Being in the British Royal Family comes with plenty of responsibilities.
Members have many duties and have to attend many events both within the country and abroad. As a royal, one can always expect to be met with respect and courtesy, just as any person should be treated.
Of course, when it comes to Kate Middleton, her husband, Prince William, and the rest of the higher-tier members of the Royal Family, there are strict rules and guidelines they must follow.
Not only does that include how they should act when attending certain events or meetings, but they also live by rules regarding what they can and can’t eat as a security measure.
Let’s take a closer look at what Kate and the rest of the royals can – and can’t – do.
Kate Middleton became a part of the Royal Family in 2011 after she tied the knot with Prince William. The couple had known each other for years after meeting at the University of St. Andrews. First they were great friends, then the two became a loving couple. Naturally, as in virtually all relationships, theirs has also experienced complications.
Kate Middleton – road to the Royal Family
William and Kate Middleton even broke up at one point, before reconciling and later marrying. Today, they are a happy family with three children – and life seems to be going just perfectly. That, of course, besides the fact that Royal Family just lost their beloved mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.
When Kate Middleton grew up, she didn’t expect to become an actual princess. Then, when she and William started dating, she must have realized quite quickly that royal life was quite different from what she was used to. Just as other royals before her – especially Princess Diana – she became a target for the brutal paparazzi press.
She was 19 when she and William started dating, but that didn’t matter to the tabloids. Coming from a middle-class background – her parents became millionaires through their company – Kate was labeled “a commoner.”
Before the couple announced their engagement in 2010, Kate was nicknamed “Waity Katie” and “Lazy Katie.” According to Buckingham Palace officials, it was a reference to the fact that Middleton had recently quit her job to “prepare for her future life”.
One can only imagine what it’s like to prepare for a life as a royal. It’s no understatement to say that there probably exists no more extensive change in lifestyle – and publicity– in all the world. But Kate Middleton managed, thanks to the help of “The Firm” and her then-fiancée, William.
Journalist hacked Kate’s phone 300 times
According to royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams, William made sure to – in private – help Kate prepare for life as a royal.
“It was very sensible in the circumstances for Kate and William to get to know each other over the length of time that they felt appropriate. But it can be hurtful seeing those headlines and obviously very stressful,” he said.
Even so, the paparazzi press decided to call Kate cruel nicknames and dug deep in her family tree to try and find nasty things to write about her.
The most significant outrage of invading the Princess’ privacy came to light in 2013. Former royal editor of the scandalous tabloid News of the World, Clive Goodman, revealed that he had hacked Kate Middleton’s phone 155 times, beginning during the 2005 Christmas holiday.
Goodman hacked her voicemails on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and added that he had also hacked the phones of Prince William 35 times and Harry nine times.
The former editor told the jury that Kate Middleton was a “figure of increasing importance around the royal family. There were discussions of her and Prince William marrying, moving in, settling down. She had started receiving royal status around the royal family.”
“I’m really not the slightest bit proud of this. I don’t want anyone to think I’m not ashamed,” Goodman said during the trial.
Kate Middleton struggled with royal life after the wedding
In 2011, Kate and Prince William tied the knot. According to Princess Diana’s biographer Andrew Morton, she wasn’t ready for it once she and William married.
Morton – best known for the biography, Diana: Her True Story, in which he revealed the shocking recorded tapes that the late princess gave him – explained that just like in Meghan Markle’s case, Kate struggled initially.
“The point I’d make about [Kate] is that yes, she had the support of her family, and yes, she was British and knew what was expected, but nobody can prepare you for the level of intensity and the level of interest in you,” Morton said on the podcast Royally Obsessed.
He added that it took “quite a long time” or Kate to be “in control and in command” of what she was doing. And that wasn’t anything unique.
“Even Diana, it took her years, and she was an aristocrat,” he said.
