Fashion & Beauty Rules All Royals Must Follow

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As prominent public figures, it’s no surprise that the Royals are obliged to follow a strict fashion and beauty code when it comes to their appearance. We saw Kate Middleton transition from a member of the public who wore Uggs and low-rise jeans to the polished and poised Duchess she is now. We saw a similar transition as Meghan Markle switched gears from red carpet celebrity to elegant royal figure. Follow along for all the insane Royal fashion and beauty rules that the Royal family must follow:

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32. Must not wear fabrics that wrinkle easily

The royal family has become known for their tweed suits and wool coats. While it may seem like these options are simply personal preference, there’s actually a bigger reason behind this decision. The royals know how often they are going to be photographed, so it’s important to opt for fabrics that don’t easily wrinkle. This is why we’ll more often see them wearing tweed or wool than linen or silk.

(Chris Jackson/Pool Photo via AP)

31. Men must wear military pieces when the occasion calls for it

Royal men are known for wearing military pieces for certain state occasions and special events. This has been a practice since the 19th century and occurs for events such as Remembrance Day and Trooping the Color or any event that honors the British troops.

Press Association

30. The Queen must formally approve Royal wedding dresses

Before a Royal bride walks down the aisle and reveals her custom-made, designer dress to the world, there’s one major obstacle she needs to tackle: the Queen’s approval. One of the royal family’s rules for brides is that the Queen must have the final say about her dress in the means of a formal approval.

Press Association

29. Opt for skirts over pants

The Queen has made it clear multiple times that she favors royal women to wear skirts and dresses over pants. Meghan, Kate, and Diana have all broken this rule on occasion and we appreciate this progressive shift forward! Women should undeniably have the option to wear pants or a dress whenever they choose.

Source: Press Association

28. Wear local designers while visiting a country

It’s an unspoken Royal rule that members of the royal family must dress to honor the country they are visiting while on tour. This is often done by wearing national colors or local designers. Here, Kate Middleton is pictured in British Columbia on a stop during their 2016 Canadian Royal tour wearing a bright red dress to honor the country.

Rex Features/

27. Always wear pantyhose

Wearing pantyhose is not a fashion rule that’s set in stone, but it’s been a long-held tradition upheld by all the Royal women before Meghan including Queen Elizabeth and Kate Middleton. Meghan Markle has been photographed not wearing pantyhose on several occasions, most notably in her and Harry’s engagement photocall.

(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

26. Must always have a black ensemble on hand

It’s a royal rule that you must bring a black ensemble along when traveling in case of a sudden death and unexpected funeral commitments. This allows them to return to the U.K wearing a color that matches the somber occasion. This rule was put into place when Queen Elizabeth was away in Kenya when her father passed away. She had to wait inside the plane to be delivered an appropriate black outfit to wear before stepping out.


25. Must wear gloves

The Queen is almost always seen in one of her signature hats and a set of gloves. She keeps the gloves on even when shaking hands at events to avoid direct skin-to-skin contact and the spread of germs. Diana, however, dropped the practice. “She abandoned the royal protocol of wearing gloves because she liked to hold hands when visiting people or shake hands and have direct contact,” PEOPLE shared. “ She also stopped wearing hats because she said, ‘You can’t cuddle a child in a hat.’”

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24. No nail polish

One of the most prominent royal beauty rules is that royals must have well-groomed, manicured nails with no polish or just a clear gloss. Queen Elizabeth is known for her disapproval of flashy nails and this includes both long nails and any sort of bright color. To follow the Queen’s wishes, the Duchess is always photographed at public appearances with short nails with no polish on them.

Photo by REX/Shutterstock

23. Royal women must not expose their shoulders

Meghan Markle was the victim of significant criticism when she stepped out for 2018 Trooping the Color ceremony wearing a blush pink Carolina Hererra dress that featured an off-the-shoulder neckline and buttons trailing along the front. She took slack for this outfit because of her exposed shoulders, which many saw as overly revealing for a Royal figure. We definitely think this shoulder-baring rule is quite outdated and that Meghan looked both respectful and elegant in this ensemble.

Photo by Robin Utrecht/ABACAPRESS.COM

22. No hats after 6 pm

Royal women are often spotted wearing unique fascinators and hats for daytime events, but it’s absolutely prohibited to wear them after 6 pm. Wearing a hat during the evening is seen as a “fashion faux pas” and is highly frowned upon in the royal community. We believe that having an exact time for when a hat should and shouldn’t be worn seems overly restrictive and unnecessary.


