16 strange secrets about marrying a British royal

We hope Meghan doesn't like shellfish...
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The British Royal Family is a glamorous one, there’s no doubt about it. So it’s easy for us non-royal folks to daydream about being part of it someday, somehow. And why not? Jewels, palaces, people catering to your every whim… what could be better?

Kate Middleton is living that daydream, thanks to marrying Prince William and thus becoming an official member of the Royal Family. And Meghan Markle will be living that dream as well when she marriesPrince Harry next year. While marrying into the British Royal Family certainly has its perks, there are also many parts of the gig that might not bode well with those of us who haven’t had to answer strict rules our whole lives.

As it turns out, you can’t do whatever the heck you want when you marry British royalty. You have a whole new set of obligations and requirements, as well as a list of new things you’re actually forbidden from doing.

You can’t accept food or drinks unless it’s at an official function.

When the royals take part in a walkabout, which is essentially when an important guest strolls with a crowd, they are not allowed to take food or drinks. Why? For security reasons. Just as their ancestors used royal taste testers, royals today will not accept food because there is no way to verify that it is safe. When they attend official functions, however, they are allowed to eat the food.

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When she stands, you have to stand. When she sits, you sit. When she decides she’s done with her meal, the meal is finished for everyone at the table.

You can’t be active in politics.

The Royal family is technically allowed to vote, but they choose not to because it’s considered unconstitutional and something that would take away from their ability to identify with and relate to all sections of society.

Six ravens must live at the Tower of London at all times.

There must be six ravens in the Tower of London at all times. Weird, right? This dates back to the time of Charles II, when the monarch required that seven ravens (six ravens and one spare) live at the Tower. His request came because of a legend that said: “If the ravens leave the Tower, the kingdom will fall…”

Two heirs cannot travel together.

It was once a rule that two heirs were not allowed to travel together for fear that their aircraft would go down and Britain would lose two potential rulers in one blow. Thanks to Princess Diana’s insistence that the children accompanied them on trips, this rule has been all but forgotten now.

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When you adopt a royal title, you can’t be referred to as anything else.

While people still call her Kate Middleton in casual conversation, no one would ever think of addressing her in that way in a formal setting. She can only be referred to by her full official title, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

You shouldn’t expect to see a lot of shellfish.

In the past, the Royal Family was discouraged from eating shellfish out of concern for risking food borne illness and allergic reaction. The Queen, to this day, reportedly will not touch them. However, Prince Charles has been known to bend this more flexible rule and indulge in oysters.

You’re not allowed to play Monopoly.

Prince Charles’s younger brother, Prince Andrew Duke of York, banned Monopoly in the Royal Family because it reportedly became “too vicious” when they attempted playing it in the past.

You have to accept every gift graciously.

No matter what the gift is, royals are expected not to say no to it. More often than not, gifts are usually flowers or tokens of symbolic gestures. But even the oddball presents – like the live crocodiles once gifted to Prince Andrew – must be accepted as well. (Thankfully, the crocs were moved to the London Zoo!)

It’s up to the Queen who gets to keep what gift, though.

Anything given to any member of the Royal Family actually belongs to the reigning monarch—Queen Elizabeth II. So reselling or regifting any present is strictly forbidden for them. But the Queen can loan out gifts to whoever she wishes; that’s why you see a lot of Princess Diana’s jewelry on other members of the Royal Family.

Your clothes can’t send ambiguous statements.

Fashion is a huge part of being a royal. That said, you’re expected to showcase an elegant and modest look without sending any unclear messages to the public.

You’re not allowed to avoid public observation.

You will always be in clear sight of the people of your country, the press, and anyone in the world who chooses to watch you. You cannot escape approval—or rejection—from the public eye.

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There’s a strict order in which to sit, stand and walk.

Royals have to move in order of ranking. So since Queen Elizabeth II is the reigning monarch, she always goes first, followed by Phillip. Next come Charles and Camilla. And then it’s William and Kate. Harry follows behind them.

You’re not allowed to sign autographs.

Anything other than official papers authorized by the Queen is a big no-no for Kate Middleton to sign. This is to prevent her signature from being forged.

You may not work for money.

You are, however, allowed to make official activities and charitable causes, and support other royals on official missions.

You’re not allowed to express your thoughts on controversial issues. This includes political, social, and sexual preferences.

This article originally appeared on our sister site, Woman’s World

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