Meghan trooping the colour

Later today, as part of this year’s Trooping the Colour parade ceremony, various members of the Queen’s family will join her up on the balcony at Buckingham Palace. This isn’t just a casual family jaunt into the open air—there’s a strict protocol about who gets an invite. And of course there’s drama about who stands where.

Who stands on the balcony?

There’s no fixed list of attendees, since the group is tailored to each occasion. It will however always include the monarch and his or her spouse (though Prince Philip did not attend last year), plus the first and second in line to the throne, along with their spouses. One steadfast rule is the familiar “no ring, no bring,” so no boyfriends or girlfriends allowed.

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See who was up on the balcony last year below:

Who started the tradition?

As with many recent royal practices, this one was started by Queen Victoria. During the opening celebrations of the Great Exhibition in 1851, she was the first monarch to utilize the balcony as a way to greet her subjects. Seven years later she also instigated the family going out onto the balcony to acknowledge the crowds who had gathered for the wedding of her daughter Princess Victoria, and an iconic royal wedding tradition was born.

The royal family following George VI’s coronation. In the front on the left is a young Princess Elizabeth next to her sister, Margaret. Getty Images

Who stands where?

The Queen usually stands in the centre of the balcony, unless it’s a royal wedding, in which case the bride and groom take center stage. There are no designated spots for the different members of the family—so it’s not a case of Prince Charles always being on the left, or Prince William always on the right—but on most occasions the first and second in line to the throne—Charles and William—plus their wives and children will always be grouped around the Queen.

On which occasions do the family appear?

The most regular—and the one with the largest group—is Trooping the Colour, the annual celebration of the sovereign’s birthday, which is always held on a Saturday in June. After the Queen inspects her troops, she and her family process in carriages back to Buckingham Palace where they make their traditional balcony appearance. Invitees include descendants of the Queen, her sister and her cousins, plus their spouses. The group often tips the 30+ mark, and for the Queen’s 90th birthday in 2016, there were over 40 family members gathered.

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Ever since the wedding of Princess Victoria in 1858, it has been customary for royal brides and grooms to acknowledge the crowds below. The image of kissing newlyweds on the balcony has become so iconic, it is perhaps surprising to note that it has only happened on three occasions.

Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer were the first to kiss for the crowds, followed by Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson—who joked around pretending they didn’t hear the request, before obliging. On William and Kate’s wedding day, they kissed twice as the crowds cheered wildly.

Will and Kate on their wedding day. Getty Images

Not all royal couples end up on the balcony on their wedding day though, as some marry outside London. Prince Edward, Peter Phillips, and most recently Prince Harry chose to get married in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, and Zara Phillips’ wedding took place in Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh.

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Major anniversary of the monarch’s coronation always ensure a little balcony action, but with a far smaller group. For the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, which marked 25 years on the throne, there were just nine people present: the Queen, her husband, their four children, and her mother, sister, and cousin. For her Golden Jubilee (50 years) in 2002, it was a larger crowd, made up of her children plus their spouses and offspring.

The Diamond Jubilee (60 years) marked a stark contrast with the previous celebration; just five figures stood beside the monarch. With Prince Philip in the hospital, it was Prince Charles, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry taking center stage. The message was clear—here was the stripped-down future of the royal family.

The Queen on the balcony alongside Charles and Camilla, William, Kate, and Harry at her Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Getty Images

Coronations and Major State Occasions

There have been less than a handful of balcony appearances following a coronation— and the most recent was of course that of the Queen’s in 1953. She appeared on a jam-packed balcony with her attendants and her family, including a young Prince Charles. She was also present for her father King George VI’s coronation appearance when she was 11.

In times of war, a balcony appearance is sometimes deemed appropriate. It’s a reminder that the monarch is not merely a ceremonial figurehead—the kings and queens are a potent national symbol for their people, and their appearance cements that relationship.

On August 4, 1914, when the UK officially went to war with Germany, King George V was called out onto the balcony three times by the crowds below, who were looking for reassurance from their head of state.

Prime Minister Churchill with the royal family on the balcony. Getty Images

To commemorate the end of World War II, Prime Minister Winston Churchill appeared alongside the King and Queen and their daughters, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. The family made eight appearances throughout the day, and during the final one, Elizabeth and Margaret slipped into the crowd to experience the celebrations with everyone else.

Marcia Moody Marcia Moody has been reporting on the Royal Family for six years, and is the author of Kate: A Biography and Harry: A Biography.

