne (or, in Queen Elizabeth’s case, their position onthe British throne), royals are expected to act accordingly at all times.
A curious mix of necessitated security measures and the odd bizarre historical tradition has created a very long list of rules and regulations that members of the family and the monarch must obey at all times. (No wonder it seemed likea daunting taskfor the soon-to-be inducted Meghan Markle!)
One Must Never Eat Shellfish
An ancient tradition that Royals have followed to avoid food poisoning. Queen Elizabeth adheres to the rule but the current royal family isn’t required to.
One Must Have Myrtle In Thy Bridal Bouquet
Queen Victoria carried myrtle in her bridal bouquet, so since then, every royal bride has included it in her own. The Victorians gave flowers meaning and myrtle means good luck in love and marriage, marital fidelity and prosperity.
Thou Shalt Bow Low
The longer and deeper you curtsy for shows more respect.
One Can Be Anyone One Likes… Except A Catholic
There is no legality that will keep a royal from marrying someone of Jewish, Buddhist, or Muslim faith, or even an atheist, but under the Act of Settlement of 1701, no one in the direct line of succession could marry a Catholic and keep their right to the throne.
And this is because the monarch also serves as Head of the Protestant Anglican Church of England, which was established back in the 16th century by Henry VIII. In 2015, amendments were made that now allow royal family members to marry a Roman Catholic and become king or queen, however, a Roman Catholic royal still cannot become the monarch.
For instance, if Prince George marries a Catholic and raises his children in that faith, they could be prohibited from taking the throne.
Christmas Shalt Be A Formal Affair
A very important royal occasion for the Queen and her family, she always spends Christmas at her winter estate, Sandringham, and guests are expected to follow a strict set of rules. First, there is a choreographed arrival schedule from junior to senior royal family members. Then, guests bring their own food and china to dine on. And since Sandringham is considered to be technically a court occasion, royal protocol is still observed, with proper bowing and curtsying and sticking to a strict dress code at all hours of the day.
There Shalt Be No Opening Of Presents On Christmas Day
Presents are to be opened on Christmas Eve, in the Red Drawing Room at Sandringham.
Thou Shalt Not Retire Before The Queen
Guests cannot go to bed before the Queen, who reportedly tucks in at midnight.
There Shalt Be Six Ravens Keep In The Tower At All Times
The Tower of London is one of the most famous places in the United Kingdom. It is also home to some of the most bizarre customs in the world customs in the world. Thanks to a decree by King Charles II, at least 6 ravens must be kept at the Tower of London, a move made by the King when he considered doing away with the Tower ravens and was warned by a courtier, “If the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it”.
Her Majesty Shalt Choose Her Sheriffs With Her Bodkin
In England High Sheriffs and ceremonial officers for counties across the country are appointed in a very unusual way. In February or March each year, the Queen will choose the High Sheriffs in a ceremony called ‘pricking’ during which she will choose names off the list by piercing it with a bodkin (a thick blunt needle).
Stemming back from the first Queen Elizabeth, who when she was asked to mark her choice of High Sheriffs whilst she was doing embroidery decided to use a bodkin to choose the names as she didn’t have a pen. It’s a tradition that continues to this day.
Thou Shalt Marry In White
Queen Victoria started the tradition of wearing a white wedding dress, prior to her wedding brides wore cream/ivory or pale blue. It is now a tradition but not a rule. It shows purity.
Thou Shalt Always Travel With A Black Outfit
When royals are on tour or travelling abroad, they are required to always pack an all-black outfit, in case of a sudden death.
Only Married Women Shalt Wear Tiaras
Traditionally tiaras are reserved for married women only, and are only to be worn after four in the afternoon.
One Must Always Curtsy To Someone Of Higher Rank
There’s a reason there’s a line of succession. Royal ladies must always curtsy to anyone of a higher rank, which is why Duchess Catherine curtsies to Duchess Camilla and the Queen, and why Meghan Markle will curtsy to Duchess Catherine, after her wedding.
One Must Never Walk In Front Of The Queen
Similarly, if you are of a lower rank than the Queen (which everyone is, by the way) then you cannot walk in front of her. The Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, always walks about three paces behind her.
Thou Shalt Not Eat After The Queen Has Finished Her Meal
Once the monarch is finished eating, everyone’s meals are taken away at the same time, regardless of whether or not they were finished.
Thou Shalt Not Turn Your Back On The Queen
Just like walking in front of her is a no-no, turning your back on her is also forbidden. If the conversation is completed, people will often walk backwards to avoid ‘showing her their backs’.