During the infamous Oprah Winfrey interview, Meghan Markle claimed that she would have benefitted from more support and help from “The Firm” before she entered royal life. She decided to learn the British national anthem and other hymns sung in church services herself.
“It’s not like there’s a school for princesses”
However, Andrew Morton added that, as Markle and Middleton surely discovered, there were some parts of “royal training” that couldn’t be taught.
“It’s not like there’s a school for princesses where you sit there and go through the procedures from A to Z. You learn it at the knee. You learn it from experience,” he said.
In the end, things turned out great for Kate Middleton. However, in Meghan Markle’s case, well, we all know how she and Prince Harry’s relationship with the royal family changed when they decided to leave the UK for good in 2020.
Kate has now been royalty for little more than eleven years. She is next in line to become the Queen, since William is next in the line of succession. But while one might think that the royals can do pretty much what they want, there are apparently many things they simply can’t or shouldn’t do.
Some might seem silly – but rules are rules.
Some of the royal rules are strict, and absolutely cannot be broken. Others aren’t set in stone, but are more guidelines of how a royal family member is supposed to act or do in certain situations.
Rules the royal family members must follow
Even so, the royal rulebook likely differs greatly from when the average person and their friends go out for dinner.
Let’s start with one we all are familiar with; greeting a Royal Family member. Buckingham Palace writes on their website that there are “no obligatory codes of behavior when meeting [The King] or a member of the Royal Family.” However, “many people wish to observe the traditional forms.”
For men, one should greet in a neck bow (from the head only, while women do a small curtsy. But shaking hands in the usual way is also accepted.
So what are the rules for when a Royal Family member meets another Royal Family member? For example, does Harry need to bow for his brother, William? And does Kate have to do a small curtsy when she sees Camilla, the Queen Consort? Well, there are different sides to that.
As part of royal etiquette, all members of the Royal Family must bow or curtsy to the King – as well as Camilla, the Queen Consort – upon their first greeting. That is because he is the monarch, and Camilla the Queen. However, Kate Middleton and the rest of the Royal Family do not have to bow when meeting, for example, Harry or Princes Anne.
Another rule that’s easy for everyone to follow that when the King stands – you stand. When the King is present, everyone is required to rise when the King is standing, enters a room, or exits a room.
Specific rules while dining
When sitting down for dinner, there are several rules and guidelines. When the King is dining with guests, it’s essential to follow his lead. In fact, Charles can even determine when people start – and stop – eating.
When dining with His Majesty, Kate, William, or any other person for that matter, should never begin eating before King Charles. Also, when the King places his knife and fork in the finished position – at 6.30 with the tines of the fork facing upwards – everyone should follow, whether there is food left on their plate or not.
“Starting your meal before or ending it dramatically after the [King] would be noticed by others,” etiquette expert William Hanson said.
Another formal rule is that you should never scrape along a near-empty plate.
“It is not a breach of protocol to make noise with the cutlery on the plate, if it happens once or twice by accident, no issue, but to continue to do so is especially unfortunate,” Hanson added.
Not only does the Royal Family have to follow the rules when it comes to bowing and eating, but they also have them regarding what clothes they were – and here is where Kate Middleton actually broke one of the more traditional rules.
Kate Middleton broke this royal fashion code
Kate is known for her elegant style, and has repeatedly shown that she is a trendsetter. This, however, has sometimes come back to bite her.
When it comes to clothes while touring abroad, royal protocol says that the royal women should honor local traditions and history by wearing the colors of the country they visit, style expert Daena Borrowman.
Kate has not breached this particular rule, though, according to Daena Borrowman, she didn’t follow protocol on other occasions.
“Royal women are expected to keep their coats on at social events,” Borrowman said, adding it is because “disrobing in public is perceived as distasteful according to royal protocol.”
Simply put, royals are never supposed to take off their coats or jackets in public. Borrowman said that might be the reason why many of the royal women prefer coat dresses. This is precisely where Kate Middleton breached a traditional rule.
