The Real Reason Royal Women Are Required to Wear This 1 Accessory at Formal Events

The royal family has some major rules in place for every aspect of life, from public events to private dinners. The royal fashion rule book is a lengthy one, but it’s one that is steeped in royal tradition. When it comes to formal events, there is always one accessory that royal women must wear — and there’s a reason behind it.

The royal family
The royal family | Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images

Royal women have a strict dress code

While some royal dress code rules are more obvious, others seem a bit outdated. When Kate Middleton attends a royal event, her dress or skirt must always be an appropriate length. Though it’s rare to see the duchess wearing shorts, she has done so in the past, and they always hit mid-thigh. Jeans are technically allowed, but only in a causal, informal setting.

Handbags should always be held in the left hand; by freeing up the right hand, women can ensure they’re available to wave and shake hands. For years, royals were not allowed to wear colorful nail polish that could distract from the rest of their appearance. And, if a royal woman is wearing something that could be seen as low cut, she must always hold her bag over her chest while getting out of a car.

Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle
Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle | Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images

RELATED: Every Time Kate Middleton Went Against Royal Rules

Women are required to wear hats or fascinators at formal events

Though the royal fashion rules have changed a bit through the years, one thing still holds true: For formal events, hats or fascinators are always required. We first noticed the impact of fascinators when Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie wore attention-grabbing versions of the pieces to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding in 2011.

Though some might find them odd looking, fascinators have been royal tradition for years. According to Cosmopolitan, it was long considered inappropriate for royal women to show their hair. While it’s no longer taboo to leave hair more natural during a public appearance, when things turn formal, such a royal wedding or the annual Trooping the Colour event, the royal women will never be spotted with their hair fully exposed.

Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie
Princess Eugenie (left) and Princess Beatrice turned heads with their fascinators at William and Kate’s 2011 wedding. | Mike Marsland/WireImage

Is the royal dress code becoming too loose?

Years ago, the royal dress code was strictly followed. But more recently, royal women have been breaking the longtime rules. Meghan Markle was always one to defy royal fashion standards. Though the queen prefers dresses and skirts, Meghan often wore pantsuits or tasteful pants to a royal event. Plus, the duchess was seen with black nail polish during her time as working royal — and she even wore a one-shoulder dress to present a British Fashion Award in 2019.  

Kate has defied the queen’s rules, too. She often wears wedges to royal events in warmer months, despite that Queen Elizabeth suggests otherwise. Kate has also reportedly been “warned” by the queen about her the length of her dresses and skirts. Plus, the duchess loves repeating outfits, and while this isn’t technically a royal no-no, it shows that Kate isn’t as concerned with her fashion image as the queen.