21. Pale pink polish is acceptable

The one exception the Queen makes for her “no nail polish” rule is for a soft shade of pink lacquer. The Queen herself has spilled that her go-to polish has always been Essie’s “Ballet Slippers” and is known for wearing this barely-there shade during many public appearances. It seems that Meghan Markle has adopted this royal beauty tradition and donned a pale pink on her nails to show off her new engagement ring from Prince Harry.

(Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP)

20. Must wear minimal makeup

Before she was a Royal, Meghan Markle was living the life of celebrity glamour and frequenting red carpets and elite events. This means the Duchess was no newbie when it came to full-glam makeup, and often rocked smokey eyes, deep lips, and contoured cheeks. Once she became Prince Harry’s wife, however, she was forced to follow the Royal standard of minimal, nearly undetectable makeup.

Press Association

19. Hairstyles should always be polished

Meghan Markle shocked the world when she began to step out for formal Royal appearances wearing her hair in a loose, messy bun. Previously, royal fans were used to Kate Middleton’s bouncy locks that were always styled neatly with a hair net. We don’t think Meghan deserved the criticism she received for the messy hair look. It added an air of effortless sophistication to her style and rang true to her personal taste, which is what’s most important of all.

Doug Peters/Press Association

18. Must always have a blowout

The Duchess is known for her persistently polished and bouncy hair that seems to never have problems with frizz or damage despite the weather. Her hair is consistently blown out and perfect, which is allegedly a royal beauty requirement for public engagements. Both Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana had followed this tradition religiously during their own public appearances. Royal newbie Meghan Markle initially seemed to adopt this practice when she stepped out to announce her engagement to Prince Harry with perfectly blown-out locks, but she has had a few mishaps since where she’s worn a messy bun for a public appearance!

Photo by Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock

17. Updos must use a hair net

When a royal figure isn’t rocking her tresses in a blowout, another viable option for hair is a polished chignon or ponytail. It is required, however, that even when the hair is styled in an updo it must still remain refined and without flyaways. For this to be possible, the Queen recommends using a hair net for increased longevity and protection against winds and weather.


16. Only wear bright colors

The Queen once shared that she always wears bright colors to events to ensure she is able to be seen from far away. From parades to public events, it’s important that the royal family stands out and are able to be spotted among the masses. As much as we love a strong colored suit, we’d love for the Royals to drop this rule in favor of fashion’s favorite color palette — neutrals!

Press Association

15. All little boys must wear shorts

Prince George is notorious for always wearing short shorts and, surprisingly, there’s actually a royal rule behind it! There’s a tradition among the upper class that aristocrats and royals must dress young boys in shorts to show status. A pair of full pant trousers on a young boy is considered middle class and “suburban.” Although times are slowly changing, this overly traditional rule still seems to be in full force when it comes to Prince George.


14. No heavy eyeshadow

Prior to joining the royal family, Meghan Markle was recognized for her perfectly blended gunmetal smokey eyes and heavy false lashes. Now that she is becoming a royal this will, unfortunately, have to become a practice of the past! She’ll now have to adopt Kate Middleton’s eye makeup technique of being quite minimalist. A swipe of champagne shadow, brown liner, and light mascara will be Markle’s new go-to eye makeup routine.

Photo by Rupert Hartley/REX/Shutterstock

13. Women must not show their hair

The royal dress code states that royal women must wear hats for formal occasions to avoid showing their hair in public. This rule was followed more diligently in the early 1900s. According to Diana Mather, a senior tutor for The English Manner etiquette consultancy, “Up until the 1950s ladies were very seldom seen without a hat as it was not considered ‘the thing’ for ladies to show their hair in public. But all that has changed and hats are now reserved for more formal occasions.” We think this shift in rules is for the better and that the hat tradition seems quite conservative for 2018!

Photo by REX Shutterstock

12. Don’t wear jeans

It’s rare to see a royal wearing jeans and is a rule that the Queen has enforced for years. Although in recent times it seems that the rule has become more lenient, we still definitely do think that jeans should be allowed in the royal dress code. They’re practical, comfortable and should be a wardrobe staple, even for royal figures! It’s all about time and place when it comes to jeans, and casual outings are definitely appropriate to bring out the denim.

