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How Rules for Royal Families Vary in Different Countries

It is no secret that the life of a royal is not as sweet as fairytales have made it out to be. It is not just wearing beautiful gowns and a crown, but also following a strict set of rules and traditions that have existed for decades, if not centuries. There are currently 26 monarchies in the world, and each royal family has different rules and values.

Bright Side did a little research and compared how the rules vary by different countries. Some of it came as a big surprise.

1. Marrying a commoner

Historically, it was not acceptable for royals to marry commoners but these days this rule, in a lot of countries with monarchies, has changed. For example, Kate Middleton, who now has the title of Duchess of Cambridge, was a commoner before marrying Prince William.

However, that is not the case for Japan — there, a female member of the imperial family cannot marry a commoner without giving up her title, like what happened with Princess Mako. Moreover, if a commoner has any foreign citizenship, they must denounce them before marrying a royal.

2. Marrying a same-sex partner

With more countries legalizing gay marriage, it’s understandable to wonder if the royals can marry a same-sex partner and if their significant other would become a member of the royal family like a heterosexual partner would.

In the Netherlands, the first country to legalize gay marriage back in 2001, the rules for royals entering same-sex relationships have changed only recently: before that, royals were not allowed to marry a same-sex partner without giving up their royal status.

It is unknown whether the members of the British royal family could marry a same-sex partner. In 2012, there was an attempt to create a bill that would give people of any gender who are married to royals an honorary title, but it did not pass. Lord Ivar Mountbatten, a cousin of Elizabeth II, who is openly gay and married, is often cited when talking about same-sex marriage among royals, however, he is not a member of the British royal family proper.

3. Being touched by a commoner

It is actually forbidden for commoners to touch the members of the British royal family unless the royal initiated the handshake first. However, that rule gets broken all the time, as we see royals happily greet celebrities and even fans.

This rule does not exist for the Spanish royal family, where it is common to kiss a person on the cheek while greeting them. Royals participate in this cultural tradition without any trouble.

4. Working a regular job.

It is no secret that the members of the British royal family are not allowed to have jobs outside of their title as a royal. Meghan Markle had to give up on her career as an actress when she was announced engaged to be married to Prince Harry. The same thing happened with Grace Kelly, who never starred in movies again after becoming the Princess of Monaco.

In the Netherlands, royals can work regular jobs without any problem. King Willem-Alexander works as a commercial pilot, his brother, Prince Constantijn, and his wife, also have normal jobs, under the condition that the jobs will not get in the way in case “the crown needs them.”

In Sweden, the husband of Princess Madeleine was offered a royal title, but he refused because he did not want to give up on his career. His decision was met with no objections or controversy.

5. Involvement in politics

British royal family members are not allowed to be involved in politics nor share their opinion on anything politically-related. The same rule exists in many other countries (for example, Norway) where the royals maintain a traditional role as figureheads, rather than actual leaders.

In Thailand, Princess Ubol announced her candidacy for Prime Minister in 2019, but was quickly disqualified as her younger brother, who is the King of Thailand, decided it was inappropriate.

In Brunei, the Sultan serves as the prime minister of the country. In Spain, Duchess Luisa Isabel Álvarez de Toledo was heavily involved in political activism.

What country with a monarchy do you think has the least strict set of rules? Would you want to be a royal?

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