All About That Iconic Royal Family Photo on the Buckingham Palace Balcony

It’s the ultimate royal photo op!

The entire royal family gathered together on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on Saturday to celebrate the Queen’s annual birthday celebration.

Queen Elizabeth was joined by Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and new parents Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Several other royal family members, including scene-stealer Savannah Phillip, Princess Eugenie and new husband Jack Brooksbank, Princess Beatrice and Princess Anne, also stood on the balcony.

RELATED: Everything We Know About Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Son Archie Harrison (So Far!)

The royal tradition of the balcony appearance began with Queen Victoria, who decided to greet her subjects from the balcony during the opening celebrations of the Great Exhibition in 1851.

The tradition is carried out each year during the Trooping the Colour celebrations, which is in honor of the Monarch’s official birthday. The Queen typically stands in the center of the balcony, surrounded by her family members.

Image zoom The royal family at Tropping the Colour 2019 Neil Mockford/GC Images

This year marks Meghan’s first post-baby balcony appearance. (She made her debut on the balcony last year, just weeks after her royal wedding.) Kate made her debut on her wedding day to Prince William. The then newlyweds famously kissed (twice!) as the crowds cheered below them.

Image zoom Neil Mockford/GC Images Image zoom Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images

  • Can’t get enough of PEOPLE’s Royals coverage? Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

George and Charlotte are old pros at the balcony wave — this year is Charlotte’s fourth appearance. Their younger brother, Prince Louis, also made his big debut this year. Harry and Meghan’s son Archie is too young to attend the big event, which includes a noisy flypast over the palace.

  • By Erin Hill @erinhillny

Trooping the Colour may not be an official holiday in the United States—but for your devoted royal watchers and In the Limelight hosts, Josh Duboff and Julie Miller, it is a special cause for celebration. The 260-year-plus tradition, in honor of Queen Elizabeth’s birthday, is an occasion when the senior members of the royal family join Her Majesty for a public appearance. And this year’s edition was especially action packed. Prince Louis made his balcony debut, showing off a scene-stealing wave. Meghan Markle made her first public engagement since giving birth to her and Prince Harry’s son, Archie Harrison. And what an entrance the new parents made—arriving in a carriage with Kate Middleton and Camilla.

On this week’s episode of In the Limelight, “If Carriages Could Talk,” Josh and Julie dissect Trooping the Colour, declare their own MVPs, and christen an unlikely breakout. They also chat about the season premiere of Big Little Lies—from Meryl Streep and Reese Witherspoon’s on-screen showdowns to that haunting train moment—and Josh’s evening at the Tonys, which ended with a Sex and the City–style metaphoric moment.

So rest your arms from all that balcony waving; pull on your pearl choker and pistachio green sweats; and listen to this week’s In the Limelight. Afterward, please share your thoughts, questions, and feedback with In the Limelight on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to In the Limelight on Apple Podcasts. Listeners can also call in to the In the Limelight hotline at (347) 790-0966 to leave tips or ask questions!

It’s good to be the Queen. Not only do you get to live in a palace and have access to a full-on library of jewels, but you also get to have two birthdays. Queen Elizabeth II was born on April 21, 1926, but every year, she also has a public birthday celebration during the month of June. Why the second date? It all comes down to the weather—a weekend in the summer is the only time for a parade.

This year’s parade, which is also known as Trooping the Colour, will take place on Saturday, June 8. The date was announced in the Court Circular last year, and is also noted on the Household Division of the British Army’s website. The festivities will likely begin around 10:30 a.m. local time.

If you’d like to attend the event, members of the public are advised to gather on the Mall near Buckingham Palace or at the edge of St. James Park, with the best places to stand marked on this map with dotted black lines. While you could have applied for tickets in the seated stands earlier this year, that window has now closed. It sitting in the stands is on your bucket list, applications must be made between January and February.

The full royal family on the balcony at the 2018 Trooping the Colour. James DevaneyGetty Images

In the U.K., the parade will be broadcast live on the BBC at 10:30 a.m. The program will also be available online shortly after the event.

But what exactly is Trooping the Colour?

In short, it’s a parade of military pageantry in which the monarch inspects her troops, a tradition which dates all the way back to King George II in 1748. For years, the Queen did this on horseback, but since 1987, she has arrived via carriage. According to the Household Division, the celebration features more than 1400 officers, 200 horses, and 400 musicians, and the Queen’s extended family attends, making for an iconic annual photo up on the Buckingham Palace balcony.

