When it comes to British royals and protocol, the list is long, especially the section about one's personal appearance. A few particularly strict edicts from Buckingham Palace reportedly include:
Royals have to wear nude stockings to public engagements
Colorful nail polish is a no-go
Handbags should be worn in the left hand (so the right hand is free for waving and handshakes)
Tiaras can only be worn if you're married
Hats must be worn to formal occasions
Makeup should be subtle
Coats can't be taken off in public
And truly, that's just the beginning.
So, what about tattoos? There isn't a guidebook stating that royals can't have them, but in a family where going out sans stockings elicits gasps, it's not shocking that very few royals have visible tattoos.
Princess Eugenie, to our knowledge, is the only major British royal with a visible tattoo, though it's almost always hidden by her hair due to it being super tiny and right behind her ear:
It's unclear when Eugenie got her tattoo, but it made its grand debut pretty recently—when she attended a National Service of Thanksgiving to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of her late grandmother Queen Elizabeth II on June 3, 2022.
So, what does the tattoo mean? Eugenie hasn't confirmed the meaning herself, but there's speculation that she got the tattoo in honor of her grandmother—and that the circle could even represent the Sovereign's Orb, which is a famous symbol of the monarch's power.
And actually, Eugenie isn't entirely alone in the tattoo department. Lady Amelia Windsor (the Duke of Kent's granddaughter) has several tattoos—though she isn't as high-profile in the royal family and therefore doesn't always have to ascribe to the same rules.
Legend also has it that Prince William wanted a tattoo, but Catherine, Princess of Wales, didn't approve. A sailor who spent time with Wills revealed, "Lots of the guys on board sport tattoos [and] it was obvious William was fascinated. He asked how painful it was and wanted to know what they thought of his idea for a tattoo across his shoulders. We didn't think he was serious—but he said he was keen to get a large tattoo like the one David Beckham has. He said the only thing stopping him was his girlfriend."
Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter Zara Tindall (aka Princess Anne's daughter) got her tongue pierced when she was a teen. And she actually gave a brief comment about tattoos while chatting about her husband, Mike Tindall, saying, "He absolutely hasn’t got a tattoo. I’d also rather one of my daughters came home with a piercing than a tattoo because at least a stud can be removed. I wouldn’t have a leg to stand on if they did though."
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