While many of us have to follow a policy of appropriate dress in the workplace, the royal dress code establishes a whole new meaning to the word “appropriate.” From young Prince George who is always required to wear shorts — no matter the weather — to the royal ladies having to don hats during formal occasions, there’s no shortage of rules that must be followed. Of course, the thing about rules is they’re made to be broken, right? Well, the royals might not think that way. Nevertheless, they have been known to choose some inappropriate outfits from time to time.
While some of their fashion gaffes wouldn’t cause us commoners to do much more than bat an eyelash, they’ve still managed to cause quite a lot of controversy. From eyebrow-raising costumes to clothing we probably all have in our own closets, here are some of the most inappropriate outfits ever worn by the British royal family.
Kate Middleton’s island mix-up
About a year and a half after Prince William and Kate Middleton tied the knot, they visited the Solomon Islands, a group of islands not far from Papua New Guinea. While there, the duke and duchess attended a party — and that’s when it happened. Middleton accidentally wore the wrong dress. Gasp!
Was it a super short mini or a strapless maxi? No, it was a simple sundress from the Cook Islands, some 3,000 miles away from where she was partying in the South Pacific. If you’re scratching your head and wondering what the big deal is, here’s the situation: The couple was supposed to wear a handmade shirt and traditional Solomon Islands dress, but the wrong outfits were laid out by a member of the welcoming committee, according to The Telegraph. So, imagine wearing a costume to what you think is a costume party only to find out it’s formal — that’s essentially how it went. Only, it was worse because they ended up dressing pretty disrespectfully.
Although Clarence House says all was well, reported The Telegraph, officials of the islands were frustrated to see a member of their welcoming committee proverbially thrown under the bus. Eek!
Prince Harry’s Nazi — yes, Nazi — snafu
Prince Harry wasn’t always the debonair prince we see before us today. In the early aughties, he was quite the royal rebel. That’s all fine and good, but he made a fashion blunder in 2005 that went far beyond just testing the boundaries.
At 20 years old, Harry was third in line to the throne. Needless to say, everyone was keeping a watchful eye on this guy. According to The Telegraph, he had already developed quite a reputation in his late teens for his vices: pot-smoking and excessive-drinking. Of course, nothing excused what happened at a friend’s birthday party.
Soon after the event, a picture of Prince Harry surfaced on the cover of the British tabloid The Sun. He was wearing a khaki-colored shirt that more than resembled a German uniform. He even had a red, white, and black swastika armband. Seriously, Harry?
Apparently, his costume was supposed to represent the Afrika Korps, but, as The Telegraph explained, that’s a bit off for a birthday party with a “colonial” theme. Harry later apologized in a statement (via The Guardian) calling the costume a “poor choice.” Surely a poor choice for anyone, but especially for a British prince.
Kate Middleton or Marilyn Monroe?
When you’re a member of the royal family, photographers are pretty much everywhere waiting to capture your every move. Unfortunately for Middleton, that has meant having pictures taken of her various wardrobe malfunctions.
When visiting Australia with William in 2014, a gust of wind blew up Middleton’s modest-lengthed skirt creating an unintentional Marilyn Monroe moment. Although things like this probably happen to tons of women everywhere, we don’t have cameras focused on us to capture stills of our embarrassing moments.
According to an Australian news agency, British magazines and newspapers refused to publish them, which is great. What’s not so great, however, is that the photos were then sent overseas after “a frantic bidding war” and sold for an unspecified amount. Ugh.
Although Middleton’s appropriate outfit transformed into an inappropriate outfit by way of wind, the same has never happened to the Queen. How come? According to Express, Queen Elizabeth II has her skirts hemmed below the knee and small lead curtain weights are added to avoid experiencing a Monroe — or Middleton — moment. Perhaps it’s time to add this tip to the royal dress code.
Meghan Markle’s ripped jeans
While you may never see the Queen wearing a pair of jeans — though, that would be pretty amazing — you will occasionally see members of the royal family sporting denim. Although the royals are much more a khaki-wearing family, jeans are sometimes appropriate.
“Many places will not allow jeans as they are still seen as very casual wear,” Diana Mather, a senior tutor for The English Manner etiquette consultancy, explained to BBC, “so it is better to play safe for both sexes.” Now, what about ripped jeans? Although there’s no addendum to the royal denim rule citing ripped jeans are out, if plain old denim is considered “very casual,” you can only imagine how they view the torn variety.
When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry made their first public appearance together at the Invictus Games in Toronto, many had opinions on Meghan’s outfit. One Twitter user commented, “I’m thinking that you shouldn’t be wearing ripped jeans while out walking in public with a Prince.” While it may sound harsh, them’s the breaks.
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