Watch the video below of last year’s Trooping for a little more insight:

Caroline Hallemann Senior Digital News Editor As the senior digital news editor for Town & Country, Caroline Hallemann covers everything from the British royal family to the latest episodes of Outlander, Killing Eve, and The Crown.

Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis Are Clearly the Most Amusing Spectacle at the Trooping the Colour 2019

The children of the British royal family may have stolen the thunder from their great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, at her own parade.

At the Trooping the Colour 2019 on Saturday, Prince George of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge and Prince Louis of Cambridge were as cute as ever on the Buckingham Palace balcony in London. It was one-year-old Prince Louis’ debut at the event, but considering how enthusiastically he was waving, it seems the Cambridge child is ready for royal duties.

Prince Louis and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge appear on the balcony during Trooping The Colour, the Queen’s annual birthday parade, on June 8, 2019 in London, England. Samir Hussein—WireImage/Getty Images Prince Louis, Prince George, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge appear on the balcony during Trooping The Colour, the Queen’s annual birthday parade, on June 8, 2019 in London, England. Samir Hussein—WireImage/Getty Images

Princess Charlotte, 4, waved to the crowds, while Prince George, 5 — usually the king of being hammy — didn’t necessarily get in on the action.

Their parents, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge and William, the Duke of Cambridge laughed as the three kids showed off their royal attitudes.

The annual Trooping the Colour is a birthday parade for the queen. Her 93rd birthday was on April 21, but her “official” birthday falls on the second Saturday of June every year, when the royal family gets together to watch the parade of military flags, or colors, marching, or trooping, throughout London.

This tradition has been around for hundreds of years — so the queen has been lucky enough to have two birthday parties for many years since her coronation in 1953.

Though it wasn’t a party for the kids, the Cambridge kids seem to find all the attention at every opportunity, just like at last year’s event. Prince Louis was under two months old at the time, so he wasn’t able to get in on the fun. But his siblings and cousins certainly held down the fort. Savannah Phillips, the Queen’s great-grandchild and the daughter of Peter and Autumn Phillips, made headlines with her antics at 2018’s Trooping of the Colour.

Savannah Phillips puts her hand over Prince George of Cambridge’s mouth as they stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during Trooping The Colour 2018 on June 9, 2018 in London, England. Max Mumby—Indigo/Getty Images

Savannah, who is the eldest grandchild of Mark Phillips and Princess Anne, covered her cousin Prince George’s mouth, because the infamous five-year-old loves causing trouble in the form of cuteness.

In the front row (L-R), children, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, Savannah Phillips, Prince George of Cambridge and Isla Phillips chat on the balcony of Buckingham Palace as members of the Royal Family gather to watch a fly-past of aircraft by the Royal Air Force, in London on June 9, 2018. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS—AFP/Getty Images

Savannah and her sister Isla Phillips had fun on the balcony during the Royal Air Force’s aerial presentation, along with their cousins Prince George and Princess Charlotte — even though Savannah did have to ‘shush’ her cousin a few times.

Write to Rachel E. Greenspan at [email protected]

Trooping the Colour, also known as the Queen’s Birthday Parade, is an annual military parade to mark the reigning monarch’s official birthday.

It is held in early June on the parade ground the other side of St. James’ Park to Buckingham Palace, known as Horse Guards Parade.

Over 1,400 soldiers take part in the parade, more than 200 of them mounted on horses. Ten military bands, made up of roughly 400 musicians, perform the marching tunes. The Officer in Command of the Parade shouts some 113 words of command.

It is British military pageantry at its best.

The origin of Trooping the Colour

Trooping the Colour is now all about the pomp and pageantry, but it is based on an old military practice.

The Colour is a term for the flag used to mark a regiment’s position in the battle field. Each regiment would congregate around its Colour and young officers would march in between the ranks holding these flags high so that soldiers would know where to position themselves or come to if they had been separated from their regiment.

This practice was known as Trooping the Colour.

Who takes part in the parade?

As sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II is head of the British Armed Forces, and during Trooping the Colour, she will be greeted by a royal salute from soldiers of the Household Division; she will also inspect her troops. The queen used to inspect the troops on horseback, but now rides in a carriage.

The Household Division is responsible for guarding the monarch and performing on ceremonial occasions; its soldiers are also among the elite of the army’s fighting force.

There are seven regiments in the Household Division: The Life Guards, The Blues and Royals, The Grenadier Guards, the Coldstream Guards, the Scots Guards, the Irish Guards and the Welsh Guards.

