Things Prince William Has Never Been Allowed To Do

"It's good to be the king," they say, so one can only surmise that it must be at least pretty darn good to be a prince, especially being as crown-adjacent as His Royal Highness Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (after all, he is the next in line after the next in line). And we've never heard William complain about it either. So, from that, one could also reasonably infer that William thinks it's pretty good. However, there's one flaw in that logic, which is that complaining about life in the royal family is something that William has never been allowed to do, at least not if he wishes to remain in the good graces of his grandmother, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. 

That said, the queen is free to change the rules as they apply to herself at any time, including the rule about not explaining, which she recently told courtiers now no longer applies to those who are empowered to speak on the crown's behalf (per Express). And not all royal family members follow all the rules all the time. Even William. Nevertheless, William is still subject to them, certainly if his silence on the matter of Rose Hanbury is any indication. In addition to complaining slash explaining, which he was not "supposed" to do in that case, here are some other things Prince William has never been allowed to do.

Prince William can't travel with Prince Charles without permission from the queen

Air travel helps keep businesses running and families connected, but one downside is that aircrafts crash, however infrequently. And, because the British royal family has had several tragic air travel-related incidents in its history, the queen does not like for those in the royal order of succession, which includes Prince William and his father, the heir apparent, Prince Charles, to travel in the same aircraft (via the BBC). For example, the queen's late husband, Prince Philip, lost his sister, Princess Cecile of Greece and Denmark, along with her children, her unborn child, and several other people aboard a small plane that crashed in Belgium in 1937 (via Little Things). Another tragic plane crash took the life of Prince George, Duke of Kent, in 1942 (per the Royal Collection Trust). Then, in 1972, another of the queen's cousins, Prince William of Gloucester, died in a plane crash at age 30, according to The New York Times.

The royal family continues to travel by plane, but think of the last time there was any news of William traveling with Charles. It may have been as far back as 1983, when William was a baby (per Town & Country). While permission has been granted for William and his children, who are currently numbers three, four, and five in the royal order of succession, it is possible that the queen may be growing more concerned (via The Sun). We wouldn't be surprised if the queen denied William and his children permission to travel together one day.

William can't travel without packing mourning attire

Putting aside grief and sorrow, which are personal matters in the eyes of the queen, the publicly observable act of "mourning" is a serious and highly formal business for the royal family (via CNN). When the royal family is in a period of mourning, they inform the public, which means the public should expect to see royal family members wearing mourning bands throughout the period (via the Royal Family's official website). Royal family members are also expected to have immediate access to mourning-appropriate clothes (presumably black, thanks to Queen Victoria's style preferences, according to the Metropolitan Museum of Art). To that end, Prince William is not allowed to travel without packing a mourning-appropriate suit, according to The Sun

But what one is allowed to do versus what one actually does may not always be the same. And in one famous instance, it was the queen who was caught without her mourning clothes. The year was 1952, and as heir presumptive, then-Princess Elizabeth went on a jungle safari with her husband, Prince Philip. Her father, King George VI died while the couple was away, but Elizabeth had not brought her mourning clothes. She was, therefore, unprepared to be seen in public, at least until her plane landed in the U.K., and mourning clothes were delivered to the plane for the new queen to change into before she stepped out onto the tarmac (per The Sun).

He isn't supposed to take selfies with fans

Although the queen has, at least once and seemingly inadvertently, photobombed a selfie (via Twitter), you'll likely never see her "take" a selfie, nor evidence that she has done so intentionally. That's because she isn't a fan of the selfie, according to what a former U.S. ambassador to Britain, Matthew Barzun told British magazine Tatler when the two spoke at the Commonwealth Games, shortly after said photobombing incident occurred in 2014 (via the Associated Press). And, as it goes in the royal family, when the queen does not like something, others tend to avoid doing that thing. Accordingly, Prince William is basically not allowed to take selfies with fans. 

Although some members of the royal family have posed for selfies taken by fans, including William, it happens infrequently, in large part because, at a typical meet-and-greet event involving the royal family, the queen will be present, and turning to take a selfie with a fan might involve either their own or the fan's turning one's back on the queen. And that is considered impolite and, therefore, not allowed (via Insider). Accordingly, fans who attend such events may be told that they, too, are not allowed to take selfies with the royals, according to New Zealand business mogul Greg Agnew, who attended a party at Buckingham Palace in 2017 and was told that attendees were prohibited from doing so (via New Zealand Edge).

Nor is William allowed to give his autograph to fans

While taking selfies with fans is "strongly discouraged" among the royals, it's not a "hard and fast" rule, according to CNN Royal Commentator Victoria Arbiter (via Insider). That being said, it's still not appropriate for Prince William to take a selfie with a fan if doing so would create other protocol or etiquette issues. That's one reason there's virtually no time when it would ever be appropriate for William to start handing out his autograph (via Travel & Leisure). Pausing for autographs might put William in the position of turning his back on the queen, for example. Further, "royals would always rather have a personal interaction than have people clamoring," Arbiter noted. Moreover, there is the fear among those who make the rules that the clamoring can quickly become "overwhelming" (per Insider).

There are also physical security concerns involved with autograph-giving, not to mention concerns that signing autographs might result in someone trying to forge a royal family member's signature, according to The Sun – especially when it comes to William, who is second in line to the throne after his father, Prince Charles, which could have disastrous consequences. As for Charles, himself, his response to being asked for an autograph is typically, "Sorry, they don't allow me to do that." What William and other members of the royal family are allowed to do is sign guest books and official documents (per The Sun).

