Why You Don't Want to Be a Royal
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The Many Reasons You Don't Really Want to Be a Royal

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Why You Don't Want to Be a Royal
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Royal Pains

The death of Queen Elizabeth II has occasioned a lot of pomp and circumstance, and Prince Charles soon will be coronated after decades as the heir apparent. It's enough to make a commoner wonder what it would be like to become king, or simply to be a royal, with the whole world watching your every move. It looks glamorous in pictures, but there are plenty of pitfalls, big and small — and not so much freedom of choice. Here are some of the reasons you may not want the royal life.


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You Must Have a Black Outfit With You When You Travel
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There's a Dress Code for Every Occasion

In a rule dating back to 1952, all royals now travel with a black outfit in case of a death. This came about when then-Princess Elizabeth was away and her father, King George VI, passed away unexpectedly. She had to land and have appropriate black mourning clothes delivered to her plane before she could be seen in public.

Prince Charles
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Marriages Must Be Blessed by the Monarch

Be careful falling in love as a royal: You won't be allowed to wed unless the ruling monarch consents to the union. This is actual law. According to the Royal Marriages Act of 1772, formal consent is required before an engagement can happen. The law has been relaxed a bit in recent years and now allows divorcees to marry into the royal family as well as Roman Catholics — assuming they have permission, of course.


Related: The Most Expensive Royal Weddings Around the World

No Nicknames
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No Nicknames

Once you do marry a royal, all nicknames must be dropped. This is the reason Kate Middleton now goes by Catherine. The press sometimes ignores this rule, but the Duchess of Cambridge no longer answers to Kate.


Related: Etiquette Rules No One Follows Anymore

No Working Allowed
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No Working Allowed

Whether you are born or marry into the royal family, that is your full-time job: to be a royal. You are not allowed to hold any other profession than to represent the family to the best of your ability. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, now have outside income, but only because they are no longer "working royals," as the BBC notes.

Hats Are Required for Women
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Headgear Is Subject to Time Restrictions

Women in the royal family tend to don hats for official events — but never indoors after 6 p.m. Tiaras are worn only for events taking place after 5 or 6 p.m., weddings being one notable exception.

It Matters Where You Stand at Events
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You're Put in Your Place

The royals have a very deliberate way of positioning themselves in the public eye: in order of succession to the throne. The ruler, of course, stands in front.

No PDA Is Allowed
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No PDA Allowed

Under no circumstances are public displays of affection allowed. Most royal couples don't even hold hands in public, although in recent years, that has happened on occasion with the younger generation.

No Politics Allowed
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No Politics Allowed

In addition to not working, you also don't get to vote or hold political office. Although this is not a written law, the royal family is supposed to be politically neutral.

You Must Follow Strict Dinner Table Etiquette
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You Must Follow Strict Table Etiquette

When the king is done eating, you are done — even if you aren't really. You must also abide by the king's conversation: The ruler has a specific order in which he will speak to dinner table guests. In addition, you must learn the proper placement of your silverware and what it signals. For example, utensils placed at an angle with the handle at the bottom right of your plate signal that you are finished.

Women Must Sit a Certain Way
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Women Must Sit a Certain Way

Yes, that's right: If you're a female member of the royal family, you're even told how to sit. Legs crossed at either the ankles or the knee is the way to go. 

Women's Dress Code
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Women Must Dress Modestly

Overall, women in the royal family are to dress conservatively at all times. No cleavage is allowed, pantyhose are a must on bare legs, and nail polish, if any, must be pale and unobtrusive. Jeans are allowed only on a dress-down day, or at home walking the dogs, for example.

Men's Dress Code
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Men's Dress Is Restricted

Even for informal events, men typically wear a button-down shirt, a blazer or sweater, and chinos. Jeans are frowned upon and reserved for dress-down days. Formal events have specific suits or military dress associated with them.

Children's Dress Code
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Even Kids Have a Dress Code

Royal children must be formally dressed when in public. For little boys, that means shorts (a signal of upper class) until the age of 8, and a button-down shirt or a sweater. Girls must wear dresses with Peter Pan collars, cardigans, and matching hair bows and doll shoes that complement the outfit.

Two Heirs Cannot Travel Together
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Two Heirs Cannot Travel Together

It's been a long-standing rule that two heirs may not travel together in case something happens to both of them. That rule has been broken often since Prince William started traveling with his young family, including his successor and son, Prince George, but they got formal permission from the queen first. They are now allowed to travel together until Prince George is 12 years old.

Your Children Will Be Raised in the Spotlight
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Children Are Raised in the Spotlight

Perhaps the biggest reason you don't really want to be a royal: your children. They would be raised in the spotlight, and there wouldn't be anything you — or they — could do about it.