Kids—no matter if you’re royal are not—are bound by rules. Rules at home. Rules at school. But royal kids? Well, the experience of being a royal kid takes rule-following to an entirely different level.
According to The Daily Express, royal etiquette dictates nearly every aspect of Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis’ lives. The outlet reports that the Cambridge three have strict etiquette lessons, and etiquette expert Myka Meier of Beaumont Etiquette says the children of the royal family are given rigorous training to prepare for big events like the Platinum Jubilee or other appearances they may make.
“Etiquette training for the royals starts as soon as they’re old enough to sit at a table,” Meier says. “They are raised having formal meals, going to formal events, and practicing everything from voice levels to dressing appropriately to even, of course, how to curtsy and bow.”
George and Charlotte were among the children who were part of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding in May 2018 (little Louis, of course, was not even a month old at the time, so he sat that one out). Claudia Bradby, jewelry designer and wife of ITV news anchor Tom Bradby, attended the royal wedding and told ITV “They were very well practiced. They looked as if they were really enjoying it. One little girl was upset but being comforted by the promise of Peppa Pig and Smarties later.” (Hey, TV and candy are great motivators even for this 30-something writer.)
Fast forward to March of this year, and George and Charlotte came with their parents, Prince William and Kate Middleton, to great-grandfather Prince Philip’s memorial service. At one point, Kate told Charlotte to “shhh.”
“I think what’s important is that Kate did not just correct, i.e. telling Charlotte to ‘shhh’ and be quiet at that pivotal moment, but she took time to connect,” says parenting expert Angela Karanja, founder of Raising Remarkable Teenagers. “Throughout the event, especially notably at the beginning, there were several moments of connection. For example, at the beginning when the young daughter appears nervous, the mum leans over and whispers something that evidently cheers her up. We notice a lot of connection before correction, which is a powerful and positive parenting skill that I encourage a lot with parents. Also, we don’t see Kate telling Charlotte off angrily. She does the correcting so matter of factly and swift, and as contained and concealed as she could in that public place.”
Kate in particular is what etiquette expert Pattie Ehsaei calls the perfect example of true etiquette.
“She has stepped into that role but yet she is still her individual self—she is not this robot or a Stepford wife,” Ehsaei says. “She speaks her mind but in a very eloquent way, and she really does the things that she feels passionate about. She doesn’t allow other people to hold her back while still being within the confines of being a royal, and that’s a really tricky balance, but I think she navigates that beautifully.”
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.
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