The reigning monarch is traditionally the Colonel-in-Chief of all the regiments of the Household Division.

There are currently four other Royal Colonels in the Household Division.

The Princess Royal is Colonel of the Blues and Royals, The Duke of York is Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, The Duke of Kent is Colonel of the Scots Guards, the Duke of Cambridge is Colonel of the Irish Guards and the Prince of Wales is Colonel of the Welsh Guards

What happens during the parade?

The royal carriage procession leaves Buckingham Palace with members of the royal family waving to the crowds that are lining the way from the palace down The Mall to the Horse Guard’s Parade.

The queen travels in the Ascot Landau; since the Duke of Edinburgh has retired from public duty, she is expected to ride alone.

On arrival at Horse Guards Parade, the royal party goes to a viewing position on a balcony overlooking the parade ground while the queen, having inspected the troops, watches from a special platform or dais on the parade ground as the soldiers parade past.

The four royal Colonels of the Household Division will ride on horseback to the parade.

After the parade the royal party returns along the Mall in their carriages. The queen will then take a final salute before joining the rest of the royal family on the balcony at Buckingham Palace for the Royal Air Force fly past to mark her birthday.

This year, we expect to see all three of the Cambridge children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis — on the balcony. It is also hoped that the Duchess of Sussex will make an appearance, her first public one since she introduced her son Archie to the world on May 8.

This will be the queen’s 67th birthday parade.

While Meghan Markle was beaming in her blush Carolina Herrera dress for her Trooping the Colour debut, and Duchess Kate looked lovely in her icy blue Alexander McQueen outfit up on the Buckingham Palace balcony, Princess Anne looked like a total badass wearing her military uniform and riding horseback in the Queen’s annual birthday celebration.

The Princess Royal rode alongside her brothers Prince Charles and Prince Andrew and her nephew Prince William in the parade.

Princess Anne is on the far right, riding alongside Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Andrew. Getty Images

According to People, the reason Princess Anne rides horseback during Trooping the Colour, as opposed to arriving in a carriage like some of the other members of her family, is because she’s a royal colonel, and more specifically she is a colonel of the Household Division, the Queen’s guards who are on display at Trooping the Colour.

“Prince William and Prince Charles are royal colonels, which is a position given by the Queen to a member of the royal family that serves as Colonel-in-Chief of a regiment in the British army or navy,” reporter Diana Pearl wrote last year.

“In addition to William and Charles, Prince Philip, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward are all royal colonels, as is the Queen herself, and a number of other royal cousins, like the Duke of Kent and The Duke of Gloucester.”

After the parade Anne joined the rest of the royals up on the Buckingham Palace balcony for the flyover. Here she is on the far left:

Getty Images

As an avid equestrian, Anne typically rides during Trooping. For example, here she is back in 2016:

Getty Images

And again, in 2013:

Getty Images

While the Queen now arrives in a carriage to inspect her troops, she used to ride on horseback for the event like her daughter, and the resemblance is uncanny. Below, a few photos of the Queen at Trooping the Colour through the years.

The Queen and Prince Philip in 1965:

Getty Images

Leading her troops in 1981:

Getty Images

During the 1959 Trooping the Colour:

Getty Images Caroline Hallemann Senior Digital News Editor As the senior digital news editor for Town & Country, Caroline Hallemann covers everything from the British royal family to the latest episodes of Outlander, Killing Eve, and The Crown.

She Was in a Royal Love Triangle … or Rectangle?

For Camilla (now the Duchess of Cornwall), before she married Prince Charles, she was married to Andrew Parker Bowles. And for Andrew, before Camilla, there was Princess Anne.

As we see in the show, Anne was dating Andrew in the ’70s, around the same time her brother started seeing Camilla. But then Andrew married Camilla, who eventually went back to Prince Charles after her marriage with Andrew ended.

Prince Charles, speaking with his great-uncle in one episode, perhaps put it best: “It’s all a bit messy.”

Kidnapping a Princess? Not ‘Bloody Likely.’

A 26-year-old would-be kidnapper, who targeted the princess one evening in 1974, messed with the wrong royal.

Princess Anne and her first husband, Capt. Mark Phillips, were in their car in London when Ian Bell began shooting at the vehicle. Two police officers, the car’s driver and a nearby journalist were shot and wounded.

