Which Royal Rules Are Meant to Be Broken?

\It wasn’t so long ago that the Queen’s subjects believed that the British monarchy was chosen by God. No longer held to that anachronistic belief, people may still feel beholden to certain protocol when dealing with the Royal Family. In the interest of human evolution, we are pleased to describe an array of royal rules that are meant to be broken.

Say hello to the Queen

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II | Stefan Wermuth/WPA Pool /Getty Images

These days, there are no set-in-stone rules regarding how to greet the Queen, according to the official Royal Family website. Nonetheless, most people prefer to adhere to at least a modicum of tradition when they encounter a member of the monarchy. Men typically offer a deep nod of their head, and women offer a slight curtsy and extended hand. In either case, the proper way to address the Queen is “Your Majesty.”

Few Royal rules apply in the 21st century

Today’s young royals have no problem breaking protocol when it suits them. Fortunately, Harry, William, Meghan, and Kate are in no danger of losing their heads as was once the penalty for breaking royal rules. In fact, the newest generation in line for the throne break the rules in a most refreshing manner.

The airplane rule

Kate Middleton and Prince William skirted the royal rules the first time they visited New Zealand. The so-called ‘flying rule’ deems that no pair of direct heirs should ever board an airplane together. The reasoning behind this archaic rule is that the monarchy ought to be protected in case of disaster. Kate and Will reaffirmed the fact that don’t mind turning the no-flying-together rule on its ear when they winged it to Canada with their kids, Charlotte and George, in 2016.

Britain’s most-observed bunch is not supposed to hug anyone outside the family

This rule flew out the proverbial window when Queen Elizabeth II and Michelle Obama shared a friendly embrace in 2009. Her Majesty started it when she placed a gloved hand on the First Lady’s back, says Pop Sugar.

The Queen is not the only royal to break the no-hugging rule, however. Harry famously bent the royal rules when he bear-hugged World Darts Championship semifinalist Adrien Lewis at Alexandra Palace in 2011. Lewis joked to The Mirror, “I hope he didn’t mind and I don’t get beheaded before the final.”

William and Harry both broke the no-hug when they threw their royal arms around an actor in a Chewbacca costume on the Star Wars: Episode VIII movie set in 2016. The ginger-haired Prince doesn’t just hug sports stars and furry space travelers, though. In September 2014, Harry embraced a young disabled boy at the London’s WellChild Awards event while praising the child’s strength of character and humor in the face of challenge.


Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The old royal rules clearly prohibit any sort of public displays of affection. Did Prince William adhere to this protocol on the ski slopes in January, 2006? Not at all. In fact, a paparazzi-snapped pic of William smooching Kate Middleton was the world’s first confirmation that they were indeed a couple.

When William and Kate married, they made another well-appreciated break with tradition. Until their union, royal protocol dictated that a prince ought only marry someone with royal lineage of some sort. As a commoner, Kate brings a refreshing new perspective to a family that used to be considered rather stodgy and staid.

Meghan’s fashion choices

While fashion is not strictly dictated by a royal rule book, there are certain sartorial traditions that were surely meant to be broken. For instance, the unspoken rule about wearing black for any occasion that isn’t a funeral. Meghan looks wonderful in black, and she wears it often.

The no-bare-legs rule is one that Meghan Markle breaks with regularity. Despite the Queen’s preference for pantyhose, Markle stepped out with Harry sans stockings in their now famous engagement photos. A number of publications, including The Insider, expressed alarm at the would-be princess’ bare legs. Most women would be inclined to agree that hose are uncomfortable, and the royal rule about pantyhose is one that was definitely meant to be broken.

Are there any royal rules left?

In a word, maybe. When dining with Her Royal Highness, everyone is supposed to stop eating the moment the Queen puts down her fork. Not only that, but the food on royal plates must never contain shellfish.

The youngest generation of royals is content to bend -or even break- with established and outdated protocol, and nobody seems to mind. In fact, Meghan, Harry, Kate, and William are helping to keep the House of Windsor relevant and refreshing.