All the Things Royal Family Members Never Get to Wear

All celebrities are scrutinised (and always have been), but the members of the royal family are watched, discussed and judged with an intensity that's unmatched. It's believed that around 2 billion people around the world watched Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding. The royal family is an institution that's steeped in tradition and formality, and while it does evolve and modernise, it does so at a gradual pace. Since clothing determines how we represent ourselves to the world, it's understandable that there's a lengthy set of wardrobe-related protocols that the royal family must adhere to on royal tours and official visits.

In the spirit of the royal family's newest member (Meghan Markle, in case you forgot), we're highlighting some of the major wardrobe rules that she's going to have to get used to.

Can't Wear: Anything Too Low-Cut

While a turtleneck isn't required, modesty is the best policy in the royal family, so you won't find many (if any) cleavage-baring tops in their closets.

Princess Diana Wearing a blazer


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Can't Wear: Flat Sandals

Kate Middleton very rarely wears open-toed shoes at all, but when she does, they almost always have a heel. Hence the countless pictures of her playing sport in wedge espadrilles. When she wants to wear flats for a less-than-formal occasion, she sticks to ballet flats, boots or white sneakers. That said, her most-worn shoe style is classic pumps.

Kate Middleton wearing a purple dress


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On Kate Middleton: Emilia Wickstead Dress

Can't Wear: Bare Legs/Short Hemlines

While this tradition is said to be loosening up, royal family members usually wear stockings with dresses and skirts for formal occasions, and short hemlines are a no-go. (We fully expect Markle to ignore this "rule" on occasion, as she did for her and Harry's engagement photos.)

Meghan Markle's first appearance after wedding


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On Meghan Markle: Goat Flavia Silk-Crepe Pencil Dress (£590); Philip Treacy fascinator

Can't Wear: Large Handbags to Events

While Markle has opted for totes, crossbody bags and sizable top-handle satchels in the past, she's been carrying clutches more and more as of late, as most royal family members almost exclusively do. (It's said to help them avoid awkward handshakes and cover up cleavage when exiting a vehicle.)

Kate Middleton wearing red


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On Kate Middleton: Boden coat

Can't Wear: Fabrics That Wrinkle Easily

Say goodbye to delicate linen and silk if you join the royal family. In order to maintain a polished appearance, they opt for heavier fabrics that won't easily crease (e.g., tweed or wool). Fun fact: Princess Diana's wedding dress received criticism for being made of a crinkly fabric.

Princess Eugenia at Harry and Meghan's wedding


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On Princess Eugenie: Fiona Graham hat; Gainsbourg dress; M2Malletier bag; Valentino shoes

Can't Wear: Black to Daytime Events

Unless it's a funeral or another sombre occasion, the royal family steers clear of black during the day and instead opts for colours that help them to easily be seen in a crowd.

Meghan Markle's first Trooping the Colour


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On Meghan Markle: Carolina Herrera dress

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