When Bell tried to get Princess Anne out of the car — in the hopes of getting a ransom of 2 million pounds — the princess, according to government documents released 30 years later, said her cooperation was not “bloody likely.” Bell tried to escape but was tackled and apprehended by another officer.

16 Fashion Rules the Royal Family Lives By

The British royal family abides by a very specific—and strict—style guide. And though it must be tough to appear prim and proper all the time, the queen’s handful of sartorial rules have kept the family looking posh and avoiding potentially embarrassing faux pas for 60-plus years. When should one wear their military garb? What else might clutches be good for, beyond carrying breath mints and lipstick? It’s all in the (figurative) handbook! Below are 16 royal fashion do’s and definite don’ts.


Dan Kitwood, WPA Pool/Getty Images; DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS, AFP/Getty Images; John Stillwell, WPA Pool/Getty Images; Chris Jackson, Getty Images; JOHN STILLWELL, AFP/Getty Images; Chris Jackson-Pool, Getty Images; ARTHUR EDWARDS, AFP/Getty Images; David Rose, WPA Pool/Getty Images; Gareth Cattermole, Getty Images

After all, she wants to be noticed. Throughout her 66-year reign, Queen Elizabeth II has sported monochromatic fuchsia, lime green, and canary yellow outfits from her wardrobe, which boasts every (yes, every!) color of the rainbow. The uniform is quite sensible, though: She wants to guarantee the public can see her through the crowd.


Portrait of then-Princess Elizabeth holding her daughter, Princess Anne, with the grandmothers Queen Mary (left) and Queen Elizabeth, following the christening in October 1950. Central Press, Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Royal etiquette requires one be worn by women to all official events. It’s a stipulation that dates back to the 1950s, a time when women were starting to ditch their hats when going out in public. Though further modernization has eased up on the rule—Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton’s perfect blowout is proof enough—the Queen insists the tradition be kept alive, especially at formal engagements like weddings and christenings. In fact, she rarely forgoes a headpiece, often trading a hat for a crown or headscarf.

The most important rule: Hats are discarded after 6 p.m., when it’s time to break out the tiaras!


Queen Elizabeth, Princess Anne, Princess Diana, and Duchess Catherine all wearing tiaras at various events. Queen Elizabeth: Chris Jackson, WPA Pool/Getty Images. Princess Anne: Jeff Spicer, Getty Images. Princess Diana: Lionel Cherruault Royal Picture Library, Alamy Stock Photo. Duchess Catherine: Paul Hackett, WPA Pool/Getty Images.

Yes, only married women of the family get to don the jewels. That’s because tiaras signify relationship status—and let curious bachelors know if a woman is off limits.

“It signals the crowning of love and the loss of innocence to marriage,” Geoffrey Munn, the author of Tiaras: A History of Splendour, explained to Forbes. “The family tiara was worn by the bride and from that moment onwards it was the groom’s jewelry she was expected to wear. It was a subliminal message that she had moved from her own family to another.”

According to Munn, Princess Diana was the last royal to strictly adhere to the family jewels portion of the tradition—she came from the aristocracy and wore her family’s Spencer tiara at her 1981 wedding to Prince Charles. Kate Middleton donned her first tiara, a Cartier halo piece borrowed from the Queen’s collection, on her 2011 wedding day. And though it has yet to be confirmed, it is rumored that Meghan Markle will likely pay tribute to Prince Harry’s mother by wearing one of the late Princess Diana’s tiaras at her May 19 vows. As an American, odds of Markle having a “family tiara” are pretty low.


Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince George all wearing proper shorts as children. Prince Charles: STF, AFP/Getty Images. Prince William: PA Images, Alamy Stock Photo. Prince George: Richard Pohle, WPA Pool/Getty Images.

There are no dinosaur sweatpants in Prince George’s closet. Like his father, Prince William, and his Uncle Harry, the 4-year-old heir—he’s third in line to the throne—will only attend public events wearing smart shorts and never pants.

“Trousers are for older boys and men, whereas shorts on young boys is one of those silent markers that we have in England,” British etiquette expert William Hanson told Harper’s Bazaar. “A pair of trousers on a young boy is considered quite middle class—quite suburban. And no self-respecting aristo or royal would want to be considered suburban.”

The tradition actually dates back to the 16th century and the practice of breeching, or when a tot grew out of gowns and moved on to, well, breeches. Adds Hanson, “The usual custom is that a boy graduated to trousers around 8 years old.”


