Why Queen Camilla can order Kate Middleton to change her outfit: Inside the rules and etiquette of the Royal Family

Why Queen Camilla can order Kate Middleton to change her outfit: Inside the rules and etiquette of the Royal Family.


Royal traditions hold significant importance because they help preserve historical customs and practices, connecting the present with the past and contributing to a sense of national pride and unity thus symbolizing continuity and stability.

Most royal traditions emphasize the role of the head of the monarchy as a unifying figure above politics, embodying shared values and history. Overall, these traditions ensure the monarchy remains esteemed in modern society.

However, while certain royal rules are set in stone and cannot be broken, some serve as guidlines.

For example, when meeting a member of the British Royal Family there are no obligatory codes of behavior, as per the Palace’s website, yet “many people wish to observe the traditional forms.”

For men, a greeting involves a slight bow of the head, while women perform a small curtsy. Nevertheless, shaking hands is also acceptable.

There are specific rules and guidelines for dining. When dining with the king, it is crucial to follow his lead. King Charles even has the authority to dictate when people begin and finish their meals.

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No one is supposed to start eating before the king, and 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 suit, regardless of whether they have food left on their plate.

“Starting your meal before or ending it dramatically after the [King] would be noticed by others,” etiquette expert William Hanson shared with Express.

Also, one 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.

The food the royals consume is healthy and prepared by personal chefs, but despite this, they are forbidden from eating certain foods such as shrimp, oysters, and lobster. According to chef Darren McGrady, who worked for the Palace from 1982 to 1993, this is to prevent any poisoning or allergic reactions.

“No potatoes, rice or pasta for dinner,” the royal chef said, referring to the rule of not consuming carbs for dinner.

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The truth is that the list of rules and traditions is a long one and no matter how hard the royals try to respect it, some of them have been caught breaking certain rules, likely by mistake.

Meghan Markle, for example, was said to have “hated being controlled by royal protocol” when leaving the house.

“The fact, for example, that at Kensington Palace, royals have to announce in advance when they are leaving the Palace and where they are going,” the royal source told Quinn.

“This is partly for security but partly also to avoid a situation where a senior royal is upstaged by a more junior royal leaving just when the more important person leaves.”

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Another royal rule refers to the gifts the royal children receive for different occasions. Besides the fact that they are the ones the gift was bought for, it automatically belongs to the king.

“Gifts are defined as official when received during an official engagement or duty or in connection with the official role or duties of a member of The Royal Family,” the rule guidance states.

“Official gifts are not the private property of the Member of The Royal Family who receives them but are instead received in an official capacity in the course of official duties in support of, and on behalf of The King.”

Of course, King Charles lets the grandchildren have their gifts, but before that, they need to undergo inspection. Once the security tests proceed, the gifts can be handed over.

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As expected, royal rules apply to clothing as well.

While the male members of the British Royal Family are always spotted in the most elegant suits, the women’s fashion is somewhat different.

Throughout the years, the late Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana, former members like Meghan Markle, and current royals such as Queen Camilla and Kate Middleton have been admired for their exquisite outfits and extraordinary hats. It’s clear that their wardrobes and the royal jewelry collection are quite luxurious but despite having a wide range of clothing choices, there are specific rules they must adhere to.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 11: Britain’s Queen Camilla arrives to attend a reception for the inaugural Queen’s Reading Room Literary Festival at Hampton Court Palace on June 11, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Adrian Dennis – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Since becoming Queen, Camilla is highest in rank and she gets the first choice on what to wear.

Speaking to Express, an insider said that the Queen’s official dresser, Jacqui Meakin, initially caused some unrest at the Palace due to Camilla’s strict opinions on who was allowed to wear specific colors. Typically, this includes the color blue.

Namely, during an occasion, Camilla expressed a wish to wear blue, a color she loves, and she eventually allowed Kate and Princess Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh, to wear the same color as long as their outfits looked different than hers.

“The Queen is now able to choose her outfits before all the other women in the Royal Family. It’s part of the royal pecking order and that includes the clothes and colour,” the insider said. “Her Majesty’s favourite colour is blue, and so is Kate’s. Sophie is also quite fond of it.

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The source continued, “There was a time when Jacqui [Meakin] was a bit apprehensive to allow blue to be worn at the same time as the Queen, but she’s relaxed that now as long as the blues are very different shades. In the end, it all became a bit comical with all the ladies seeing the funny side.”

Dressing impeccably is what royals do, but besides that, they do experience “embarrassing” moments. Queen Camilla for example, has had her “Marilyn Monroe” moments. One of them was at Princess Charlotte’s christening at the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Sandringham, Norfolk, when a strong gust of wind threatened to lift her dress.

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Kate Middleton had such moments as well.

Late Queen Elizabeth, however, avoided them using a clever trick of having curtain weights underneath her skirt.

What are your thoughts on the British Royal Family’s rules and traditions?

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