Weird Rules You Have To Follow When You're Dating A Royal

As many fans of the royal family know, being royalty comes with plenty of perks — as well as an equally long list of royal rules that the family has to follow. While these protocols affect various aspects of life, including mealtime and public events, it should come as no surprise that dating is another measure that's wildly different for royal family members than it is for the everyday public. Likewise, if you think that regular dating is difficult, you'll definitely be shocked by some of the rules that have to be followed while dating royalty.

For example, the royal family isn't a fan of public displays of affection, and while those guidelines aren't hard-set rules, you can bet that the family won't be happy if you try to get touchy with your royal boo in public. Another big issue when it comes to royal relationships is privacy. As noted by Insider, you should never talk about the details of your romance to the press. Similarly, ABC News said that when in doubt, one can look to Kate Middleton's treatment of the media (polite, yet never personal) as guidance. With plenty of protocol to remember when it comes to royal dating, you absolutely want to get all these weird rules memorized before even thinking about pursuing a royal relationship.

Limit the PDA

While plenty of new couples enjoy showing love for their partner, if you happen to end up in a royal relationship, you'll probably want to hold off on the public displays of affection. According to Harper's Bazaar, the royal family frowns upon PDA, especially while traveling. The latter is due to concern that a member of royalty might accidentally offend a culture that prefers to be more on the conservative side. The outlet additionally pointed out Prince William and Kate Middleton's pose during a 2016 visit to the Taj Mahal as proof of this discretion. Likewise, Insider stated that even putting an arm around a royal (as LeBron James once did to Middleton) is considered a big no-no.

U.K. etiquette coach and expert William Hanson said it's crucial to keep your hands to yourself when around royalty, adding that the only contact anyone should have is a handshake. On the other hand, People declared that there aren't actually hard-set rules for royal couples, with royal etiquette expert Myka Meier telling the outlet that royal couples will adjust their PDA based on where they are. Still, it's noted that public displays of affection amongst royals aren't expected. "It is rare to see royal couples holding hands on official outings," said Meier. Of course, she added that choosing to do would be based on the couple's own preference.

Friendship comes first

While plenty of romances begin as friendships, ABC News reported that when it comes to royal relationships, starting off as friends first is definitely the right way to go. Likewise, the outlet offered up Prince William and Kate Middleton's romance as proof that friendship truly can lead to long-term love. According to Katie Nicholl (a longtime royal reporter for The Daily Mail), long before they became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate were friends. Nicholls stated that the royal couple initially met at the dining hall on St. Andrews University's campus, adding that the prince initially noticed Middleton coming in from morning runs and eventually asked her to join his group of friends during breakfast.

Additionally, it's noted that Middleton was initially dating someone else during the early days of her friendship with the prince, which Nicholl speculated helped the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge build a strong bond before things turned romantic. Likewise, Well+Good reported that being friends first can be a great foundation for an eventual romance. Relationship expert and licensed therapist Rachel Wright, LMFT, said that the same things that make a successful friendship could also make people great partners as well. She added that every type of relationship, whether romance or not, changes as time passes.

Table manners are important

Depending on the situation, attending dinner with your partner's family can be a casual affair. Still, if your significant other is a member of royalty, mealtime is undoubtedly going to require bringing your A-game. According to People, if you want to impress a prince or princess' family, you'll definitely want to follow royal etiquette. Royal expert Myka Meier said that when it comes to eating, you'll want to be sure to cut up your food into small pieces so they can be consumed in one or two bites. Furthermore (and even trickier) is lifting up your morsel on a fork. Instead of stabbing your food, you'll want it to be balanced on top of the fork tines.

Likewise, Meier said that soup is a particularly tough obstacle to master. She stated that the regal way to eat soup (referred to as the "Eton flick") requires you to eat it by pushing the spoon away from you, bringing it up to your mouth slowly, and then quickly consuming the liquid. Similarly, Marie Claire noted that various royal dining rules must be followed. For example, in addition to formal wear, dinner guests must remember not to make clanking sounds with their silverware, always drink from the same place on their cup, and hold said cup properly by putting your thumb and index finger through the handle and using the other fingers for support.