Queen Elizabeth II meets trainee firefighters as she tours the new London Fire Brigade Headquarters at Southwark in February 2008. Chris Jackson, Getty Images

Sure, they’re fashionable. But gloves are also a safety measure favored by the Queen when attending an official engagement that requires her to shake hands with a lot of people. The accessory—which the royal glove maker says are almost always either black or white and made out of cotton and nylon—prevents the spread of germs.

One notable exception to the rule was Princess Diana, who preferred to actually hold the hands of those she met during public visits. She wasn’t dubbed the people’s princess for nothing!


Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, leaving their airplane as they return from Kenya following the death of King George VI in February 1952. Keystone, Hulton Archive/Getty Images

You’ll rarely see a royal wearing black, but while traveling outside the country, they are required to pack a full black outfit in case of emergency. This is so that, if a family member dies, they’ll arrive back in England dressed appropriately, since they will certainly be photographed when departing the plane.

Queen Elizabeth learned this lesson from experience. In 1952, then just a princess, she and her husband, then the Duke of Edinburgh, were in Kenya when she learned her father had passed. When she arrived back in Britain without appropriate clothing, she was forced to stay on the plane until a black outfit was delivered to her.

Still, outside of mourning, black is considered a major faux pas. You’ll only see the hue worn on Remembrance Day, a memorial observed for those who have died in battle.


Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge keeps her coat on while visiting Waikato Hospice Rainbow Place in Cambridge, New Zealand in 2014. Peter Drury, Getty Images

Etiquette bars female members of the family from removing their outermost layer in public, viewing it as an “unladylike action.” So, unfortunately, if the temperature suddenly spikes, Duchess Kate just has to sweat it out.


A close-up of Kate Middleton’s manicure. Andrew Chin, Getty Images

Bright colors are saved only for the Queen’s wardrobe. The rules state that fingernails must be a practical and natural shade, meaning the royal manicurists favor pale pinks and clear polishes. In fact, since 1989, the Queen has been faithfully using the Essie shade Ballet Slippers.

Kate Middleton, however, has found a loophole: The Duchess dares to wear red on her toes.


Queen Elizabeth II holds her black Launer handbag during a reception in 2017. Hannah McKay, WPA Pool/Getty Images

It’s not like she needs house keys! While the Queen is known to pack lipstick and reading glasses in her purse, she also uses her iconic Launer bags to send signals to her staff. For example, when she wants to leave a dinner, she sets the purse on top of the table, letting her aides know to wrap up in five minutes. Or, if she’s in the middle of a dull conversation, she’ll place her bag on the floor, giving a cue to her lady-in-waiting that she’d like to be rescued.



To avoid an embarrassing slip up, Princess Diana relied on her custom clutches to shield her chest while stepping out of cars, thus keeping paparazzi from getting their money shot.

“We used to laugh when we designed what she called her ‘cleavage bags,'” Anya Hindmarch told The Telegraph of when Diana would buy her clutches. ” little satin clutches which she would cover her cleavage with when she stepped out of cars.”

Duchess Kate uses hers as a safety net. If she does not want to shake hands while on a visit, she will hold her bag in front of her with both hands, appearing too occupied to reach out. (The public is not allowed to touch a royal family member unless they make the first move.)


Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wears wedges while on a tour in Singapore in 2012. Chris Jackson, Getty Images

At least, in the Queen’s mind. They’re not completely banned, but one palace insider told Vanity Fair wedged heels are not favored by the Queen and that “it’s well known among the women in the family.” Kate would often wear her beloved Stuart Weitzmans when her grandmother-in-law wasn’t present, but it’s been a few years since she’s been out in a pair.


Sophie Rhys-Jones, Countess of Wessex, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall watch the Order of the Garter procession at Windsor Castle in June 2011. Paul Edwards, WPA Pool/Getty Images

No bylaw explicitly states pantyhose are a must. But, it’s an unspoken rule that the Queen expects—and enforces—female family members and their guests to wear tights to all public outings.

That being said, newcomer and resident rule breaker Meghan Markle skipped nude stockings during her November engagement photo call. She quickly learned her lesson, though. At Commonwealth Day at Westminster Abbey in March, the Suits actress slipped on a pair.


Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, speaks to soldiers in 2011 in Calgary, Canada. Chris Jackson, Getty Images

Otherwise suffer a Marilyn moment. In her custom dresses, the Queen has small, lead curtain weights sewn inside her hemlines. Though they weigh less than an ounce each, they keep her skirts from flying up if there were to be a sudden gust of wind.

