Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis don’t really live average lives. Their parents try to keep their routines as normal as possible, but when you’re in line for the British throne, you just don’t live life like everyone else. There are some very specific rules that these kids have to follow that most kids their age don’t.
What does this all mean for Meghan and Harry’s baby? Will he have to follow all the same rules as George, Charlotte, and Louis? Keep reading to find out.
Meet The Royal Family
First of all, before we start talking about rules, let’s meet the royal family. Of course, there’s Prince William on the right there. He is the son of Princess Diana and Prince Charles. He married Kate Middleton, who’s sitting on the left side of this photo.
Kate is holding their youngest son, Louis, who was born on April 23rd, 2018. Next to her is Charlotte, their daughter, who was born in 2015. Their eldest son, George, was born in 2013.
Learning The Royal Wave
Do you know the famous wave that all of the members of the royal family have to master? Well, the kids of the royal family have to master it too. You keep your hand straight and twist your wrist ever so slightly.
Both George and Charlotte seem to have the wave down pat. Next, it will be Louis’ turn to learn the wave. Then Meghan and Harry’s baby will have to learn how to salute us all.
Christmas Must Be Spent With The Royal Family
Figuring out where to spend Christmas can be quite a hot issue among families— royal or not. Some families decide to spend one year with Mom’s parents and the next year with Dad’s parents. Sometimes grandma and grandpa are divorced, which causes even more issues. The royal kids get to skip these issues altogether. Christmas is always spent with the Queen at Sandringham Estate.
That’s where Geroge, Charlotte, and Louis spend Christmas, and that’s where Harry and Meghan’s baby will have to spend Christmas.
All Royal Children Have Nannies
British nannies play a major role in the lives of many British children and the royal children are required to have nannies growing up. William and Harry had a nanny named Alexandra Shân Legge-Bourke who was called “tiggy” for short.
Prince Charles hired Tiggy to help him care for his children after he and Diana separated. Tiggy was a heavy smoker who admittedly had a crush on Charles and once called William and Harry “my babies” in public (the public didn’t take so kindly to that). The nanny that William and Kate hired is much less contraversion. Kate and William are very hands-on parents.
They Can’t Keep Every Gift They’re Given
Citizens of Great Britain (and the world at large) love to give gifts to the adorable royal children, but all of those gifts legally belong to the queen instead. She can decide if she wants to let the kids keep them or if she wants to donate them.
Sorry, George, you might have to give back that wallaby. It will be interesting to see what gifts Harry and Megan are allowed to keep.
Boys Should Wear Shorts
If it’s not too cold outside, royal male children are required to wear shorts rather than pants. By the way, in England, “pants” means underwear. They do wear “pants,” they just don’t wear trousers unless it’s chilly out.
In England, shorts were a sign that you were of a higher class. Nowadays everyone wears shorts, not just the royal family or nobility, but this is a tradition that’s stuck around. Royal kids don’t wear trousers until they’re around eight years old.
Never Wear Bright Nail Polish
A lot of little girls (and some little boys) in America and abroad like to experiment with brightly colored nail polish. Princess Charlotte isn’t allowed to have her nails painted bright pink, or any other bright color for that matter, though.
Meghan and Harry’s child won’t be allowed to wear bright nail polish either. Queen Elizabeth II likes to keep her nails neutral, so the rest of the royal family is expected to do the same.
They Have To Learn A Foreign Language
George, Charlotte, and Louis have likely witnessed their parents interacting with heads of state and important people from all kinds of different countries. That means that royals have to be well versed in languages other than English.
Queen Elizabeth II speaks French as a second language, and Prince Charles and Princes William actually know six different languages. Prince Harry even showed off his ability to speak Arabic when he gave a speech in Dubai. The royal children are expected to learn languages other than Eglish too. George and Charlotte are already learning to speak Spanish.
They Follow Proper Bowing And Curtseying Etiquette
Even though it may seem outdated, members of the royal family are expected to bow or curtsey to the queen. That means that pretty soon after they learn to walk, royal children are taught proper bowing and curtseying etiquette.
We’ve already seen Charlotte’s curtseying skills when she curtseyed to foreign diplomats when she was just two years old. Charlotte started early, but really, royal kids need to learn this skill by the time they’re five years old.
They Must Get Baptized In A Historic Gown
All royal babies get baptized in the same historic christening gown. This gown was worn by Queen Victoria way back in 1841. Since then, 62 royal babies have worn this iconic and very important garment.
