It’s no secret that the royal family is very different from us. Aside from the fame and the money, they’re also subjected to rules that most of us wouldn’t dream of following. From adhering to a dress code to following some pretty strict beauty rules, the life of a royal isn’t all fun and games. Sure, there are some laws that the royal family doesn’t have to obey, but is never having to serve jury duty really a fair trade-off for not being allowed to play Monopoly?
The royal family has to follow some truly bonkers rules, but one of the most bizarre rules they have to observe concerns their bedtimes. While you’d think that a specific bedtime would be a rule that only the royal kids have to follow, it seems that the royal family just cannot go to sleep whenever they want.
The royal family can’t go to bed before the queen
A coach from the Australian School of Etiquette, Zarife Hardy, outlined some of the more outrageous rules the royal family has to follow for Harper’s Bazaar, including a rule that no one is allowed to go to bed before the queen. Considering that the queen reportedly goes to bed around midnight, it’s likely that this rule is for the royal adults, not the royal kids.
Sir William Heseltine, Queen Elizabeth’s former private secretary, told the Telegraph that this family custom isn’t so much a hard and fast rule as it is a tradition. Princess Diana regularly flouted the tradition. "For Diana the long royal evenings were agony," said Sir William. "There’d be an hour or so in the sitting room of everyone sitting around making conversation, and nobody felt it right to go to bed before the Queen did. And Diana was driven to such extremes that she’d excuse herself and go to bed, which was thought to be rather bad form, going to bed before the Queen."
Bad form or not, we can’t really blame Princess Diana for wanting to get in her eight hours of sleep.
Christmas has its own royal protocol
That’s far from the only bananas rule that the royal family has to follow. Christmas, for example, is a big deal with the royals, but one mustn’t tear into their presents willy nilly on Christmas morning. According to Hardy, Christmas gifts must be opened on Christmas Eve in the Red Drawing Room at Sandringham. Does this mean that Santa Claus doesn’t visit the royal children?
Christmas day is all about work. "Christmas is a full royal occasion for the Queen and her family and has been celebrated the same way for hundreds of years," said Hardy. "The Queen always spends Christmas at her winter estate, Sandringham, and guests are expected to follow a strict set of rules. There is a choreographed arrival schedule from junior to senior royal family members. Guests bring their own food and china to dine on. Since Sandringham is considered to be technically a court occasion, royal protocol is still observed, with proper bowing and curtsying and sticking to a strict dress code at all hours of the day."
That sounds… festive?
Being a royal lady is a workout
Everyone knows that tradition dictates women curtsy to royalty, but royals also have to follow this rule. Royal ladies must always curtsy to someone who is of a higher rank, which means Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle always have to curtsy when they see their regal grandmother-in-law.
This sounds like an exhausting tradition, but it also helps explain how Middleton and Markle keep in such great shape. Who needs to go to the gym when you’re constantly working those glutes? Not that the queen is able to see how fit all that curtsying keeps the royal ladies — according to royal protocol, no one is allowed to walk in front of the queen or even next to her. Turning one’s back to the queen is also a royal no-no.
Some royal rules are steeped in history
Not all of the rules the royal family has to follow are dictated by the Queen. One particularly kooky rule can be blamed on royals of long ago. Thanks to Charles II, who ruled in the 17th century, the Tower of London must always have at least six ravens in it and the royals are forbidden from freeing them.
According to Hardy, this was decreed after King Charles almost did away with the Tower’s ravens and was issued a dire warning by a courtier: "If the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it."
At least breaking the bedtime rule doesn’t come with such dire consequences.