“More recently, the Duchess of Cambridge has bent this rule and taken off her coat whilst attending indoor events,” the style expert said.
The reason why William and George never should travel together
Speaking of traveling, going abroad with your family is always a fascinating thing. One can imagine that’s also the case for young Prince George, who’s traveled with his parents to both Canada and Germany.
However, he reportedly won’t be able to fly on the same plane as his father after the Queen’s passing. Why? Well, royal rules say that two heirs should not travel together in case of a fatal accident.
William previously traveled with his whole family several times – he and Kate were actually breaking royal code by doing so. Only time will tell if he will continue to do so.
Prince William and Kate Middleton’s magical royal wedding in 2011 was watched by the entire world. The two fell for each other years earlier, and their love story is nothing short of remarkable.
However, the Queen could have stopped the wedding plans and the engagement. As outlined in the Royal Marriages Act 1772, senior royals need permission from the Queen to tie the knot.
Any potential bride or groom for senior royals needs the official stamp of approval from the reigning monarch. An announcement of the engagement follows that, and some choose to hold a formal press briefing.
Not allowed to eat shellfish
So did the Queen ever say no? Of course not. Her Majesty approved of all the unions during her time – from her son Prince Andrew’s marriage to Fergie and Charles’ proposals to Diana and Camilla.
Moreover, she also gave the seal of approval for William when he proposed to Kate, and then again to Harry when he asked Meghan the big question.
When thinking about the royals and food, it’s easy to close our eyes and imagine grand buffets filled with all kinds of goods and treats. Of course, the royals eat very healthy and well-prepared food from their personal chefs and kitchen staff, but there are some things Kate and the rest are simply forbidden from eating.
Shellfish, such as shrimp, oysters, and lobster, are not allowed to be served as Kate and William, or any other royal, sit down to eat. According to Darren McGrady – chef at Buckingham Palace from 1982 to 1993 – this is because of the risk of getting food poisoning and, or allergic reactions. Especially when dining out or abroad.
Speaking with the Telegraph, McGrady dropped quite a bombshell, saying that carbs are also pretty much banned.
“No potatoes, rice or pasta for dinner,” the royal chef said.
Moreover, BBC previously has confirmed that the royals aren’t allowed to eat food that is “too spicy or exotic.”
Why Kate Middleton never take selfies
There are two reasons behind this, and it all comes down to public appearance: firstly, spicy food can make you sweat profoundly, and secondly, local exotic dishes might not be your cup of tea. Who would want a picture of Kate trying to force down something she really doesn’t like eating?
The list of rules for Kate, William, Harry, Meghan, Anne the rest of the royals, is long indeed. But in recent years, as technology and phones have become pretty much a part of our bodies, a new rule has been applied.
When Kate and the other Royal Family members are on royal duty, they are not allowed to take selfies with fans. That was even confirmed by Meghan in the past, who told her fans: “We’re not allowed to do selfies.”
So why can’t the royals take selfies?
According to a royal fan, Greg Agnew, who attended Queen Elizabeth’s Buckingham Palace garden party in 2017, they weren’t allowed to take selfies with the royals, as it would be seen as disrespectful.
“The one thing they talked about a lot was no selfies, and the reason was that they didn’t want people turning their backs to the royal family and the queen. And that was very important to them,” Agnew told Insider.
“You do not turn your back on the royal family, and you do not attempt to walk up and talk to them.”
“It quickly becomes overwhelming”
CNN’s royal expert Victoria Arbiter previously said that selfies aren’t a favorite among the Royal Family members at all.
“Royals would always rather have a personal interaction than have people clamoring for selfies,” she said. “If you grant one, then it quickly becomes overwhelming.
“From a security standpoint, they’re also not ideal as they warrant a certain closeness,” she added.
Not only is Kate not allowed to appear in selfies, but also, there’s a rule about having no physical contact with fans. That, however, has been broken by the Princess of Wales several times.
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