In 2004, Queen Victoria’s gown was replaced with a replica because the fabric of the original dress was starting to deteriorate and the royal family wanted to preserve it. Harry and Meghan’s baby will be baptized in a gown that looks exactly like Victoria’s gown.
Royal Children Can’t Travel With Another Direct Heir
There is a rule in place for royals that are direct heirs to the throne, At the moment, those heirs are Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince George. The rule states that they mustn’t travel together on the same plane.
The reason for this is pretty morbid. If a plane crashes and all of the direct heirs are on board, that could spell chaos for the royal family. William and Kate have been breaking this rule lately, but they had to get direct permission from the queen first.
The Gender Of A Royal Baby Is Never Announced In Advance
If you’ve been paying attention to Meghan Markle’s pregnancy, (and let’s face it, who hasn’t been paying attention to Meghan Markle’s pregnancy?) then you’ve probably noticed that she hasn’t announced whether she’s having a boy or a girl.
Since the 1950s.the Royals have been following this tradition. The gender of a royal baby is never announced ahead of time. When Queen Elizabeth II was pregnant, she didn’t even announce the pregnancy directly. She just said that she would be out of commission for a few months.
The Queen Always Finds Out First
When Meghan and Harry’s child was born, Queen Elizabeth II was the first to hear the happy news. While we’re on the edge of our seats waiting for the arrival of this little royal, we had to wait just a bit longer for the news because Harry had to tell his grandmother first.
Of course, this all has to be done very secretly over encrypted phone calls. Harry and Meghan didn’t want the paparazzi finding out about their royal baby before the queen does.
Newborn Children Must Be Introduced Publicly
When Princess Diana and Duchess Catherine had their children, they both presented the newborns publicly within hours of their birth, and Meghan was expected to do the same. However, she opted to buck tradition somewhat.
Instead of a same-day debut, Prince Harry and Meghan instead waited two days before introducing their son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor to the world on May 8, 2019. They opted not to use a title for the baby, who will be known as Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.
The Royal Children Must Be Educated
Schooling is important for all young children, but it is especially important for royal children. A good education is a sign of wealth and higher class. All of the royal children must receive a good (AKA expensive) education and attend a reputable university.
Prince George has already started school. He goes to Thoma’s Battersea, a private school that reportedly costs $23,000 per year. Meghan and Harry will also likely send their children to an expensive private school.
Royal Children Do A Lot Of Traveling Abroad
All royal children must have a passport. That’s because they travel abroad all the time. These kids are kind of like diplomats in training. As adults, they’ll have to meet with people all over the world and be good representatives of the royal family.
Travel is a huge part of the gig they were born into, so these kids have to get used to being on planes while they’re young.
They Get To Meet Very Important People
A few years ago, Prince George got to meet American president Barack Obama. The young prince and the president shook hands and exchanged pleasantries. This won’t be the last time that Prince George makes small talk with an important foreign government official.
George will likely walk in his father’s footsteps and spend the rest of his life building relationships with very important people. His siblings and his cousins will do the same.
They’re Allowed To Show Emotion
Prince William and Kate Middleton are modern royal parents, which means that they’re raising their kids differently from a lot of the royals who came before them. William told CALM Magazine, “Catherine and I are clear that we want both George and Charlotte to grow up feeling able to talk about their emotions and feelings.”
William had to deal with plenty of emotions himself when he was a child after his mother’s death. He knows how difficult it can be for your emotional displays to be judged by the public, but he wants his kids to know that it’s always okay to express how you’re feeling.
The Rules Have Changed Regarding Gender And Succession
Not too long ago, male heirs were closer to the throne than their female counterparts. This means that Louis would be in line for the throne ahead of his sister, Charlotte, even though she was born first. In 2013, the rules changed. Now, Charlotte is in line ahead of Louis even though she’s a girl.
This rule will also apply to Meghan and Harry’s children. Now that we know it’s a boy, it actually doesn’t matter. He will be 7th in line for the throne, right behind Prince Harry, who is now 6th.
Monopoly Is Not Allowed At Royal Family Gatherings
When it comes to royal family game nights, Monopoly is one board game that has no place at Buckingham Palace. When asked about what games they’d be playing on Christmas, Prince Andrew once said, “We’re not allowed to play Monopoly at home. It gets too vicious.”
Ok, so this may not be an official, traditional royal rule, but it’s still a rule that the Royals have. Maybe it’s a rule that we should all have. Who actually enjoys playing a four hour game of Monopoly anyway?
