No one values etiquette more than the British royal family. With such public figures, it’s no wonder they live strictly regimented lives.. After all, having a strict set of rules helps reinforce tradition and is helpful in helping the family control their royal image. Although it may seem strange that young boys are prohibited from wearing pants or women must keep their coats on in publicthe dress code is a serious matter for the British nobility. But the fashion protocol is not only for the Royal family. Weddings are a crucial part of the monarchy, and those lucky enough to attend a royal wedding must follow a strict dress code.
According to reports, Harry and Meghan sent their guests a seven-page etiquette guide to help them prepare for the big event. Although the pressures of the code of royal dress They can be fierce, they are a small price to pay for admission to these glamorous events. Every royal wedding is a story in the making, but it’s also a chance for attendees to show off their style to the world. Guests who obey the following rules are sure to shine in the international spotlight.
small bags only
It’s best for royal wedding guests to pack lightly, because only small bags are allowed at these illustrious events. While it may seem frivolous, this wedding guide is quite practical. Seating tends to be tight at royal weddings, so there just isn’t enough room for a large bag, according to the Associated Press.
Aside from limited space at royal weddings, there are a few other reasons why the monarchy prefers small bags. The late Princess Diana was rarely seen without a dainty clutch, partly because they were useful for covering her chest as she leaned forward or downward. With this clever bag trick, the princess was able to prevent the voracious paparazzi from catching her in a cleavage moment, according to Good Housekeeping.
Queen Elizabeth II had her own bag tricks. In a conversation with Newsweek, royal commentator Kristen Meinzer explained that the queen would use her bags to transmit secret messages to her staff. Meinzer referred to these subtle communications as the “bag code,” stating: “Supposedly, if she’s standing at an event, mingling with people and talking, and she shifts her bag from one arm to the other, she’s telling her staff who would like someone to interrupt and end the conversation.”
Women must wear a hat or headdress
Hats began appearing at royal weddings decades ago, when it was popular for British women to cover their hair during official events, according to the BBC. These days, hats remain one of the most beloved traditions of royal weddings. Over time, hats have become more elaborate, featuring larger brims, funnier shapes, and interesting decorations.
But even the most extravagant hats are overshadowed by another hat trend: fascinators. These elaborate headdresses adorned with feathers, veils, and other embellishments are the pinnacle of perfection when it comes to royal wedding attire, according to Brides. However, the most astute hat wearers know the golden rule of royal wedding attendance: make sure your headpiece doesn’t obstruct the view of others.
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, the granddaughters of Queen Eliabeth II, are known for pushing the boundaries of royal fashion. Her claim to fame is wearing some of the most daring headdresses the monarchy has ever seen.
Men must wear a black tie
When it comes to royal weddings, women aren’t the only ones subject to a strict dress code. Men have their own fashion protocols, which help ensure that everyone looks squeaky-clean for the big occasion. The military is expected to turn up in their best service uniforms, because “in terms of formality and respect, it’s the best of the best,” according to etiquette expert Myka Meier.
For non-military men, a dark suit and tie will suffice. Since royal weddings are daytime events, men may also wear a morning suit, consisting of a waistcoat and fitted jacket with long trains. Finally, hats are prohibited for gentlemen.
Women must cover their shoulders
As archaic as it sounds, royal wedding guests are expected to abide by British and Church of England standards of etiquette. And these institutions have very clear rules: no cleavage, no shoulders, no back. Showing an excessive amount of skin is an absolute no-no when it comes to royal weddings.
Open slippers are not allowed
While many of the royal dress code rules stem from tradition, others are more personal. For example, Queen Elizabeth II was known to detest shoes with wedge heels. This must have been bad news for Princess of Wales Kate, who reportedly loves wearing this style of shoe (via Marie Claire). From casual slip-ons to elegant strappy styles, the princess looks great with any wedge style. But despite her fondness for her wedges, she never wore them in the late queen’s presence.