The weird rule Prince George followed that Prince Louis hasn't had to

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·4 min read

Watch: George, Charlotte and Louis join parents at the panto

As members of the Royal Family, it’s no surprise that there are certain rules and protocols that Prince George and his siblings have to follow, even though they are young.

But Prince Louis, the youngest of the Cambridge children, seems to be avoiding having to follow one of the rules that his older brother George had to keep.

It’s also a rule that his father Prince William and his uncle, Prince Harry, followed when they were young.

When Prince George was a toddler, he was very rarely seen in trousers. He was mostly dressed in shorts, with long socks if it was cold.

But Louis, who is two, was able to wear trousers on the red carpet at the panto with his family, and in the official Christmas card photograph released by Prince William and Kate.

EMBARGOED TO 2200 WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 16 MANDATORY CREDIT: Matt Porteous. Strictly for editorial use only. Not for use after December 31, 2021. The photograph must not be digitally enhanced, manipulated or modified in any manner or form and must include all of the individuals in the photograph when published. Handout image provided by Kensington Palace of the 2020 Christmas card of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge which features an image taken in the autumn by photographer Matt Porteous showing the Duke and Duchess with their three children Prince George (left), Princess Charlotte (right) and Prince Louis at Anmer Hall in Norfolk. THIS IMAGE IS PROVIDED FOR FREE EDITORIAL USE UNTIL DECEMBER 31, 2021 WHEN IT MUST BE REMOVED FROM ALL SYSTEMS AND THOSE OF YOUR SUBSCRIBERS. USE OF THE IMAGE AFTER THIS DATE WILL REQUIRE PERMISSION FROM KENSINGTON PALACE. THIS PHOTOGRAPH IS STRICTLY FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY, NO COMMERCIAL USE, INCLUDING SOUVENIRS, COVERS, ADVERTISING, PROMOTIONAL OR NON-EDITORIAL USE PERMITTED. THE PHOTOGRAPH CANNOT BE CROPPED, MANIPULATED OR ALTERED IN ANY WAY. NO CHARGE SHOULD BE MADE FOR THE SUPPLY, RELEASE OR PUBLICATION OF THE PHOTOGRAPH.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their children in a picture for their official Christmas card. (Matt Porteous)
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, his wife Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and their children Britain's Prince George of Cambridge (R), Britain's Princess Charlotte of Cambridge (3rd L) and Britain's Prince Louis of Cambridge (L) arrive to attend a special pantomime performance of The National Lotterys Pantoland  at London's Palladium Theatre in London on December 11, 2020, to thank key workers and their families for their efforts throughout the pandemic. (Photo by Aaron Chown / POOL / AFP) (Photo by AARON CHOWN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Louis wore trousers for his red carpet appearance with his parents and siblings at the panto. (Aaron Chown/AFP)

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Prince George made a few public appearances when he was a toddler, even accompanying his parents on royal tours to Canada and Australia.

At his sister’s christening in 2015, he wore red shorts and a white shirt, a combination reminiscent of an outfit his father, Prince William, had worn when he was a child.

Many of his appearances were during the summer months, which is part of the explanation for shorts over trousers, but even in the winter he was often seen in shorts.

To keep his legs warms, he would have long socks paired with them.

Prince George of Cambridge leaves his sister Charlotte's christening at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, England, on July 5, 2015. Britain's baby Princess Charlotte was christened on Sunday in her second public outing since her birth nine weeks ago to proud parents Prince William and his wife Kate. The low-key ceremony took place in a church on the country estate of great grandmother Queen Elizabeth II. AFP PHOTO / POOL / CHRIS JACKSON (Photo by Chris Jackson / POOL / AFP) (Photo by CHRIS JACKSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Prince George at his sister Charlotte's christening in Sandringham in 2015. (AFP)
TETBURY, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 14: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Prince George of Cambridge attends the Gigaset Charity Polo Match at the Beaufort Polo Club on June 14, 2015 in Tetbury, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Prince George playing as his parents attend the Gigaset Charity Polo Match in Tetbury in 2015. (Indigo/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 13: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Prince William, Duke of Cambridge carries his son Prince George of Cambridge as he stands on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during Trooping the Colour on June 13, 2015 in London, England. The ceremony is Queen Elizabeth II's annual birthday parade and dates back to the time of Charles II in the 17th Century, when the Colours of a regiment were used as a rallying point in battle. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Prince William holds Prince George on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during Trooping the Colour in 2015. (Indigo/Getty Images)

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On Christmas Day in 2016, when the Cambridges spent the festive season with Kate’s parents, George was photographed leaving the church in Bucklebury with his mum and dad.

Despite the December temperatures, he wore shorts and socks underneath his frock coat.

In Canada, on tour with his parents and sister, he wore shorts and socks, with any cold temperatures combated by a long sleeve jumper.

Prince George, the son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, sucks a sweet as he leaves following the morning Christmas Day service at St Mark's Church in Englefield, near Bucklebury in southern England, Britain, December 25, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Matthews/Pool
Prince George at the Christmas Day service at St Mark's Church in Englefield, near Bucklebury in 2016. (Reuters)
Daniel Bachman (R), 11, who presented flowers to the Royal family, tries to high-five Britain's Prince George (L) while Prince William looks on as they arrive to board a floatplane for their official departure from Canada in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, October 1, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Wattie     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Daniel Bachman (R), 11, who presented flowers to the Royal family, tries to high-five Prince George (L) while Prince William looks on in Victoria, Canada in 2016. (Reuters)

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George, who is now seven, appeared to follow his father and uncle’s footsteps with his wardrobe.

William was often dressed in shorts as a child, as was Harry, including matching yellow shorts and white tops in Aberdeen in 1986.

As he got older, William was allowed to move to wearing trousers, but younger brother Harry stuck with shorts.

One photo shows the brothers with their parents, Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, at a wedding in May 1989. William, then six, nearly seven, was in trousers, while Harry, still four, was in shorts and socks.

The Queen Mother, the Prince of Wales, a young Prince William and Princess Margaret at Buckingham Palace, London for Tropping the Colour in June 1984.  Photo.  Anwar Hussein
Prince Charles with a young Prince William as well as the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret at Buckingham Palace for Trooping the Colour in June 1984. (Anwar Hussein)
The Princess of Wales with her young sons Prince William and Harry arriving at Aberdeen airport for their holiday in Scotland in August 1986.  Photo.  Anwar Hussein
The Princess of Wales with Prince William and Harry arriving at Aberdeen airport for their holiday in Scotland in August 1986. (Anwar Hussein)
The Prince and Princess of Wales, with young Prince William and Harry at the wedding of Duke Hussey's daughter in Bath, May 1989.  Photo.  Anwar Hussein
The Prince and Princess of Wales, with Prince William, then six, and Harry, then four, at the wedding of Duke Hussey's daughter in Bath, May 1989. (Anwar Hussein)

Etiquette expert William Hanson previously explained to Harper’s Bazaar that wearing shorts is a class marker, as upper class boys usually graduate to trousers from shorts at about age eight.

He said: “It's a very English thing to dress a young boy in shorts. Trousers are for older boys and men, whereas shorts on young boys is one of those silent class markers that we have in England.

“Although times are (slowly) changing, a pair of trousers on a young boy is considered quite middle class – quite suburban.”

It’s not clear why there is a change for the Cambridges as Louis grows up. With the exception of the panto red carpet, many of the situations in which Louis has worn trousers have been more relaxed, family affairs, indicating they could prefer a more casual approach to the protocol at home.

Or maybe little Louis is just being spared the cold.

Watch: Royals release candid Christmas card family pictures