9 rules royal children have to follow

As a member of the royal family, royal etiquette dictates everything from what one is allowed to eat to guidelines around the naming of a newborn royal.

While the rules are stricter for more senior members of the royal family, with relatives such as Princess Eugenie allowed to bend the restrictions slightly, they are no less stringent for the royal children.

From rules around appropriate clothing to official protocol about receiving gifts, these are some of the most unusual rules that royal children have to follow.

Male children must wear shorts rather than pants until they are of a certain age

If you’ve ever wondered about the affinity for shorts the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s eldest son Prince George has, it turns out it isn’t a style preference, as royal etiquette dictates that trousers are typically reserved for older boys and grown men.

While Prince George’s younger brother Prince Louis still has years to go in his shorts, Prince George, who is seven, will likely begin wearing long pants when he turns eight, according to Harper’s Bazaar.

Most gifts aren’t allowed to be kept

As a child of the royal family, presents are an expected perk. Unfortunately, like other royals, royal children are not allowed to keep most of the gifts they receive – as all presents are received on behalf of the Queen.

This means that it is unlikely that Prince George was allowed to keep any of the 774 presents he was gifted in 2014 alone, which included hundreds of clothing items as well as games and toys. 

However, if the gift is small, such as a bouquet of flowers, it is more likely the royal recipient will be allowed to keep it.

Meetings with foreign leaders are typically off limits

Prince George didn’t let protocol stop him from meeting former president Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama in 2016, however, he did require permission from his parents to stay up, as Harper’s Bazaar notes that “greeting world leaders and foreign dignitaries is usually off-limits for royal babies”.

Prince George meets former president Barack Obama

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Learning a second language is usually expected

While there is no official rule requiring royal children to learn a second language, most do, with Princess Charlotte capable of speaking both English and Spanish by age two, thanks to her nanny Maria Turrion Borralo, who hails from Spain. 

Prince George also speaks the language, with the Duchess of Cambridge previously revealing that her eldest son could count to 10 in Spanish at age four.

They have to undergo etiquette training

Royal children appear so well-behaved when in public because they are required to undergo etiquette training, according to Myka Meier of Beaumont Etiquette, who told People that the training starts “as soon as they’re old enough to sit at a table”.

During these lessons, the children reportedly learn appropriate voice levels as well as how to formally dine, and attend formal events.

They have to bow and curtsey to the Queen

Just like any other member of the royal family, royal children are expected to follow protocol when greeting the monarch.

While the etiquette is not as strict when they are younger, royal expert Marlene Koenig previously told Hello! Magazine that royal children are expected to “curtsy or bow” to the Queen “certainly by age five”.

Playtime takes place outside rain or shine

In addition to learning Spanish from their nanny, the Cambridge children must also follow her strict schedule, which includes daily playtime outside, according to Louise Heren, the author of Nanny in a Book, which discusses the training nannies receive at Norland College in Bath.

Royal children play outside most days

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“There will be lots and lots of outdoor play. … Lots of bike rides, playing with their dogs, potentially some gardening. … Yes, you are getting mucky with your hands in the soil, but you are learning how to plant,” Heren said of the children’s daily routine, adding: “If it is tipping it down, they will still go out.”

They are not supposed to travel with other heirs

One rule that Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis and their parents frequently flout is protocol that states that heirs to the throne are prohibited from travelling together.

Royal heirs are not supposed to travel together

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However, the family did have to first receive permission from the Queen, according to the BBC, which notes that a spokesperson for the royal press office said the ability to travel together is “something that the Queen has the final say on”.

Packaged or processed food is not part of their diets

As is expected, royal children do not eat just anything while they are growing up, as they have private chefs to ensure that their meals are carefully prepared.

“I’ve certainly never seen packaged food with any of the royal babies,” Darren McGrady, former chef to Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana and Princes William and Harry, told Today, adding: “Why would they buy packaged food when the Queen has 20 personal chefs?”