The Duke of Cambridge cannot leave an event before the queen

Ever wondered why, when people take their leave from the queen, they tend to first back up, angling ever so slightly away from the queen first, before they complete a full 180-degree turn? There's a reason for that, which is that British royal protocol holds that it is disrespectful and, hence, inappropriate, for anyone, including heirs to the throne, such as Prince Charles and Prince William, to turn their back to the queen, according to BBC News.

Another rule that seems thematically related to not turning one's back to the queen is that no one, but no one, and that includes William, is allowed to leave an event at which the queen is in attendance before the queen does, according to BBC News, citing Debrett's Etiquette – well, at least not unless permission to do so has been granted by Her Majesty. But that can actually be arranged via her private secretary.

William is not even supposed to go to sleep before the queen

Overnight guests of the queen should not send themselves off to bed before Her Majesty decides that it's finally time for her to pack it in for the night, according to Zarife Hardy, a coach from the Australian School of Etiquette (via Business Insider). As author Sir William Hesteline explained in an interview with Harper's Bazaar regarding his book, "The Royals in Australia," doing so is considered "bad form." This rule applies to everyone, including members of the royal family. In other words, when visiting with the queen, Prince William is not allowed to go to bed until Queen Elizabeth says it's time. And this is despite the fact that the queen has a habit of retiring at midnight.

Some have found this bedtime rule challenging, and that includes William's mother, Princess Diana, Sir William noted during the interview. "For Diana, the long royal evenings were agony," he said of the years during which Diana was the wife of the heir apparent, but "nobody felt it right to go to bed before the Queen did." Since apples may not fall all too far from the tree, one may wonder if William is a night owl, like his grandmother, or if he finds this rule as difficult to follow as Diana may have.

The royal is not allowed to eat after the queen has stopped eating

When dining with the queen, one would be wise to do as Her Majesty does, according to Hello!. That means, among other things, sitting down only after the queen has taken her seat and picking up one's utensils to eat only when the queen is doing so. Of course, what that means is that when the queen is done with her dinner, so are you, as well as Prince William, even if you happen to have food left on your plate at the time — even if it's food you had hoped to consume. 

This particular rule, which could be viewed as a metaphorical corollary to the "never turn your back on the queen rule" is also consistent with the general proposition that you can't stray too far off the path of acceptable royal behavior if you not only comport yourself in the manner of the queen, but also always follow her lead. Hence, since the queen dislikes garlic, it would be improper for you to ask for garlic on your pasta when dining with her (via the Daily Record). And since the queen shuns shellfish, no one — and especially not William — would order shellfish while dining with the queen. 

The Duke of Cambridge cannot share his political opinions with the media

Politics are strictly off limits when it comes to the royal family. "As Head of State, The Queen has to remain strictly neutral with respect to political matters," according to the royal family's official website. This fundamental rule has been widely interpreted as applying also to all of those who stand in the royal order of succession (via Newsweek), and that, of course, includes Prince William, who currently stands at second in line to the throne.

What this means is that William is not allowed to express his political views, and it also goes without saying that he is not allowed to align himself with a political cause (via The Jewish Chronicle). That's why British officials were alarmed when William appeared to get himself involved in Middle Eastern politics by pursuing the role of peace envoy between Israel and the Palestinians, according to Robert Jobson's 2018 book on Prince Charles, "The Prince at 70" (via The Jewish Chronicle). "British officials immediately stepped in and insisted that was not William's role," Jobson wrote.

William isn't allowed to vote in British elections

Technically speaking, there is no official rule in place that prevents Prince William from exercising his right, as a citizen of the U.K., to vote in public elections. However, William has never voted, and it is unlikely he ever will. This is true whether he wants to or not, and it could be argued that there may have already been at least one time when he might have really wanted to.

We're talking the Brexit referendum, which William publicly opposed (via W magazine) and, which public opposition may have been in potential violation of the royal protocol, which dictates that he, along with all members of the royal family, are to remain neutral on politics (via the royal family's official website). "By convention, the Queen does not vote," the royal website goes on to say. By further convention (which holds that the members of the royal family will follow the queen's lead or the lead of whoever may be the monarch), other members of the royal family, likewise, do not vote. 

He isn't allowed to play the board game Monopoly

If your recollections of laughter and plenty of play-arguing with your family members during family board game nights fills you with all the nostalgic feels, then you're not alone. But you know who probably can't relate? If we had to guess, we'd go with Prince William. That's because the royal family is no longer allowed to play the Hasbro board game Monopoly, according to Express, and we can only imagine what had to have gone down during a friendly game of Monopoly among the British royal family to cause the queen to flat-out ban the game among members of the family (via The Telegraph).

However, we can tell you that this rule has been in place since at least as far back as 2008. That was the year that the Leeds Building Society tried to give Prince Andrew, Duke of York, a game of Monopoly as a gift, and Andrew declined, saying, "We're not allowed to play Monopoly at home. It gets too vicious" (per The Telegraph).

William cannot dress down for dinner with the queen

Ever watch "The Crown" on Netflix and wonder to yourself how the British royal family behaves in those moments in which they think no one is looking? If so, join the club. However, it would appear that there are only rare moments, if any, in which members of the British royal family are not aware that they are being scrutinized by the public in one way or another. But what we can tell you is that no matter who is expected for dinner, members of the royal family dress formally — no matter what they were doing earlier that day.

Former royal chef Darren McGrady, who cooked for the queen, Prince Philip, Princess Diana, Prince William, and Prince Harry, among others, told Marie Claire that he would, at times, observe royal family members coming in for afternoon tea, dressed casually in their "outdoor clothes," but by the time dinner was served, they would have changed into ball gowns and tuxedos to dine on "fine china" and be serenaded by live music.