These Are the Clothing Rules Royals Have to Follow

Royals have to follow a specific set of rules for... everything. And that includes dressing.

You’ll often see royals in similar outfits. The Queen and her signature combination of an overcoat and a dress in many different candy colors, Prince William’s navy suits and light blue oxford shirts, Duchess Kate’s A-line dresses that always stop three inches above her knee and of course, Prince George’s high socks and shorts – no matter what the weather. The Royals have created their own uniforms, not just for the ease of it all but for the sake of tradition.

Royals follow a strict and age-old etiquette of proper attire. The BBC has revealed the royal rules for dress code—from hat use to jewelry and the appropriate time for casual dressing.


Since her succession, the Queen has worn many hats, in fact, she’s well-known for them. Freddie Fox, one of the official royal milliners, goes as far as estimating that he’s designed more than 350 hats for the Queen.


Women’s dressing protocol puts hats as a requirement during formal engagements and that goes double for royals, especially the Queen. This is why the Queen has such an extensive collection, with an array of colors to suit her daily dressing.

In the olden days, women always wore hats. However, as time passed and fashion grew less formal, hats were only reserved for formal events and special occasions.


Aside from hats, ladies must always wear gloves. While gloves do add that special old-world element to dressing, they do have another purpose.

Meeting people and shaking their hands is a daily task for royals. “During her 60 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II has shaken millions of hands. In 2010 alone, she had 444 engagements, averaging 100 handshakes a visit – or 44,400 in a year,” The Telegraph reports.

Sartorial as they may be, gloves double as protection when it comes to the inevitable transfer of bacteria.

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It’s no secret that the Queen is a fan of color. The reason for her bright choices? She is reported to have once said, "If I wore beige, nobody would know who I am." While we doubt that, the royal does have a point, as she tends to stand out during public engagements.



Occasionally, the princes will don military style uniforms. And they should, as they’ve quite literally earned them. Many royals have had long careers in the military, as a result they get to parade their military best during military-related affairs.


For their daily engagements, Prince William and Duchess Kate stick to smart casual, a style they’ve perfected with Duchess Kate’s flowy smart dresses and Prince William’s oxford shirts and sweaters.

Out of the public events they attend, the couple may put on the occasional denim. But it’s unlikely that you’ll see the royal couple in denim at their public events any time soon.


You’d think that as royals, wearing tiaras would be the norm for them. Not quite so, as the Crown Jewels come with their own set of rules.

For one, tiaras are only worn during formal events and only after 6 p.m. Aside from this, tiaras and flashy diamonds are never to be worn during the daytime. Tiaras should only be worn by married women as a sign of status, letting suitors know that a lady was taken.



Prince George and his consistent use of shorts has gathered a lot of interest from royal fans, and the answer to the burning question? It’s always been a royal tradition to dress young royals in smart shorts. This dates back to a 16th-century tradition called “breeching,” where boys were made to wear dresses and gowns. "Breeching" refers to the actual occasion of a boy transitioning to dressing in trousers.

Harpers BAZAAR UK investigated the phenomenon and came up with these results: "It's a very English thing to dress a young boy in shorts," explains the etiquette expert William Hanson. "Trousers are for older boys and men, whereas shorts on young boys is one of those silent class markers that we have in England. Although times are (slowly) changing, a pair of trousers on a young boy is considered quite middle class—quite suburban. And no self-respecting aristo or royal would want to be considered suburban. Even the Duchess of Cambridge."

By the time Prince George turns eight years old, he’ll undergo "breeching" and will wear trousers from there on out.

h/t: BBC

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About The Author
Paolo Chua
Associate Style Editor
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor at Esquire Philippines, where he writes about fashion and grooming. Before joining Esquire Philippines, he was a writer at Town & Country Philippines.
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