Even though the royals have always been around (since the 1500s at least), they were in the spotlight even more than usual in 2018 thanks to royal weddings and big headlines. Meghan Markle entered the picture, adding a jolt of youthfulness, and Harry and Williams’s cousins, Beatrice and Eugenie, even got a bit more of the spotlight. But with royal outings came plenty of royal rules that nobody knew about, or at least didn’t talk about, until this year. Here are the most head-scratching things we learned about the royals and the rules and regulations they have to follow.
No garlic allowed
No, the house of Windsor isn’t descended from a long line of vampires. The royals can’t have garlic at official functions because Queen Elizabeth II doesn’t like it. That doesn’t stop a few of them from eating it, however. According to Vanity Fair, Kate and William do indulge occasionally. But as for Elizabeth, it’s always off-limits. Carolyn Robb, a Kensington Palace chef, explained that the reason was pretty obvious: nobody wants bad breath and the royals are constantly interacting with people, so it’s safer to avoid the chance of garlic breath altogether.
When they travel, the royals also try to avoid eating rare meat and tap water, just in case.
Royals must pack an all-black outfit when they travel
Not to be a total downer, but this rule has to do with mourning. According to The Independent, when the members of the royal family travel, they all pack an all-black ensemble that’s appropriate for mourning, just in case something happens. The outfit’s always ready, so when the royals arrive at the airport and are inevitably photographed, they’ll look appropriate. Because of the traditions surrounding mourning and death, the public would expect to see all the royals in black during any sort of funerary situation. Anything else would look wildly inappropriate.
There are nail polish rules, too
Queen Elizabeth’s favorite nail polish color is Essie’s Ballet Slippers. That doesn’t make wearing the shade a royal decree, but there are rules surrounding nail polish. The Sun reports that “garish” colors like red are banned from royal hands. That’s why you’ll always see Kate and Meghan in baby pinks, nudes, and creamy neutrals at official events. As for non-official events, the rules seem made to be broken. While Kate hasn’t been snapped wearing a red—the color was historically associated with prostitutes and is seen as “vulgar”—Meghan did show off an almost-black manicure during her surprise appearance at the British Fashion Awards.
There are perks to being queen
Here’s one thing that only applies to the queen: she doesn’t need a passport when she travels internationally. The Atlantic reports that while the other members of the royal family, including the queen’s husband, Prince Philip, as well as Prince Charles, have to have official passports, the queen doesn’t. Not only that, she doesn’t have to deal with customs, either. She breezes through airports like only a queen can, literally.
Elizabeth doesn’t need a driver’s license to drive, either. Like British passports, licenses are issued in the queen’s name. Though she doesn’t really drive outside of the royal estates, she’s been snapped cruising around in a Range Rover and her love of driving is well-known. Protocol usually calls for her to be driven.
Royals can marry Catholics now
Thanks to the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, a slew of old rules surrounding royal weddings were amended. Among them is a stipulation that states that royals aren’t allowed to marry Catholics. Before the 2013 act, George Windsor, Earl of St. Andrews, lost his place in the line of succession, but now, he’s back in 34th place. The act came into the spotlight this year because it also included the repeal of the Royal Marriages Act 1772. Now, only the first six in line to the throne need to get the ruler’s permission to marry. Everyone outside of that select group is free to marry as they please. This was probably more of a formality than anything else, but abolishing the act seemed to bring the monarchy a few steps closer to the present day when it comes to love and marriage.
Riding in cars with heirs
Royal protocol states that two heirs can’t travel in the same vehicle, whether it’s a plane or automobile. This is due to the possibility of losing more than one in the case of an accident, but it’s one rule that Prince William did break. During his flight to Australia, he and Prince George flew together, since the little prince was only 9 months old. But on a separate trip to New York City, they were back to being separated: George stayed home. The Sun notes that this goes back to when travel was much more dangerous. The queen’s relaxed this particular rule, which is why William and his entire family are often seen traveling together.