Prince William and Kate Middleton

Prince William and Kate Middleton are two of the most famous people in one of the most famous families in the world — the British royal family, that is. As such, there’s a lot of interest and attention paid to them both. One aspect of royal life that many people can’t get enough of is the long list of seemingly bizarre and unusual rules that the family members have to follow, and many of those apply directly to the third in line for the throne and his wife of over ten years.

The rules apply to everything, from what William and Kate can eat to when they must stop eating during a meal and even to how their family travels together. Some of the rules might be better described as preferred suggestions, and others are hard and fast dictations from which there can be no deviation.

Here’s a look at some of the rules William and Kate are required to follow, and the reasons why.

Prince William and Kate Middleton must stop eating if the queen does

Prince William and Kate Middleton

Being part of the royal family means there are rules that govern nearly every action one might take, especially if those actions are conducted in public view. However, plenty of these rules apply to the home life of royals, too. One of the rules Prince William, Kate Middleton, and the rest of the royal family must adhere to is about meals — specifically, when they can and can’t eat them.

As reported by Express, the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth, sets the tone for how any meals conducted in her presence proceed. All members of the family must wait until she begins her meal before beginning their own, and if she stops eating, the rest of the family and attendees must stop, too. That’s right: Even if William and Kate are hungry, they will be required to stop eating their meals completely once the queen has established she’s done with hers.

Kate Middleton is required to curtsy to the queen

Kate Middleton attending an event

When and how people greet Queen Elizabeth is a major part of the etiquette that both commoners and the royal family are expected to follow. As such, it’s worth noting that Kate Middleton is required to curtsy when she greets the queen (per Inquisitr).

The queen’s actually not the only person in the family that Kate is required to bend her knees for. Since she married into the royal family, Kate is supposed to curtsy to the female members of the family who were born into it — from Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice all the way down to her own daughter, Princess Charlotte. The one caveat to this rule is if Kate is in a room with Prince William. If that’s the case, William’s own elevated status means Kate wouldn’t need to curtsy to anyone that he outranks.

There is one more rule here that should be mentioned: Kate is technically required to curtsy to her husband. However, in this day and age, this rule isn’t strictly enforced.

Kate Middleton cannot cross her legs in public

Kate Middleton attending an event

When it comes to performing public duties, there are plenty of rules that Prince William and Kate Middleton adhere to. One of the more surprising ones is that Kate cannot cross her legs in public — no matter what. The result is what is known as the "duchess slant," a position that has found both Kate and her sister-in-law Meghan Markle sitting with their knees to the side.

As My London notes, the term was coined by royal watchers who often noticed that Kate makes a point to sit with her legs parallel and slanted to one side. The pose is mostly used to avoid any potential embarrassing slip-ups, as Myka Meier, the founder of Beaumont Etiquette, explained to People. Meier said that the post is ideal for when Kate will be photographed directly head-on, "because by slightly slanting the knees to create a zig-zag effect when wearing a dress or skirt, your legs are angled so that the camera only shoots the sides of your legs and protects your modesty."

Kate Middleton and Prince William can’t hold hands in public

Prince William and Kate Middleton

If you watch the royal family closely, you will likely notice something is … missing. When it comes to married royals, it’s rare to see a pair hold hands or express PDA in any real way. This is especially true for Prince William and Kate Middleton, though the reason behind the behavior isn’t dark or dramatic.

As royal etiquette expert Myka Meier explained to People, the pair aren’t photographed holding hands in public precisely because they are in public. In other words, part of being Prince William or Kate Middleton means you’re more or less always on the job when you’re out, and something like holding hands isn’t exactly professional behavior. Despite that, Meier also says that the rule isn’t iron-clad. She explains, "There is no actual etiquette or royal protocol that says the couple must refrain from PDA … The couple are likely to show very little PDA, if any, to remain professional during their designated roles abroad."

Kate Middleton was required to have a specific flower in her wedding bouquet

Kate Middleton attending an event

It’s likely not too surprising that royal weddings and the people who participate in them are expected to comply with a fairly lengthy list of rules and expectations, though you might be surprised at the specifics.

When she married Prince William in April 2011, Kate Middleton was required to have a sprig of myrtle in her wedding bouquet. As Reader’s Digest notes, the tradition dates all the way back to Queen Victoria’s wedding, as the former monarch used myrtle from her own garden when she married her husband, Prince Albert.

In this aspect, Kate has been in good company: Both Princess Diana and the queen herself used myrtle in their own bouquets. Glamour shares that while many brides use the flower in their wedding bouquets, the myrtle used by members of the royal family comes from a garden planted by Queen Victoria over 150 years ago, which makes the flower quite special.

The pair are prohibited from engaging in political conversations

Prince William and Kate Middleton

As members of the royal family, Prince William and Kate Middleton are strongly encouraged to remain politically neutral at all times. As explained by the family themselves, the queen of England is required to stay neutral on political matters owing to her role as Head of State. As extensions of that role, both William and Kate are expected to toe the line.

However, that doesn’t meant that the twosome have been completely silent when it comes to what they are most concerned about. In October 2020, both addressed the presidential election in the U.S. They were also quite political back in 2016, when Kate wrote an article about the importance of addressing youth mental health. As Express notes, the move was a big one, as the Duchess of Cambridge had largely maintained political silence up to that point.

