The British royal family has changed many times through history, but their role today is still at the forefront of British culture. They are held up as models for civilized behavior and nobility, and they work extremely hard to properly reflect those cherished values. The royal family is watched and celebrated by the whole world. We anticipate the new additions to the family, such as Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, child of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. We follow their travels and fashion choices. But being royal does not come easy. In order to be what the world demands of them - and what they demand of themselves - the British royals are bound by innumerable rules and restrictions that govern how they live their lives.
Beyond the restrictions that royals face, people that engage with them are likewise enveloped by gossamer bonds of decorum. The result is a very particular, almost funny, little culture whose purpose is, paradoxically, to present a very un-funny public image of themselves. At the center of it all is the sovereign, the queen, who is at once completely dominated by these rules and yet simultaneously the beneficiary of many of them. It's good to be the queen - at least sometimes - and she has allowed her own peccadilloes and particularities shine through into the modern royal family, thus putting her own spin on the world she moves in.
How much do you know about the queen and her family? Are you a master of court etiquette? Prove your knowledge or put it to the test with our British royal family quiz!
Meghan Markle was wed at the age of 36. The ideal age range for marriage, with the lowest subsequent divorce rate, is between 28 and 32.
Meghan Markle's son, who has yet to be named, was born seventh in line to the crown. He was born on May 6th, 2019 and weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces. Prince Harry is the sixth in line to the throne.
In order to marry, members of the royal family need the direct permission of the queen. One would hope that nowadays this is a mere formality, but the reality is that no one knows but the queen herself - and she isn't telling!
Ladies need to wear hats. It's not just a good idea, it's the (royal) law! One positive upshot of this rule is that royal gatherings are particularly fashionable affairs, with a bevvy of creative headwear on display.
Two royal heirs cannot travel together. Travel can be naturally dangerous - engine failure and the like - and of course there are always concerns about terrorist attacks and the like.
The queen relocating her purse is a subtle signal that she needs to conclude the conversation. Don't take it as an insult - the queen has many, many social responsibilities to fulfill!
Even the queen is bound by these royal rules, which exist to smooth social situations. She will always start the meal conversing with the person to her right, and after the course changes, switch to her left.
The deference that must be shown the queen includes even in as simple a manner as being out for a walk, and it extends to her Philip following her a few steps behind. If this is awkward, this is a matter they keep between them!
The queen is herself the sovereign, and she needs permission from no one to travel, nor does she need to prove her identity to anyone. To do otherwise would be an insult to her status.
The queen was once compelled to fire a footman when she discovered that he had been dispensing gin to her faithful corgis! The dogs would get drunk, and there was the fear they would become addicted!
The royal corgis, as befitting their status, receive specially prepared meals that are crafted based on their particular nutritional needs. It's good to be a royal dog!
Although it might seem restrictive, the fact is that royals are not supposed to engage in public displays of affection. The obvious reason for this is that it humanizes them and subtracts from the air of dignity that they are supposed to project at all times.
Only married royals are permitted to wear tiaras. This of course conveniently marks them in a crowd, and allows them to be avoided by the endless array of would-be royal marriage seekers!
Signing autographs is not a thing that royals do. It is true that they are famous, like movie or music stars, but unlike the latter, they must maintain an air of dignity and decorum that forbids using their signature as a public relations tool!
Yes, the Queen likes her cornflakes. And the rest of her breakfast is served to her in tupperware, accompanied by English Breakfast Tea, which is actually a very "common" brand!
There is no one with the proper authority to license the queen. As the sovereign, the queen is the source of authority, and hence she does not need to be licensed by anyone to drive.
The rules of etiquette are demanding, and they extend to there being a proper way to drink tea. When everyone does these things correctly, an air of proper civility and decorum is maintained.
Trick question: Meghan is indeed now a princess, but she is not called Princess Meghan. That would be for full blooded royal princesses only. She is now HRH Princess Henry of Wales, thus taking her husband's name. And she is also the Duchess of Sussex.
The queen is of course the arbiter of how long a social engagement like dinner will continue. She will signal that things are wrapping up by placing her bag on the table, which means everybody's got five minutes!
Decorum and dignity are key to the image the royals present to the public, so it should come as no surprise that nicknames are not permitted. Kate may have been Kate her entire life, but in the royal family she is Catherine.
The queen despises garlic, so out it goes. Her power most definitely extends to what is on the menu, and by all accounts she has personally intervened on this matter.
Pasta is forbidden from being eaten at dinner. For whatever reason, the queen sees it as an inappropriate choice for that meal, so out it goes!
Royals are too busy with affairs of State to do much traveling outside the Commonwealth, and the previously closed or chaotic nature of China under communism meant that prior to the queen in 2017, no British sovereign had visited there.
Although no one can actually enforce this, the royals are not supposed to eat shellfish. This is for simple safety reasons - shellfish of course has a slightly higher risk of contaminants than many other foods.
Party at the Palace was a live concert held at Buckingham as part of the Queen's Golden Jubilee. The ensuing album of the concert sold very well indeed, and was certified gold!
Projecting the proper image is extremely important for the royal family, and they are not permitted to look like schlubs. If you are in the public eye, you must wear formal clothing.
The queen may indeed like bright colors, but she wears the clothes she does in order to stand out. Socially it is always helpful to be able to find the queen at a glance, and in a dangerous situation she needs to be able to be spotted instantly.
Royals do not selfie. Again, this kind of undignified modern affectation is seen as lacking dignity and is not smiled upon by the British royal family. Let others take pictures of them.
The name of the royal house has changed down through the ages, as royal lines have died out, merged out, or even been replaced wholesale. The current royal family is Mountbatten-Windsor, or just Windsor.
Amazingly, royals are not allowed to play Monopoly at home. Prince Andrew explained that "it gets too vicious."
Essie's Ballet Slippers is the only color that the queen will allow on her nails. And what the queen wants, I assure you the queen gets! It is thought of as a fairly neutral or "safe" shade.
The queen is of course the head of the Church of England, and there has been an enduring conflict between the Church of England and the Catholic Church from which it sprang. Nowadays, people are a little bit more laid back in this regard.
The queen owns many stables of horses, and her horses have had an extraordinarily above average rate of victory at the various races. Something any royal would be proud of!
If the queen is standing, you are standing. To do otherwise is to offer an insult to the royal person. Obviously exceptions are made for people with disabilities or who have taken ill, however.
The queen will decide when a conversation with you is over. In theory, nothing you have to do is more important than talking with the queen, if she so wishes it!
One does not turn one's back to the queen. If she wishes to depart, she will do so, and until that time you are expected to be available to her as a courtesy befitting her station.
We are all of us human beings, and things do not always go according to plan. In one particularly notable row, her Majesty hurled a pair of shoes and a tennis racket at her Philip. One must assume that the shoes and racket were flattered to be so used.
Royals do not take a role in temporal politics. Should they back a winning horse, so to speak, it would only improve the status of the winners, whereas if they backed losers their own status would diminish. Correspondingly, they are beyond such matters.
Tragedies strike at unknown and unknowable times, so the royal family must always be prepared with sober styled clothing. This isn't being fatalistic, it's simply decorum.
Prince Charles dated Sarah Spencer back in 1977. She claims to have introduced Charles to her younger sister Diana, in fact.