Kate, Princess of Wales and Mike Tindall reveal two unspoken royal rules in one week
There are various guidelines monarchy members follow, from avoiding Monopoly to not signing autographs.
Earlier this week, Kate, Princess of Wales politely declined to sign an autograph during a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show in London, citing it was “one of those rules”.
When asked by children at the show to sign their sketches, the mum of three was heard saying: “I can’t write my name, but I can draw.
“I'm not allowed to write my signature, it's just one of those rules," she added.
Last Friday, Mike Tindall revealed that monarchy members aren't allowed to stand in the presence of Charles before he does.
Reflecting on the coronation concert on his podcast, The Good, The Bad and The Rugby, Tindall said: "You can’t not hear Lionel Richie sing ‘All Night Long’ and get up and dance. The worst thing was I was like, ‘Yeah get up and dance to this – but is the King going to stand up?'"
Various other similar guardrails are in place for the Royal Family, to protect them, as marks of respect for the hierarchy and to honour traditions.
1. They can only get engaged with the monarch's consent
According to an act passed by parliament in 1772, all descendants of King George II must have permission from the reigning monarch to marry their partner before a wedding can be held. Which means both Prince William and Prince Harry would have sought permission from the late Queen before marrying Kate and Meghan Markle.
2. Two heirs should avoid flying together
Before Prince George was born, it was royal protocol that two heirs should not fly together in case anything should happen to them. However, Prince William sought out permission from the late Queen in 2014 to take a then-infant Prince George with him and Kate to Australia on a royal tour.
"They had to ask the Queen for permission but she said yes," a royal press office spokesperson told the BBC at the time.
3. You can’t go to bed before the monarch at family gatherings
A former private secretary of the late Queen told the Telegraph in 2015 that no member of the Royal Family can go to bed before the monarch.
"Diana was driven to such extremes that she'd excuse herself and go to bed, which was thought to be rather bad form, going to bed before the Queen," Sir William Heseltine said.
4. Royal boys wear shorts to a certain age
Grant Harrold, former butler to King Charles III, once said that young male royals must wear shorts until the age of eight, following a tradition that dates back to the times of breeching in the 16th century.
“This saw young boys wearing gowns or dresses until the age of eight, if not before,” he told the BBC. "Thankfully in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century this developed into shorts. This tradition is carried on by the Royal Family to this very day."
5. Don’t shake hands with members of the public
While younger members of the Royal Family are often seen physically greeting members of the public - and even taking selfies with them, older royals don't tend to do the same.
“We never shook hands, the theory was that you couldn’t shake hands with everybody, so don’t start, so I kind of stick with that, but I notice others don’t,” the Princess Royal said in an ITV docu-series, Queen of the World.
6. No selfies
While this rule has been relaxed in recent years, during Meghan Markle's first engagement with Prince Harry in 2017 she told one fan that "we are not allowed to take selfies".
7. You can’t hold a passport, drivers licence or keys
Meghan Markle made several revelations during her 2021 sit down interview with Oprah Winfrey. One claim was she had to hand over her various possessions when she married Harry.
“You couldn't just go," Meghan said. "I mean, you have to understand as well, when I joined that family, that was the last time, until we came here, that I saw my passport, my driver's licence, my keys. All that gets turned over."
While there have been some disputes to this claim, it is known that the monarch does not need a passport to travel.
8. Colour clashes should be avoided
In the same interview, Meghan said that she would rarely wear colour when she was a working royal.
“To my understanding, you can't ever wear the same colour as Her Majesty, if there's a group event," she said. "But then you also should never be wearing the same colour as one of the other more senior members of the family.”
This rule seems to have been debunked lately as both Kate and Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh, wore blue to a garden party at Buckingham Palace after the King’s coronation.
9. Access to money is limited for some members of the Royal Family
During the Oprah interview, Harry said his father had controlled his money for his whole life, and that it was ‘normal’ for some members of the monarchy to have financial control over others.
10. Only royal women who are married can wear tiaras
One rule that appears steadfast among Royal Family members is that the women of the Royal Family can only wear tiaras once they are married, which is why Kate, Meghan, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice all wore tiaras for their weddings.
11. Monopoly's best avoided
Board games can tear apart even the closest of families, which is why the Royal Family make it a rule to never play Monopoly together. “We're not allowed to play Monopoly at home,” Prince Andrew once told the Telegraph. “It gets too vicious.”
Watch: King Charles wants Prince William's children to have 'as normal an upbringing as possible’