The publication also shares that William took things a step further when he delivered his own speech about the importance of Britain staying in the European Union. While encouraging members of the U.K. to remain open to relationships with other countries, he said, "In an increasingly turbulent world, our ability to unite in common action with other nations is essential. It is the bedrock of our security and prosperity and is central to your work" (via Express).

Prince William and Kate Middleton had to get permission to get married

Prince William and Kate Middleton

The Royal Marriages Act of 1772 is a pretty big one for members of the British monarchy: The rule dictates that all descendants of King George II must have the reigning monarch’s approval before they get married. This rule definitely applied to Prince William and Kate Middleton ahead of their 2011 wedding, with the queen issuing a decree in April 2011 indicating her approval for their union.

On April 21, 2011, Queen Elizabeth offered up her consent to the wedding. In the official statement, the monarch communicated that she approved of the marriage between "Our Most Dearly Beloved Grandson Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales, K.G. and Our Trusty and Well-beloved Catherine Elizabeth Middleton." As noted by the official website of the royal family, the decree issued was adorned with art that was meant to represent both William and Kate, including a Welsh leek and a red dragon.

Prince William and Kate Middleton needed the queen’s approval to name their kids

Prince William and Kate Middleton

Like many grandmothers, Queen Elizabeth has opinions about the baby names that her children and grandchildren choose for their offspring. And while it can feel like your own mother’s opinion about a potential name for a grandchild is important, that feeling is likely massive if your grandmother is the leader of a whole commonwealth.

It’s worth noting that the queen doesn’t officially have veto power when it comes to baby names, but as the Mirror points out, members of the family often have private conversations with Queen Elizabeth about their plans in case she isn’t a fan of a specific name. As the third in line to the throne, Prince William and Kate Middleton likely have had to toe the line a bit when it comes to royal baby names, as opposed to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (who named their firstborn Archie) and Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack (who welcomed their son, August, in February 2021).

Kate Middleton and Prince William aren’t supposed to eat potatoes

Prince William and Kate Middleton

While it might seem extreme to some, there are even rules about what the royal family can and can’t eat. Former Buckingham Palace chef Darren McGrady once explained to the Telegraph that the queen herself is not into carbohydrates, which means that members of the royal family aren’t supposed to be spotted indulging in the food group while in public (via Marie Claire).

McGrady worked at the Palace between the years 1982 and 1993, and told the publication that Prince William and Kate Middleton are expected to abide by the "no pasta, potatoes, or rice for dinner" policy. As he shared, when it comes to what she eats, the queen is focused. He explained, "When she dines on her own she’s very disciplined. No starch is the rule. … Just usually something like grilled sole with vegetables and salad."

Of course, this doesn’t mean the rule is always followed at home. As Marie Claire has shared, William and Kate’s oldest son Prince George is a big fan of pasta carbonara.

Prince William and Kate Middleton can’t take selfies

Prince William and Kate Middleton

Prince William and Kate Middleton are some of the most famous people on the planet, and members of the public are pretty obsessed with the twosome. In this day and age, taking selfies with celebrities and well-known people is pretty common … unless those people happen to be royal. When Prince William and Kate Middleton are out in public, the pair aren’t allowed to sign autographs or take a quick snap with anyone, no matter how big of a fan they might be.

The reason for the selfie ban was revealed in 2014, when U.S. ambassador Matthew Barzun told the Telegraph (via Elle) that Queen Elizabeth admitted to him she finds cell phones and selfie culture "strange." As he put it, "She was essentially saying: ‘I miss eye contact.’"

Jennifer Gehmair, who runs the tourism department for the Yukon territory in Canada, has elaborated on this stance. In an etiquette guide written for how to approach the royal family, Gehmair writes, "Turning your back to the Duke and Duchess and taking a selfie is discouraged if at all possible" (via OK! Magazine).

Prince William and Kate Middleton have to be mindful of their clothes

Prince William and Kate Middleton

Kate Middleton and Prince William certainly have a few rules to adhere to that apply to the clothing that they can and can’t wear in public. As working royals, their appearances are important — so much so that stylist Melita Latham told Express that while it’s likely the Duchess of Cambridge dresses fairly casually at home, when it’s time to be on the clock, she has to go all out.

Latham explained that some styles are just never on the table. She said, "Royal means nothing above the knee and very rarely a v-neck and never both. Picking dresses over trousers and wearing tights is also preferred at formal engagements." Additionally, royal women rarely wear ultra high heels, though Kate has been known to experiment with heel height that deviates from the preferred standard.

When it comes to being dressed casually in public, the "casual" that William and Kate stick to is a little different than what many of us might define as relaxed. For example, the Irish Mirror notes that for royal women, casual is "a smart day dress or trousers along with a jacket or cardigan" while royal men can stick with "a blazer with a collared shirt and chinos."

Prince William has his own set of rules about travel

Prince William attending an event

The royal family has a pretty standard rule when it comes to who can travel together and why. To avoid losing more than one heir in the event of an accident or similar tragedy, heirs to the throne are generally not allowed to ride in the same car or on the same plane while on the move. This is certainly true for Prince William and his father, Prince Charles, and William also doesn’t travel with Queen Elizabeth.

However, the rule isn’t quite as rigid when it applies to young children. William and his son, Prince George, are often photographed traveling together alongside Kate Middleton and the pair’s second and third children, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. As Express notes, once George turns 12 years old, he will no longer be allowed to travel with his father, meaning the family will have to come up with new travel arrangements.