5 Weird Wardrobe Rules That Complicate Packing Every Time the Royals Travel

5 Weird Wardrobe Rules That Complicate Packing Every Time the Royals Travel

It's more about upholding protocol than making a fashion statement.

By Karen Gardiner

For members of the British royal family, life may appear to be made up of a whirlwind of publicly funded jaunts across the globe. But being a member of what is perhaps the most watched and analyzed family in the world brings with it some very specific rules to follow — even on vacation. Consider this:

1. They Must Pack an All-Black Wardrobe

In the sad event of a member of the royal family dying while another member is away, this requirement guarantees the bereaved would then be appropriately dressed when they return to the U.K.

2. They Must Dress Modestly, Even on a Red Eye

Not even a brutally long flight is reason enough for a royal to show up to the airport in comfy pants. Royals are expected to adhere to a dress code when seen in public. The BBC points out that Prince William and Catherine "sometimes let their modern edge slip on a dress-down day — by wearing jeans," but when it comes to the airport, they are reliably well put together, with Kate usually wearing a two-piece suit or long dress and William in a suit or blazer and pants. 

3. No Matter the Weather, It's Shorts for George

Wherever they are headed, William and Kate have to make sure they are carrying enough pairs of shorts for little Prince George. Royal tradition dictates that boys must wear only shorts, no pants, until they are eight years old.

4. They Must Leave Luggage Space for Hats

Good thing they're not trying to cram their baggage allowance into economy-class overhead bins: The women in the family require extra space for the hats they must bring. Dress code etiquette states that women wear hats for formal events, Diana Mather, a senior tutor for The English Manner etiquette consultancy told the BBC. "Up until the 1950s, ladies were very seldom seen without a hat as it was not considered 'the thing' for ladies to show their hair in public. But all that has changed and hats are now reserved for more formal occasions."

5. The Queen Needs to Pack Her Brightest Outfits

Ever noticed that the Queen likes to dress in vibrant colors, from bright lemons to strong fuchsias, and even neon green? Turns out there is a quite thoughtful reason for this particular fashion statement: The Queen is required to make walkabouts while traveling on official royal business, and according to Reader's Digest, she wants to make sure members of the public can catch sight of her through the crowds. “She needs to stand out for people to be able to say ‘I saw the Queen’,” her daughter-in-law Sophie, Countess of Wessex, said in the documentary The Queen at 90. “Don’t forget that when she turns up somewhere, the crowds are two, three, four, 10, 15 deep, and someone wants to be able to say they saw a bit of the queen’s hat as she went past.”

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