Royal Children Have A Lot Of Godparents
When royal children are born, they have a whole lot of godparents. You would think one or two would be enough, but Prince George has seven godparents, Princess Charlotte has five, and Prince Louis has six.
We’ll have to wait and see who Harry and Meghan’s child’s godparents will be, but some sources think Zara and Mike Tindall, George and Amal Clooney, Serena Williams, and Benita Litt are all in the running.
They Have Their Own Baby Passports
You may think that everyone knows the royal family can will let them on the place for their many international events. Well, that may be the case for the Queen, but everyone else needs a royal passport. This includes all of the princes and princesses, even the littlest royals.
Both Prince George and Princess Charlotte have their own baby passports, which they’ve already used to travel to Australia and New Zealand. Since little Archie just joined the royal family in 2019, it’s safe to assume that he’ll have his own passport, too.
Royal Children Can’t Eat Packaged Foods
Since royals have their own personal chefs, they only allow the freshest ingredients. When Prince William and Kate Middleton were expecting their first child, Plum gifted them ready-to-eat purees. They graciously accepted, but the Queen’s former chef Darren McGrady said that royal babies never eat packaged food.
In an interview with Today, McGrady also added that Prince William and Harry’s baby food consisted of pureed steamed apples and pears with absolutely no lumps. Clearly, the family etiquette completely rules out store-bought baby food as an option.
The Parents Don’t Have Legal Custody Of Their Children
While Meghan Markle and Prince Harry wow’d the world with the arrival of Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, news rang out that the two won’t have legal custody of their own child. In 1717, King George I enacted a law called “The Grand Opinion for the Prerogative Concerning the Royal Family,” which states that only the Queen or King possess legal custody of royal children.
The law became a problem in 1994 when Lady Diana, the Princess of Wales, separated from Prince Charles. She wanted to live with her children in Australia, but the law didn’t permit it.
They Must Be Taught Good Manners
Like all royals, small children are expected to have good manners. This includes speaking eloquently, like a royal–no baby talk allowed. Beaumont Etiquette founder Myker Meier told Daily Mail that royal children are expected to memorize table and verbal manners by age 10.
At a young age, royal children learn how to hold cutlery and napkins, how to set a table, never point or stare, never put their elbows on the table, and “show positive body language.” That’s a lot of schooling!
They Have To Answer The Phone In A Specific Way
In a situation where royal babies are allowed to answer the phone, they have to give one of several responses: “Hello,” “Good morning,” “Good afternoon,” “Good evening,” or “Hello, how may I help you?” according to etiquette teacher Myker Meier.
If the caller asks to speak to someone, the child must ask who is calling. This is to ensure their safety in the case that people are able to hunt down the royal family’s phone number while staying abroad.
Royal Children Require A Lot Of Family Time
The royals believe in providing their children with a lot of quality time together. This is why Prince William and Kate Middleton often bring their children to museums, veterans events, weddings, and other royal outings. Princess Charlotte and Prince George also spend a lot of time with their cousins, Savannah and Isla Phillips.
“Spending quality time together is such an important aspect of family life,” Kate said during Children’s Hospice week. “It is the simple family moments like playing outside together that I cherish.”
They’re Allowed Some Screen Time
Yes, even the royal kids can have some limited screen time. In more private moments, the kids have access to an iPad to keep them quiet. In an interview with Radio 1, Prince William said that George expects his family to watch his favorite shows with him, which include Peppa Pig and Fireman Sam.
“You have to pretend you’re really interested in it,” William said, “because George gets very upset if you’re not showing due diligence to the characters.” At least they have some downtime once in awhile!
Royal Kids’ Privacy Is Strictly Enforced
In August 2015, William and Kate released a letter to the media asking them to leave their kids alone. “It’s understandable that the couple were upset after paparazzi were seen following George and his nanny, going as far as hiding in cars to get photos of the young prince,” a statement from Kensington Palace read.
The couple even erected 40-foot hedges around the palace so that the kids could play without being seen at the gate. It seems that royal parents value private time as much as social outings.
Royal Children Still Have Royal Duties
Even at a young age, royal kids have royal duties they need to perform. Fortunately, they take on more responsibilities gradually. At a young age, kids like George and Charlotte must have tea with the Queen every Thursday afternoon. But by their teenage years, princes and princesses are expected to serve in the military and study politics.
It’s reasonable to assume that even young Archie will join the Queen’s tea time, and then work in the military like his father before him.
Always Use Royal Word Choice
Beyond answering the phone, royal children are taught to use careful word choice while speaking. Examples include saying “lavatory” instead of “toilet,” and “pardon” instead of “what.” For young royals, these habits may come naturally if they’re surrounded by other people who use the same words.