REX Features

11. Makeup must stay in place

All royal women are required to ensure their makeup and hair stays in place and remains flawless throughout the day. Royals are required to attend many public engagements, often lasting for hours and into the evening, so precautions must be taken to keep their makeup looking fresh. This requires touch-ups, a good setting powder to avoid looking shiny and a foolproof makeup setting spray.


10. Must not wear sleeveless attire

Another royal fashion rule is that women must not wear sleeveless attire. This rule has been broken on a few occasions, including the time Kate Middleton stepped out for a gala wearing a strapless velvet gown! A sleeveless or off-the-shoulder dress can actually be very classy and sophisticated when styled properly, however, so we have to admit we aren’t huge fans of this rule.

Source: Press Association

9. No heavy contour

As an actress, Meghan Markle definitely isn’t a newbie when it comes to makeup and learning how to perfectly sculpt the face. It seems that all these tips and tricks may not be any use to her now as a royal because it is suggested that royals skip heavy contouring and instead opt for a light flush of pale pink or peach on the cheeks. Markle broke this rule during her Christmas public appearance but has abided by it ever since.


8. Clutches can be used to avoid shaking hands

The Queen has a secret fashion protocol behind the reason she always wears clutches! Supposedly the logic is that a clutch requires two hands to carry properly which allows her to graciously avoid awkward contact or shaking hands with the public if she wishes. This rule is something that Kate Middleton has largely adopted into her own dressing as well.

Source: Shutterstock

7. Crowns and tiaras reserved for formal events

Crowns and tiaras are undeniably the most prominent physical declaration of royalty, but surprisingly these sparkling pieces are often reserved for formal occasions! Princess Diana was quite impulsive and tended to wear tiaras on a regular basis, but Duchess Kate Middleton proves to be more modest and has only opted to wear a tiara a select few times throughout her time in the royal family thus far.

Photo by Ray Tang / Rex Features

6. Must only wear neutral or pale pink lipstick

The Royals are never spotted wearing a bright or eccentric lip color. Instead, they tend to opt for shades of light pink or a peachy nude that are modest and subtle. Meghan Markle recently broke this royal golden rule by rocking a high-shine lipgloss to attend lunch with the Queen. We’re not sure how well this rule-breaking beauty look went over when the Queen caught a glimpse!

Source: Press Association

5. Must not wear wedges

A strange and unexplained rule enforced by the Queen is that Duchesses and royal women should not wear wedges. During her early days as a royal family member, Kate Middleton used to favor the casual summer heel, but we can’t help but notice that in recent years she’s cut the style out of her wardrobe altogether. Wedges are a comfortable and stylish shoe which seems quite practical for long days of formal appearances, so we definitely think this royal dressing rule should be left in the past!

Source: Press Association

4. Must have a variety of go-to hairstyles

There are definitely quite a few royal rules surrounding hair, but one important rule is that royal women must have a variety of go-to styles. They must have an array of looks they switch through, rather than just one uniform hairstyle. Kate Middleton has definitely mastered this look and switches between her bouncy blowout, polished updos and even a neat and glossy ponytail on occasion.


3. Must keep their coats on

Another strange royal fashion rule is that women must keep their coats on during public appearances because it is deemed “unladylike” to remove them by the Queen. Based on our observation, often when all the men take their jackets off and relax, Middleton is still seen wearing her jacket, even indoors! Royal protocol states that if she wishes to remove her coat, she must excuse herself and remove it in private away from any cameras.

Photo by REX/Shutterstock

2. Must hide gray hair

Royal women rarely embrace their natural aging cycle and tend to dye their grays! There have been a few occasions where 36-year old Kate Middleton was photographed with a few stray grays peeking through, only to have them vanish a few days later. Kate’s colorist takes care of her pesky grays and keeps her glossy brunette locks always looking like absolute perfection.

Source: Press Association

1. Must not wear short dress hemlines

This one may seem obvious, but royal women are prohibited from wearing short hemlines or baring any skin above the knee. Often their dresses are modest and tea-length instead! Princess Diana seemed to break this rule during her reign with mini pencil skirts and shorter hemlines, and we really think Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle should follow her lead. We’re all for modesty when it comes to fashion, but showing a little leg in a classy way like Princess Diana definitely doesn’t hurt.

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Olivia Di Pede

Olivia Di Pede

Olivia loves all things fashion, beauty, and entertainment. In her free time, she can be found taking yoga classes, reading thriller novels, and styling outfits on Instagram.