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Royal travel: The fashion rules royals must follow abroad or face major disgrace

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Royal Family members travel around the world frequently as part of their duty representing the UK. Though this is often a lavish affair, very different from the stark reality of travel for regular passengers, they are subject to a number of stringent rules the general public are not.

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These rules and regulations are steeped in tradition, dating back to the dawn of aviation.

Many of these protocols dictate not only how a royal should pack their luggage, but also how they should dress at all times while abroad.

Though these traditions may seem bizarre to your typical traveller, one expert who has detailed insight into exactly why the rules are so important to the monarchy is Anne Chertoff.

Ms Chertoff is the chief operating officer at New York-based Beautmont Etiquette, which currently runs a specialist online royal-themed etiquette course.

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Royal travel: The Royal Family must follow strict fashion rules (Image: Getty Images)

Royal travel: Queen Elizabeth wearing the Canada Maple Leaf broach on tour (Image: Getty Images)

She told Express.co.uk about the specific rules Royal Family members, including Queen Elizabeth II, must follow when jetting off on global ventures.

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The destination the Royal Family members are visiting is often one of the key players in deciding what they wear for the duration of their time there.

As Ms Chertoff explains, clothing worn on the trip must reflect the culture of the destination country, and garments are often sourced from local designers.

“When packing looks for a state trip it is considered respectful, good etiquette and customary to shop from the designers from that country, or looks that reflect the style and culture of the destination,” the expert detailed.

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“For example, when Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge travelled with Prince William to India in 2016 she wore a memorable white and blue dress by Indian-American designer Naeem Khan when the couple visited the Taj Mahal.”

The dress was hand-selected by the Duchess of Cambridge from the designer’s 2015 collection to wear on the India and Bhutan tour she undertook alongside her husband Prince William.

The Duchess of Cambridge was photographed wearing the dress as she sat beside her Prince William outside of the Taj Mahal, in what the designer described as “a historical moment”.

Similarly, the etiquette expert points to a more recent occasion in 2019, when the Duchess of Cambridge made a similar fashion decision.

Royal travel: Prince William and Kate on tour in India, 2016 (Image: Getty Images)

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“When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travelled to Pakistan on an official visit in 2019, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wore a blue kurta from Pakistani brand Zeen as well as other designs and designers that reflected the local fashion women in Pakistan wear,” she said.

Ms Chertoff added: “It’s a sign of respect to the country and the culture they’re visiting to wear attire that is customary to what is worn as well as to wear clothing and accessories by designers from that country to show support.”

Failure to do offer a nod to the country could be misunderstood as a lack of respect.

However, it is not just clothing choices that fall into this category.

The accessories royals opt for also play a crucial role.

Queen Elizabeth II has been gifted all manner of jewels over the years, some of which hold important cultural significance.

“The Queen may loan select jewellery to women in the family to wear as a nod to the destination, such as the Diamond Maple Leaf Brooch Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wore on her state trip to Canada in 2011,” explained Ms Cheroff.

“The Queen wore it in 1951 on her trip to Canada.”

The diamond broach was originally owned by The Queen Mother, which was gifted to her by George VI ahead of their Canadian tour in 1939.

Though some of these details may seem rather small to the average globe-trotter, for the Royals failure to represent themselves in a certain way can result in disgrace.

This is particularly true in wake of mass media and social media when one bad photograph can spark all manner of comments.

“When members of the Royal Family are on an official state trip on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II they are working, just as anyone else on a business trip,” points out Ms Chertoff.

“It’s appropriate for them to dress well to show respect to the people they are meeting with.”

This is also why the monarchy opt for “elevated” clothing when travelling, such as suits or dresses and hats.

“They may wear more relaxed clothing for long flights, but when exiting a plane they’re dressed in a suit or dress,” continued Ms Chertoff.

“When members of the Royal Family disembark on an official trip they are greeted by official representatives from the nation’s government, along with the international press. These are official events.”

However, there are some occasions when they may opt for something a little more comfortable to travel in.

“On personal trips for vacation where they do not expect to be greeted by dignitaries at the airport or press they are more likely to dress in more casual attire,” said Ms Chertoff.

The good news is, they do have some freedom over what they choose to wear while abroad.

“As long as the individual is dressing appropriately for the occasion, such as an evening gown or tuxedo for a black-tie event, they can choose to wear a designer, colour or style they feel comfortable wearing,” Ms Chertoff explained.

“In the past few years, the Queen and many members of her family have decided to stop wearing fur, and have opted to wear faux-fur in cold weather instead.”

Aside from showing respect for foreign cultures, there are some additional scenarios the Royal Family may have to consider.

“When packing for a trip it is protocol that they typically pack an all-black outfit,” the expert continued.

“If there’s a sudden or unexpected death and they need to attend a funeral or appear in mourning it’s important to have the clothes they need to wear.”

This is a rule derived from the Queen’s own experience on her Commonwealth tour in 1952.

“When Queen Elizabeth II was travelling with Prince Philip in 1952 she learned that her father, King George VI had died and she didn’t have a black outfit in her luggage,” said Ms Chertoff.

“ When she landed back in London she had to wait for an aide to bring her a black outfit to wear as she disembarked the plane because she was in mourning.

“To ensure that no one else is left without the proper attire in the event a family member passes away while they’re travelling, a black outfit is packed in everyone’s luggage.

“Therefore, they are seen in mourning attire, a sign of respect for the person who has passed away.”

Though these travel rules would hold little significance for the average holidaymaker, for the royals, they play a vital role in representing the UK.

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