Don't talk about your relationship publicly

In a royal romance, there are plenty of rules to remember, but no matter what happens between you and your royal sweetie, Insider reports that you should never, ever talk about them to the press. According to U.K. etiquette coach and expert William Hanson, regardless of whether you want to gush or vent about your royal partner, you can't talk about your relationship to the public. He added that those who do might end up finding themselves in a royal break-up. Instead, talk about charity work or other projects, Hanson said, "but don't ... [use] the new fame to air your thoughts and feelings on love."

Likewise, ABC News reported that one key rule to a successful royal relationship is being loyal to your partner. Using Prince William and Kate Middleton's then-on-and-off romance as an example, the outlet stated that even during break-ups, the Duchess of Cambridge never bad-mouthed her now-husband publicly. Similarly, during her time living in London, when Prince William's then-girlfriend was targeted by the media, Middleton reacted like a true queen by smiling at paparazzi and being friendly but discreet. Entertainment reporter Kiki King stated, "The British public really like her ... Kate Middleton seems to have won people over." So with that love story's happy ending, it seems like the Duchess of Cambridge's approach is definitely the right way to go.

Anyone dating a royal must dress the part

With plenty of rules for royal dating, you'll want to remember to dress the part. According to Insider, even though you don't have to start living in pantyhose or a suit, you'll want to dress more formally if you're attending an event with your royal partner. Likewise, the aforementioned etiquette expert William Hanson stated that some royal events can be more formal than others, so you'll want to be aware of how dressy you'll need to be, depending on the occasion. On the other hand, Hanson said that daytime events are typically less of a formal affair, which means you'll want to dress more business (cocktail dresses or skirt and suit ensembles) than ball gown.

Additionally, Marie Claire reported that when it comes to the royal dress code, there's a different set of rules for men and women — but both have plenty of fashion etiquette to follow. For example, every royal family member must have multiple wardrobe changes for Christmas Day, they cannot wear diamonds before 6 p.m., and they must always bring a black outfit when traveling. These rules are also why royals like Kate Middleton are always seen carrying a clutch, and why royal ladies never take off their coats in public. When it comes to men, they are expected to keep things more casual for less formal matters, and wear suits for fancier affairs.

A royal's romantic interest should get involved with charity work

In addition to following other protocols, Evening Standard recommends that those in royal relationships should consider getting involved in charity work. Using Meghan Markle as an example, they pointed out that the Duchess of Sussex previously stated in an interview that charity work was something that she and her now-husband, Prince Harry, bonded over. Likewise, our favorite etiquette expert William Hanson told the outlet that the royal family is big on being charitable. Hanson added that charity duties were something that Markle was already interested in before meeting Prince Harry. He said, "she's already heavily involved in women's rights, which is new and exciting territory for the royal family and she brings relatability, even more so than the Duchess of Cambridge."

Similarly, Us Weekly reported that charity work played a significant role in the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's relationship, both before their marriage and later in their decision to break away from royal duties. One example of charity work that's important to the couple is the Invictus Games, the first of which Prince Harry organized in 2014, two years before he met Markle. The charity was created with the goal of earning money to assist wounded, injured, and sick veterans and allow them to compete in Paralympic-style sports. Later, while the pair were dating, the "Suits" actor joined her partner and assisted with the charity, something they continued to do together even after they got married.

You're going to want the queen's approval

If you've jumped into the world of royal dating, and things have gone well, maybe you're seriously thinking about taking the next step and making things official. Still, when it comes to a royal relationship, getting engaged and then getting married is far more complicated than simply saying "yes" and "I do." As noted by PopSugar, before embarking on a royal engagement, the royal family member might need to get approval from the queen. While this rule used to apply to all royal family members, in 2013, the law was altered to only involve the six royals closest to the throne. Additionally, the source noted that in 2015, when Princess Charlotte was born, Princess Beatrice of York became seventh in line to the throne, thus allowing her to forgo written permission before getting engaged. 

On the other hand, royals like Prince William needed to get the okay before proposing to Kate Middleton in 2010, which she gave. She even signed a lengthy Declaration of Consent for the marriage on February 9th, 2011, two months before the couple was wed. Likewise, when Prince Harry wanted to pop the question to Meghan Markle, he first needed to get his grandma's permission. While it wasn't likely that Queen Elizabeth II would say no, it's noted that if the queen not granted her approval, the Duke of Sussex's relationship plans would have immediately been halted. 