As a fan of billowy dresses, Kate Middleton has taken note of this tailored trick after several stiff breezes have threatened to show London (and likely France) a glimpse of her underpants.


Princess Anne, Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry, and Prince Philip all wear their military uniforms during 2015’s Trooping the Colour. Chris Jackson, Getty Images

Since the 19th century, it has been customary for royals who have served in the armed forces or hold honorary military titles to wear their ceremonial uniforms at special, formal events, such as Remembrance Day, the Trooping the Colour, or any service honoring the British troops. The Queen’s daughter, Princess Anne, who has 24 honorary military appointments, has been notable in wearing a military uniform to these formal events. According to Slate, it’s thought that she may be the first royal woman to dress in military attire publicly since Elizabeth I in 1588.

At his 2011 vows, Prince William donned his red Colonel, Irish Guards uniform because he had recently been appointed to the position. After the ceremony, however, he changed into a double-breasted tuxedo for the reception.

Will Harry follow suit on his big day? Because he is no longer a serving officer, it’s not required for him to wear his uniform. So he can choose between that or the slightly less formal morning dress, much like his father did—Prince Charles wore his naval commander uniform for his 1981 wedding at St. Paul’s Cathedral, but chose morning dress for his 2005 civic ceremony with Camilla Parker Bowles, now the Duchess of Cornwall.


The Duchess of Cambridge wore a maple leaf brooch and her hat featured a maple leaf design while on a trip to Canada in September 2016. Dominic Lipinski-Pool, Getty Images

While traveling, the family will pay tribute to a country they are visiting by sporting the national color or by incorporating a meaningful emblem into their outfits. For example, the Queen has worn jade green while visiting Ireland, while Kate has worn a maple leaf brooch and hat on trips to Canada. During a trip to India, Kate sported a piece by a local designer, bringing them so much attention their website crashed hours later.


Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attend a Wheelchair Tennis match during the Invictus Games 2017 in Toronto, Canada. Vaughn Ridley, Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation

It’s certainly not a go-to item in any royal closet. For more casual outings, women in the family tend to favor trousers, cardigans, and blazers, while men take to polo or button-down shirts and khaki pants. But the BBC interviewed an etiquette expert who explained that most of the time jeans are a no-go, “but if the duchess is outside walking the dogs for example, then jeans are fine.”

Essentially, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed, so denim tends to be for private life only.

Meghan Markle’s First Major Post-Baby Outing at Trooping the Colour 2019 Looked Like a Lot of Fun

It may have been Queen Elizabeth II’s party, but at Trooping the Colour 2019 on Saturday, all eyes were on new parents Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.

The couple appeared together for the first major public event since Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor’s birth on May 6. Though the one-month-old royal baby stayed home during the event, the Duke and Duchess joined Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s 93rd birthday.

Meghan smiled as she rode in the processional carriage with her husband, Kate Middleton, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall before overlooking the celebrations from the Buckingham Palace balcony. According to People, Meghan wore a navy blue dress by Clare Waight Keller, her wedding gown designer, and a hat by Noel Stewart.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex ride by carriage down the Mall during Trooping The Colour, the Queen’s annual birthday parade, on June 8, 2019 in London, England. Samir Hussein—WireImage/Getty Images

The annual Trooping of the Colour, which is the queen’s birthday parade, features military units waving their flags (colours) while marching (trooping) in London. Royal Air Force planes also fly above the spectacle.

Queen Elizabeth was born on April 21, 1926, but the royal family has a tradition of celebrating a monarch’s birthday with this special parade at the start of summer. The queen first attended the Trooping the Colour in 1947, according to the royal family’s Twitter.

With June being ideal weather for an outdoor production, the occasion has been around for more than 260 years, according to the royal family’s website. The day of Trooping the Colour marks a monarch’s “official” birthday.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex during Trooping The Colour 2018 on June 9, 2018 in London, England. Mark Cuthbert—UK Press/Getty Images

At last June’s event, just one month after the Duke and Duchess’ wedding, Meghan stepped out in a pink off-the-shoulder Carolina Herrera dress and matching Philip Treacy hat to celebrate the birthday of her grandmother-in-law.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during the Trooping the Colour parade on June 9, 2018 in London, England. James Devaney—FilmMagic

Write to Rachel E. Greenspan at [email protected]

This first public appearance by the Duchess of Sussex since giving birth to baby Archie less than five weeks ago cements the importance of Trooping the Colour as a key event in the royal family calendar.

