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Kate leading George and Charlotte into the royal box at Wimbledon© Getty

10 times royal parents have bent the rules for their children

From visiting the Chelsea Flower Show to sitting in the royal box at Wimbledon

Danielle Stacey
Online Royal CorrespondentLondon
July 7, 2024
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The royal family are often seen as examples of model citizens, held to the highest standard. 

However, on occasion, the likes of the Prince and Princess of Wales have bent the rules.

Over the years, they have gone against protocol or the expected tradition for their children, but they usually have a good reason or there's an exception to the rules. 

Let's take a look at all the times these royal parents have let their brood do things other children simply wouldn't be allowed to...


George and Charlotte leaning forward at Wimbledon© Getty

Prince George and Princess Charlotte in royal box at Wimbledon

While Prince George and Princess Charlotte have been allowed to sit in the exclusive royal box on Centre Court at Wimbledon, children are not usually permitted.

Back in 1999, it was reported that the Duchess of Kent, a keen tennis fan herself, was upset after she asked the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club if she could invite a young guest to sit with her at Wimbledon.

A statement released by then-club chairman John Curry at the time apologised to the Duchess but stood firm on Wimbledon's rules.

It read: "I regret any unintentional hurt this may have caused to her Royal Highness. Because of demand for space in the royal box, we also ask that, apart from children of the royal family, children are not invited as they exclude other worthy people from attending, many of whom contribute to tennis."

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strictly sophie lady louise

Lady Louise Windsor's Strictly visit

The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh's daughter, Lady Louise Windsor, now 20, is best known for her love of horses, but she clearly also loves dancing. 

So much so that the late Queen's granddaughter and her mother were spotted in the audience of Strictly in November 2018. The trip was a special treat in honour of Louise's 15th birthday and both she and Sophie were photographed clapping, laughing and having the time of their lives.

Presenter Tess Daly said at the time: "They enjoyed all the action from the front row and they had a great night. It was great to welcome them."

But was it against the rules? Strictly contestant James Cracknell previously revealed on This Morning that he's looking forward to his son turning 16 so that he can watch his dad on the dancefloor, suggesting that children under that age aren't usually allowed. (We won't tell if you don't.)


Prince George shakes headteacher's hand on first day at school© Getty

Prince George's first day at school

The then Duke of Cambridge dropped George off for his first day at school in September 2017, with Kate unable to attend as she suffered from severe morning sickness.

The then four-year-old was personally greeted in the playground by the head of the lower school, Helen Haslam, who even shook the young royal's hand. At the time, Ben Thomas explained: "We are going to try and make this a really happy, safe and secure place."

It can only be assumed that the personal greeting and extra attention was to ensure that his classmates were not subject to the high media coverage and press frenzy that George was exposed to as he walked through the playground.


Princess Charlotte shakes headteacher's hand on first day at school© Getty

Princess Charlotte's first day at school

And two years later in 2019, Princess Charlotte was given the same special treatment as she arrived at Thomas's Battersea with her parents. This time, Kate was able to do the school run. The royals were again greeted by the head of lower school, Helen Haslam.


Kate climbing up the ladder to the treehouse in her Back to Nature garden in 2019© Getty

Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis' visit to the Chelsea Flower Show

The Princess of Wales worked alongside architects Andrée Davies and Adam White for months designing a garden for the Chelsea Flower Show 2019, and the royal couldn't wait to show her three children the completed design!

The doting mother invited her husband and three children to admire her hard work, with Prince William, George, Charlotte and Louis attending the day before the show opened to public.

At the time the RHS stated on their website: "We regret that we cannot allow under 5s, prams, pushchairs or babes in arms at Chelsea."

Charlotte was four at the time, while Louis was one.

The current rules still state: "For reasons of comfort and safety children under 5 years are not permitted into the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Children aged 5 years or over are allowed into the RHS Chelsea Flower Show provided that they hold a valid ticket, are with an accompanying adult and comply with the terms and conditions. Babes in arms are permitted, but discouraged due to the unsuitable nature of the environment. ­Prams, pushchairs and buggies are not permitted in the showground."

Luckily, mum Kate was on hand to get special permission and the royal children happily attended and clearly enjoyed their time there.


Princess Charlotte of Wales and Prince George of Wales attend Princess Eugenie of York and Mr. Jack Brooksbank's wedding at St. George's Chapel on October 12, 2018 in Windsor, England.

Prince George and Princess Charlotte miss school to attend royal wedding

Princess Eugenie married Jack Brooksbank on Friday 12 October 2018 in a beautiful ceremony that took place in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. The Prince and Princess proudly watched their eldest children, George and Charlotte, fulfil the role of pageboy and bridesmaid on the special day. In order to attend, William and Kate made the decision to take George out of school during his Autumn term and Charlotte out of nursery. One day never hurt anyone, right?


William, Kate and George flying to Australia© Getty

Heirs flying together

William and Kate broke the rules when they flew to Australia and New Zealand in April 2014, with Prince George, who was just nine months old at the time.

It is thought that heirs should not take the same flights in order to protect royal lineage, but it was reported at the time that permission was sought from Queen Elizabeth II before the trip.

The rules appear to have been relaxed in recent years, with William and Kate regularly flying with their children.


Princess Anne arrives at Royal Ascot with Zara Tindall in 1989© Getty

Zara Tindall at Royal Ascot

In 1989, the late Queen gave permission for her granddaughter Zara Phillips, who was eight years old at the time, to attend Royal Ascot with her mother Princess Anne. This decision went against Royal Ascot's rules, with the event holding a strict age limit of 18 at the time. The eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II was the only child to have been allowed into Royal Ascot that year. Since then, the age restrictions have changed, with children under the age of 18 allowed to attend Royal Ascot when accompanied by a paying adult. Equestrian Zara has been a regular at the races throughout the years.


 Princess Estelle of Sweden participates in a ceremony celebrating Sweden's national day at Skansen © Getty

Princess Estella at Metallic concert

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and her husband Prince Daniel raised eyebrows when they brought their seven-year-old daughter Estelle to a Metallica concert in July 2019. The standard age limit for the concert is 13 years old, but an exception was made for the young princess, who reportedly watched the heavy metal band from a box with controlled sound. Children under the age of 13 were banned from Metallica concerts because of the potentially damaging noise environment.


George, Charlotte and Louis attend a Christmas panto in 2020© Getty

Prince Louis wearing trousers

While this is technically a tradition rather than a rule, Prince Louis wore his first pair of trousers in public when he was much younger than Prince George. There has been a longstanding tradition for male members of royalty and aristocracy to wear shorts until the age of eight. Louis was just two when he wore trousers to watch a Christmas pantomime in December 2020. In comparison, George was five when he donned a pair of chinos for the family's Christmas portrait in 2018.

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