Know what you're getting into

Those eager to tie the knot with their royal boo need to be aware of what they're giving up, and according to Redbook, there are plenty of changes to adjust to. For example, even if you're marrying a royal, you aren't going to become a prince or princess. So if a British queen marries a non-royal, he becomes known as a king consort, but he isn't a king. Similarly, when Prince William takes the throne, Kate Middleton will be referred to as "Queen Consort." Another thing that will be affected by marrying a royal is political affiliation. While the royal family represents their country, they don't participate in political events. So you'll also be expected to remain politically neutral. 

Additionally, if you marry into the royal family, you'll have to be referred to by your royal title. Also, if you're a big fan of Monopoly, you won't like the rule that states you have to give up playing if you become a member of the royal family. The outlet noted that in 2008, Prince Andrew banned the royal family from playing because they would allegedly become overly competitive. Finally, due to concern for potential food poisoning or an allergic reaction, the royal family has been advised to avoid shellfish, so don't expect to see it on the dinner menu.

Follow protocol if you meet Queen Elizabeth

While dating a royal, there's a good chance that if things get serious, you'll end up meeting the queen at some point. However, as Insider noted, you will want to remember to address her properly first as "Your Majesty," and then as "ma'am." Likewise, BBC News stated that there are plenty of rules to follow when meeting HRM. For example, when first introduced to her, you want to remember to curtsy or bow (head only). However, you could also shake her hand or do a combo of the two if you want. In addition to arriving early, you'll also want to follow Queen Elizabeth's lead, which means not speaking unless spoken to and waiting for her to sit down before doing so yourself. The same rule also applies to eating, if food is being served.

Then, of course, there are also various things that you never want to do when meeting the queen. For instance, you never want to touch Queen Elizabeth unless it's for a handshake. While the outlet noted that John Howard and former first lady Michelle Obama have both put an arm around the queen in the past, it's probably better to avoid copying their actions. Also, you should never leave the room before the queen does, as it's considered rude to do so. The same goes for turning your back on HRM or asking her personal questions.

If things get serious, you might need to be baptized

If you and your royal partner decide you want to tie the knot, you might also need to get baptized before walking down the aisle for your royal wedding. As reported by the Daily Mail, before getting married to Prince Harry, Meghan Markle got baptized in a low-key ceremony at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle. The intimate affair took approximately 45 minutes, was conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and was attended by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. As stated by the outlet, the Duchess of Sussex's baptism officially welcomed her into the Anglican faith.

Still, Refinery29 stated that the "Suits" actor (who was raised Protestant and attended a Catholic high school) didn't actually need to convert, but likely did so as a gesture of goodwill towards Prince Harry and his family. Notably, the write-up stated that the queen's presence in regards to the Church of England is prominent, and she even holds the official title of Supreme Governor of the Church of England. This ranking also gives Queen Elizabeth the power to appoint members of authority to Anglican cathedrals. Likewise, this means that Markle's conversion didn't just show a strong sense of loyalty to the royal family, but also respect for the queen and her role in the church.

Dates shouldn't take selfies with members of royalty

While dating a member of royalty, you might get lucky enough to meet your partner's royal family members. Still, even though meeting royalty can be super exciting, you'll want to refrain from snapping a picture with them and don't even think about taking a selfie with the queen. According to MyLondon, royals aren't supposed to take pictures, and senior members of the royal family don't even post selfies of themselves on social media. While it might seem like this decision is due to security issues, the outlet states that it's actually much more straightforward. The queen doesn't like selfies, and if asked, she will gently decline to take one.

Likewise, the Daily Mail reported that royals were initially more reluctant to get their photo taken during the early days of camera phones. However, in recent years, royals like the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have posed for quick snaps with various members of the public. Even royals like Prince Charles (who's previously admitted that he loathed selfies) has been seen taking quick pics with people eager to get a photo with the royal. Still, while other members of the royal family have opened up to the idea, the Daily Mail reaffirmed that Queen Elizabeth is still firm in her choice. So if you can't resist trying to get a selfie with a member of your partner's royal family, just be sure not to ask HRM.