Meghan is taking a break from official duties following the birth of her son but joined her husband and other royals to honor the 93-year-old Queen in her annual official birthday parade. It is first time she has been seen since posing for images two days after Archie was born.

The parade comes with much pomp and pageantry—some 1,400 soldiers, 400 musicians and almost 300 horses will be taking part—but at heart, it is a family affair. Meghan’s attendance indicates that she clearly very much wanted to be there, and that she and Harry felt this was something they could make work at this early stage in their baby’s life.

Meghan and Harry pose with baby Archie, introducing the newborn to the world. WPA PoolGetty Images

There is no word from the royal household on who is looking after little Archie and has not been confirmed what, if any, help the Sussexes are currently receiving with childcare. However, if they have brought their son to Buckingham Palace it means he could be meeting his cousins for the first time while the parade takes place.

That said, unlike some of his older cousins, Archie is not expected to make an appearance on the balcony with the family to watch the spectacular flypast from the Royal Air Force’s the Red Arrows.

Of course, the fact that Meghan’s attendance at a public event comes just a few days after President Trump’s State Visit that she did not take part in will inevitably lead some to question whether she could also have joined royals at events during his trip. However, a royal source has pointed out that the Duchess is “still on maternity leave and will be for the rest of the summer” adding that Trooping The Colour is very much a “family moment.” Indeed, there is a point to be made that attending an event with members of her family is somewhat different to resuming the weight of official diplomatic duties.

The Duchess of Cambridge made her first appearance following the birth of Princess Charlotte in 2015 at Trooping the Colour. The annual event would also have been her first public appearance following Prince Louis’ birth in 2018 were in not for the fact she was seen at Harry and Meghan’s wedding in May beforehand.

The Queen takes part in the Trooping the Colour parade on horseback in 1983. Tim GrahamGetty Images

It goes without saying that the Queen has never missed a parade throughout her reign—although the whole event was cancelled in 1955 due to a rail strike. She attended the ceremony on horseback until 1987 when she arrived by carriage for the first time.

Trooping is also one of the rare occasions that royal children tend to attend earlier than other public family outings. While Archie is still too young at just five weeks, George and Charlotte both appeared on the palace balcony during Trooping for the first time before they were two years old, following in the footsteps of William and Harry and Prince Charles who were similar ages.

Contrast this with, for example, appearing at church at Sandringham on Christmas morning, where five-year-old Prince George has yet to be seen publicly. Trooping the Colour has marked the Official Birthday of the British Sovereign for more than 260 years. It has been held in June since the reign of King Edward VII, the Queen’s great-grandfather. His birthday was in November but he moved the parade to June to take advantage of nicer weather.

Victoria Murphy Journalist Victoria Murphy has reported on the British Royal Family for nine years.

  • Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attended Trooping the Colour on June 8, 2019.
  • The Duchess of Sussex is currently on maternity leave following the birth of baby Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
  • Prince Harry couldn’t stop staring at his wife, who looked totally flawless in Givenchy.

Meghan Markle’s chic appearance at this year’s Trooping the Colour certainly caught our attention. And it seems that it also caught Prince Harry’s.

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Arriving together in the same carriage, along with royal family members Kate Middleton and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Meghan and Harry looked completely adorable together. While Meghan wore a chic navy look created by her wedding dress designer, Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy, Harry wore his uniform. Meghan looked stunning, as she made her first public appearance since the birth of her first child on May 6, 2019.

And throughout the day, Harry couldn’t stop staring at his beautiful wife, the Duchess of Sussex—which is pretty understandable, tbh.


In fact, for the entire carriage ride, both Harry and Meghan were beaming. Clearly, becoming new parents to baby Archie is suiting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex very well:

Chris JacksonGetty Images

They also looked elated as they joined the rest of the royal family on the balcony at Buckingham Palace to watch the Royal Air Force’s flypast:

Neil MockfordGetty Images Victoria Jones – PA ImagesGetty Images

Fans were also excited to spot that Meghan is wearing a new ring on her ring finger. Fan account Meghan’s Mirror noticed the new pavé-set band, posting on Twitter, “Meghan is wearing a third ring on her ring finger — a delicate pave-set band — alongside her engagement and wedding rings.” It’s thought that the ring is likely an eternity ring from Prince Harry.

Meghan is wearing a third ring on her ring finger – a delicate pave-set band – alongside her engagement and wedding rings.

— Meghans Mirror (@MeghansMirror) June 8, 2019 .