Why Was Prince Louis Wearing Shorts on Christmas Day?

We don’t often put shorts and a cold winter day together—but there’s a reason why.

Prince Louis
(Image credit: Getty)

Prince Louis charmed crowds assembled along the path to St. Mary Magdalene Church at Sandringham on Sunday, and even those who couldn’t be there on Christmas Day to see the royal family make their traditional walk in person were taken by the little guy (*hand raised*).

But, on a cold winter morning in December, many of us were left wondering—why is Louis wearing shorts?

As his family around him bundled up in coats (yes, Louis did have on a dress coat himself—his was blue), Louis wore burgundy shorts, which left some scratching their heads. The reason? Royal tradition, it seems: according to People, it is “a time-honored tradition for young British princes.”

“Boys wear short trousers until they are eight,” says Ingrid Seward, royal expert and editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine. “It is very English.”

For Sunday’s walk and church service—Louis’ debut at the traditional royal event!—he wore his navy dress coat over a plaid shirt, his burgundy shorts, knee-high navy socks, and slip-on loafers. He didn’t seem cold—People reports that Louis’ mom, the Princess of Wales, even spoke to well-wishers about the day’s temperate weather—and was just following custom, as the outlet reports “it’s typical for upper-class boys in Britain to wear shorts in their younger years.”

“It is considered very suburban for a little boy to be in long trousers when he is just a little boy,” Seward says, adding that graduating to long pants is an exciting milestone. “It is shorts until you’re eight and then, ‘woo, you’re in long trousers.’ They suddenly feel very grown up.”

Louis’ dad Prince William and uncle Prince Harry often were dressed in shorts when they were little boys, as was Louis’ older brother Prince George, who, at nine years old now, has officially graduated to long pants. That said, rules can shift (likely according to temperature in this case): when George made his own Christmas walk debut at Sandringham in 2019 at age six, he wore pants, “proving that shorts are simply a suggestion,” People reports. 

Rachel Burchfield
Contributing Royal Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.