Royal kids are also expected to not call adults by their first name, and to let adults initiate the conversation. So there’s no way that little Archie will grow up to call his father Harry.
All Kids Have Their Own Security Team
Whenever Prince George went out with his parents, he had two bodyguards keeping an eye on him. This only increased when Princess Charlotte was born, and presumably with Prince Archie as well. This is standard protocol for everyone within the Royal Family.
Ken Wharfe, a member of Prince William and Prince Harry’s security team when they were little, said that potential risk increases as the kids get older. They “become more mobile,” according to Wharfe. With all the paparazzi and reporters trailing royal kids, they can never be too careful.
They Must Stop Eating When The Queen Finishes
When dining with Her Majesty, royal kids have to follow the same etiquette as everyone else at the table. According to traditional etiquette, everyone must follow the Queen’s moves as she’s eating. If she stops eating, everyone else must stop too.
This can become frustrating for young kids who tend to eat at their own pace, especially since Queen Elizabeth II is 93 years old and tends to not eat a lot. So if the kids are hungry, they better hurry up.
They Must Keep A Straight Posture
Have you ever seen a slouching royal kid? They’re a rare sight because young royals are taught the etiquette of posture at a very young age. They have to keep their spine straight and chin slightly lifted, with knees slightly bent. They can never keep their hands in their pockets, which most children tend to do.
George and Charlotte have already demonstrated incredible posture in their photos, and Archie will be no exception. The kids are taught these rules at a young age to appear impeccable for photos.
They Have To Wear Buckled Leather Shoes
Did you think those adorable black buckled shoes worn by George and Charlotte were a fashion choice? Well, yes and no. Both men and women in the Royal Family have worn leather buckled shoes since the 1940s. The company that produces the shoes, Start-rite, earned a “Royal Warrant” in 1955. They’ve provided over 1,500 pairs of shoes to the Royal Family.
People outside the royal family can also buy these shoes at around £36 a pair. If it turns out Archie grows up to not like those shoes, though–tough luck.
Rules About Christmas Day
The Royal Family adheres to the Germanic Customs of Christmas time, which, of course, they have to spend with their family. Instead of running downstairs on Christmas morning to open presents, the kids get their gifts on Christmas Eve. All gifts are set on the Red Drawing room and opened before a traditional dinner at 8 pm.
When Kate came into the mix, she and William decided to have their kids open presents on Christmas morning instead. It’s unknown if the rest of the family changed the tradition, or if George and Charlotte go by a different schedule.
Sit At The Kiddie Table Until You Learn Your Manners
While most people remember eating at their own kiddie table during family events, most did not sit at the separate table as long as the Royals. Children can’t sit at the table with the Queen until they learn the “art of polite conversation.”
This means that Archie will have to sit at the little table for quite a while with his cousins, at least until his etiquette training ends. Most royal kids learn all the conversation rules by age 10.
No Tiaras For Young Princesses
The reason you don’t see Princess Charlotte wearing an adorable tiara all the time is that it’s forbidden by etiquette. The first time Princess Eugenie, Duchess Megan Markle, and Duchess Kate Middleton wore tiaras were on their wedding day–as is the custom.
“Tiaras are a sign of status and would show you were taken and not looking for a husband,” explains etiquette expert Grant Harrold. So those scenes in The Princess Diaries where Anne Hathaway donned a tiara were not historically accurate.
Royal Kids Don’t Get Junk Food
Former royal chef Darren McGrady told Recipe Plus that Queen Elizabeth entirely banned genetically modified foods and junk food. “Try including strawberries on the menu in January,” he said, “and she’ll scrub out the line and say don’t dare send me genetically modified strawberries.”
It’s doubtful that Meghan Markle or even Kate Middleton adhere to this rule all the time with their kids–they’re both foodies, after all. But at royal events, the kids don’t expect to find any M&Ms there.
Royal Kids Don’t Have Their Own Social Media Accounts
Fans grew disappointed when, after going public with Prince Harry, Meghan Markle deleted all of her social media accounts. Her son, Archie, will likely never have his own. Social media is a no-no for the Royals–at least privately owned social media. Kensington Palace does have its own Instagram, but you’re unlikely to find personal Instagram accounts for royal children.
If they’re lucky, the kids could petition to get their own accounts later in life, like Princess Eugenie. But until then, you’ll never get the chance to see royal kids’ Facebook statuses.