They might have gold-encrusted thrones to retire to each night, but the labyrinth of etiquette rules the Duchess of Sussex and Duchess of Cambridge dutifully navigate every morning is enough to give you a royal migraine.
What Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton can and can’t wear is so complex, royal etiquette expert Myka Meier told news.com.au each woman has a “team of aides” to help them dress.
“They have a team who know what is appropriate for the event they’re attending, and Meghan especially would be given a lot of advice on (what to choose),” the founder of Beaumont Etiquette said.
While you scoot around in your sneakers and denim jacket, here’s what those poor royal buggers need to wear whenever they’re on the job.
PANTYHOES ARE NON-NEGOTIABLE
If Queen Elizabeth is attached to any style protocol, it’s that women within the palace must be wearing pantyhose while working.
“It’s very traditional for female members to wear them,” Meier explained.
“During the day it is something that’s seen as the most conservative, the most formal, the most professional in the role as a working royal.”
KEEP YOUR ROBE ON
There’s a reason you see Kate Middleton in so many dress-coat hybrids — while working, she’s simply not allowed to remove the outer layer of her outfit.
To do so would be seen as indecorous.
“Whether it’s a blazer or a jacket when all eyes and cameras are on you, working royals are taught not to disrobe in the public eye,” Meier explained.
PUT YOUR TOES AWAY
Spare a thought for Meghan’s feet, please. Someone should really grab the Vaseline and Band-Aids.
“During the day, when the duchesses are on duty, we typically only see closed-toe shoes,” Meier said, adding that round or slightly-pointed toe shoes are the most acceptable.
“We often don’t see too much of a platform for a day event, and we tend to see open toe only at red carpet events.”
DAYTIME DIAMOND BAN
Aside from marital and religious jewelry, it’s highly unlikely you’ll see a royal donned in diamonds while they’re working.
“Other jewels are worn pre-6pm,” Meier told news.com.au. “Before 6pm, you’ll see metallics, gemstones, pearls, sapphires. At night, you’ll see the diamonds come out, and that’s in order to not come across as flashy in your appearance.”
Anti-royalists might be chuffed to know the royals don’t actually get any handouts.
“Royal aides can call in dozens and dozens of pieces, for just one sitting,” Meier said. “At the end of the day, the Duchess of Cambridge or Duchess of Sussex would have the choice of the final piece, and everything else would be sent back.
“Meghan Markle, in her old life, would have been gifted all sorts of fabulous things to wear and now she may not take free pieces, or gifts, and must pay for whatever she chooses. She has to buy them.”
SHOULDERS COVERED AND NO CLEAVAGE
“At formal engagements, we typically always see the shoulders covered,” Meier said. “So if (working royals) are going to a charity event or a walk through a hospital or museum, it’s expected shoulders will be covered.”
You’ll be positively stunned to know that a bit of breast is frowned upon, too.
“Cleavage is something that is not practiced, especially during the day.”
CONSERVATIVE HEMLINES AND “FUNCTIONAL” SLITS ONLY
While some were surprised to see Meghan Markle wear a mini tuxedo-dress at the Hamilton musical this week, it’s unlikely we would see her in anything like that for a day event.
“(Women in the palace are expected) to have modest hemlines and slits that are only for function,” Meier said.
“For their formal daywear, we’re not going to see Angelina Jolie-style slits. There might be one in the back or a slight, slight one in the front to help them walk, but slits are for function, not for style during the day.”