It’s no secret that royal ladies must follow several strict rules when it comes to fashion protocol. Centuries of tradition have ensured that presentation is everything for the royals, who are rarely seen with a hair out of place. No wonder they always look immaculate!
SEE: Kate Middleton & Lady Louise Windsor cant stop wearing Zara blazers
From wearing tights in all weather conditions to never baring their shoulders, avoiding trousers around the Queen and choosing a modest skirt length, being a glamorous royal lady isn’t as simple as it looks.
That’s why it’s fascinating when royal ladies defy these traditional rules – and with so many to keep up with, who can blame them? We take a look at all the times the Duchess of Cambridge, Meghan Markle, Queen Maxima and more royal women have broken royal fashion protocol.
Female royals are not allowed to show their bare legs, and must always wear tights for official outings (no matter what the weather). The Duchess of Sussex may have turned a few heads when she stepped out alongside Prince Harry to announce their engagement in November 2017.
Despite officially banning all British royals from wearing fur in 2019, the Queen herself has been seen wearing animal fur on multiple occasions, as has the Duchess of Cornwall and the late Princess Margaret. For environmental purposes, however, the Queen now prefers to go faux.
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Royal ladies are the epitome of decorum and grace, so it’s no surprise that dresses and skirts should always be an appropriate length. Princess Diana clearly didn’t take notice of this rule!
The Duchess of Cambridge has also been known to defy royal fashion protocol and opt for a skirt higher than the recommended four inches above the knee.
Cleavage is not appropriate for a royal lady, who must always remain modest with their fashion choices. No wonder Princess Diana’s strappy mini dress worn designed by Catherine Walker was quite the showstopper at the time.
Royal Ascot formally banned guests from wearing strapless dresses, and it comes hand-in-hand with royal etiquette that royal ladies rarely share their shoulders. At the 2019 BAFTAs, Duchess Kate teetered on the edge of royal protocol with a daring one-shouldered dress.
MORE: Ascot style lessons from the royals! Kate Middleton, Princess Eugenie, Zara Tindall & more
Queen Maxima stunned in a blue tiered dress in Germany as she attended a concert with her husband King Willem-Alexander. The Dutch royal dared to bare in a blue strapless dress.
Royals must always pack a black outfit with them on their travels, in case of the sudden death of a family member. However, in 1952 the Queen didn’t bring a change of clothes when she was faced with the tragic news of her father’s death. She had to wait inside the plane for one to be delivered before stepping out publically.
Wedge shoes are supposedly prohibited around the Queen. That didn’t stop Duchess Kate from playing volleyball in these cork wedges, however!
Out of courtesy, the Queen requests that ladies should keep their heads covered for public engagements. It’s incredibly rare to see the Monarch without a hat or headscarf, so it was particularly daring when Meghan went hatless to an event where she was seated right next to her grandmother-in-law.
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