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Kate Middleton had a lot to learn when she married into the British royal family, including the strict set of royal protocols that govern the way the family dresses and behaves in public. Over the years, she’s broken a few of those rules, though as the youngest generation of royals, Middleton has been instrumental in bringing a more modern air to some of the customs that have gotten stuffy over the decades.

There are a number of fashion rules members of the British royal family have to follow when in public. Many of the rules deal with modesty, but some are out of respect of preferences Queen Elizabeth has made clear during her reign. Some of those rules are fairly famous, like the fact that brides have to get the queen’s approval for their wedding gown before the royal nuptials take place. Others, however, are easier to miss.

Kate Middleton Shrugs Off Royal Convention

(Paul Burns/Clarence House via Getty Images)

Since Queen Elizabeth famously prefers modesty, having even gone so far as to say she finds the word “pregnant” to be “vulgar,” conservative dress is a must for royals, especially the ladies. Bare shoulders are a big no-no, but Middleton absolutely glows in this pale sea-foam green dress.

With a large swath of her chest exposed, not to mention those bare shoulders, this look declared that Middleton wouldn’t be tied down with old royal traditions. This also happened to be the Duchess of Cambridge’s first solo public engagement, so she set the tone right off the bat.

Middleton’s Down-To-Earth Nature On Display

(Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Middleton kept her outfit cute but casual while attending a Sportaid Athlete Workshop in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2013, which is fitting since she was expected to participate in some of the sporting activities while there. Surprisingly enough, the jeans aren’t a breach of royal protocol, but Middleton’s stylish shoes are. When it comes to footwear, the queen prefers for royal ladies to wear closed-toe heels, either kitten heels or stilettos. Wedges, sadly, are on the “do not wear” list.

Following One Rule While Breaking Another

(Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth also likes for her fellow royal women to wear pantyhose or tights while in public, a rule Middleton follows in the above photo taken in Portsmouth, England. The cheeky little slit in her skirt, however, borders on racy and might have raised eyebrows in certain quarters. We can’t help but dig the nautical theme Middleton has going on while attending the launch of two 1851 Trust’s new sailing projects.

A Daring Plunge

(Ian Gavan – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

While attending a Vogue event, particularly their Vogue 100: A Century Of Style exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, one must look their best. For this event, Middleton wore a pale pink blouse and matching skirt. Per royal protocol, as dictated by Queen Elizabeth’s preference for pale, natural nails, Middleton’s polish is either clear or non-existent. Her top, though, has a fairly low neckline that flirts with breaking protocols surrounding modesty.

Breaking Rules For The Youth

(Ian Vogler – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Although Queen Elizabeth would rather have royal women wear dresses and skirts, pants aren’t expressly forbidden. That’s a good thing, too, since Middleton’s royal appearances often bring her up close and personal with children, whom the royals tend to bend towards when engaging them in conversation. That typically brings them down to eye level with the smaller crowd, which can get a bit awkward when you’re trying to work around a skirt.

Two Broken Rules For The Price Of One

During her recent visit to the Foundling’s Museum, Middleton broke two different royal protocols. The first is the rule governing coats: if a royal wears a coat out in public, they are not to remove it but to wear it throughout the engagement. Upon entering the museum, Middleton, and her husband Prince William, both removed their heavier overcoats.

Another royal rule flouted by Middleton involved her stylish all-black ensemble. Traditionally, members of the royal family only wear all black for funerals and other memorial events. When you look this good in black, though, that’s a rule that’s meant to be broken.

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