Why Princess Diana Never Wore Gloves Like Queen Elizabeth II

Princess Diana contrasted her mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II, in many ways. She famously said she led from the heart not the head compared to the more reserved leader of the monarch.

A more subtle way the late royal differed from Queen Elizabeth II? Gloves. Princess Diana hardly ever wore gloves. And when she did, the mother of Prince Harry and Prince William could be seen taking them off and carrying them with her. Ahead, learn why Princess Diana often went without gloves while Queen Elizabeth II has stuck with the British royal family’s peculiar style rules and continues to wear gloves to this day. 

Queen Elizabeth II in 2006
Queen Elizabeth II in 2006 | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Why Queen Elizabeth II always wears gloves

The leader of the British monarchy favors gloves but not necessarily for stylish reasons. While gloves aren’t considered everyday wear for royals, Queen Elizabeth II still wears them for protection when attending official royal engagements. After all, she meets a lot of people and if she has gloves on when she shakes a person’s hand Queen Elizabeth II is preventing the spread of germs by donning gloves, according to Reader’s Digest. 

Cornelia James glove makers have supplied Queen Elizabeth II with gloves since they made a pair for the royal’s honeymoon in 1947. When the 93-year-old royal attends an engagement, she keeps multiple pairs of gloves with her. 

“I imagine she always has two or three pairs in her handbag to spare,” Genevieve James, creative director at Cornelia James and daughter of the founder, told the publication. 

Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana
Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana | Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images

Find out what other items she carries in her purse here. Plus, learn how she uses her handbag to send messages to staff.

Not only does Queen Elizabeth II keep gloves with her at all times, one pair of gloves might last her decades. She’s known to get gloves repaired or refurbished instead of purchasing new ones. 

“She’ll wear her gloves for 40 years and will pull some out from a long time ago,” James said. 

Princess Diana wanted ‘flesh to flesh contact’

Princess Diana eschewed wearing gloves during visits with the public where she knew she’d be meeting lots of people. Why? Because “she wanted flesh to flesh contact,” Anna Harvey, Vogue former deputy editor of Vogue said per Reader’s Digest. Harvey once placed an order of a dozen suede gloves for Princess Diana but they sat unworn. 

Princess Diana
Princess Diana | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Rules for wearing gloves to royal events

When royals wear gloves to engagements, there are certain rules they must follow. According to Bustle, gloves must be worn on the way to the event, when shaking hands, standing in a receiving line, and when dancing. Gloves must be taken off — finger by finger — for dinner or when eating any food at all (even a tiny bite) and they can’t be worn at the dinner table. During the meal, they’re supposed to be placed in one’s lap underneath the napkin. 

Princess Diana at Westminster Abbey
Princess Diana arriving at Westminster Abbey | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

While we admire Princess Diana’s decision not to don gloves in favor of physical contact, we’d opt to go without them because of the rules that come with wearing them. After all, there are plenty of other royal rules to follow besides the protocol when wearing gloves.