Five times royals broke beauty protocol – from Meghan Markle’s ‘rebellious’ nails to Kate Middleton’s tradition-breaking hair

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When we say a royal has broken beauty protocol, we mean in quite a subtle way, not that they decided to go off on a whim and dye their hair bright pink for an official visit.

But nonetheless, there have been several occasions where we have done a little gasp at a particularly bold nail colour or hairdo that a royal has opted for instead of a pre-approved colour or style.

The two main beauty rule-breakers are Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, who have subtly modernised royal beauty standards over the past few years.

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But the younger members aren’t the only ones to have raised an eyebrow with their beauty choices – even Queen Elizabeth herself has had a little lipstick slip, proving that it really is quite easy to make a beauty faux-pas.

1. Dark nails

It’s no secret that the royals have quite a limited shade selection when it comes to nail varnish, consisting mainly of light neutrals or a clear gloss. Case in point, Queen Elizabeth’s supposed favourite polish – Essie’s Ballet Slippers.

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But at the British Fashion Awards in 2018, a pregnant Meghan matched a sleek one-shoulder black gown with a glossy dark cherry nail shade.

It’s said there isn’t a particular rule about not wearing darker nail colours, but that it’s simply not preferred.

2. Loose lengths

According to the William & Kate: The Journey documentary, Kate was apparently encouraged to wear her hair up for her wedding, but fought against it.

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Since royal brides have a 300-year-old tradition of wearing updos to their nuptials, this could have been quite a battle. The result seems to have been a bit of a compromise, with Kate opting for a gorgeous half-up look instead.

3. Lipstick retouch

If you’ve been wondering how Queen Elizabeth could have possibly made a beauty error, when she’s had decades to learn the rules, it was back in 1985 at the Windsor Horse Show, when she was pictured reapplying a bold pink shade of lip balm.

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Since public make-up touch-ups are apparently discouraged, this act would have technically gone against protocol.

4. Messy buns

Meghan has made a messy bun something of a signature look, and has pioneered loose tendrils right from the get-go. She was even daring enough to go for an undone chignon for her wedding day.

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The problem? Protocol apparently states that hair should be sleek and neat at all times, hence why so many of the royal women rarely stray from a glossy blow-out or a hat.

Personally, we love her messy updos.

5. Bright eyeshadow

Despite a neon resurgence happening in make-up at the moment, it’s unlikely the royals will be taking part in the trend as they are reportedly advised to steer clear of bold eyeshadow colours.

Meghan, however, wore a daring metallic blue shade on her last official royal engagement in 2020, when her and Harry attended a Commonwealth service at Westminster Abbey.

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