The soon-to-be-wed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle might be known for breaking “rules,” but tradition remains a big part of life for the royal family. Whether you’re meeting the queen yourself or just imagining what life is like for a royal, here are a few etiquette tips and protocols you would do well to keep in mind.

What is the correct formal address when meeting Queen Elizabeth II?

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Bit of a trick question here: “Your Majesty” is the correct formal address on presentation to the queen, while “Your Royal Highness” is for all other members of the royal family. After the first address, subsequent greetings should be either “ma’am” (including for the queen) or “sir.” The royal family’s official website, however, does note that “there are no obligatory codes of behavior when meeting The Queen or a member of the Royal Family, but many people wish to observe the traditional forms.”

Protocols aren’t just for us commoners though; the royal family also has some to abide by, and those aren’t optional. The Order of Precedence dictates, among its rules, who must bow or curtsy to whom. For example, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (a.k.a. Kate Middleton) must curtsy to Princesses Anne, Alexandra, Beatrice and Eugenie when not accompanied by Prince William. (Because Catherine married into the family, the princesses outrank her.) On the other hand, if accompanied by William, Catherine only needs to curtsy to the queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Which royal name is unlikely to be used again for heirs?

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Royals, with their myriad middle names, traditionally pick from a list of previously used monikers. New royal baby Prince Louis Arthur Charles, for example, has a name full of family history. His father, William, and brother, Prince George, both have “Louis” as a middle name. He also shares “Arthur” with his father, grandfather and great-great-grandfather, King George VI, while his second middle name, “Charles,” is the first name of his grandfather.

Despite the recycling of names, one name is unlikely ever to be used again: John. That’s because King John, also known as John Lackland, was a notoriously terrible ruler known for cruelty, incompetence and cowardice. Over the course of his 17-year reign, he harshly taxed the poor, tortured his enemies to death by starvation, was nicknamed “soft sword” to mock his military incompetence, and much more. John eventually succumbed to dysentery during a civil war that pitted him against the nobility, but he remains a recurring villain in modern films and stories, the most prominent being the tale of Robin Hood.

Which of the following is considered “vulgar” for women in the royal family to wear?

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There is a supposed rule from the queen herself stating that colored nail polish and fake nails are “vulgar” and do not meet royal standards. Nude shades seem to be okay though; the queen frequently wears a color called “Ballet Slippers” by Essie. As for the other rules, loose hair is okay if it’s neat, necklines just shouldn’t show cleavage, and clutches are actually encouraged instead of purses.

Besides the rule about nail polish, there are myriad other items of royal protocol involving fashion, many of which Markle has broken. In her wedding announcement with Harry, Markle didn’t wear pantyhose, and a flurry of headlines followed. She wore a sheer dress for her engagement photos and outraged some, who felt it was inappropriate. Her casual and somewhat messy bun breaks tradition, her ripped jeans at Toronto’s Invictus Games were deemed too casual, her make-up has contouring and lip gloss, and the list goes on. We’ll have to wait to see whether she and Harry break any other rules at their wedding.

What does every member of the royal family need to pack when traveling abroad?

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Members of the royal family must always take a black outfit when traveling abroad for a morbid reason: In case someone in the family dies, the traveling royal must be in mourning clothes when arriving back in Britain. This very situation befell Queen Elizabeth II. In 1952, while she was abroad in Kenya, her father died. Lacking a black dress, the queen had to remain on the plane until suitable clothes were delivered.

The queen and Philip also sometimes travel with a supply of their own blood in cases of emergency, according to The Telegraph. On a lighter note, the queen’s favorite meal, afternoon tea, is also always packed: a selection of teas and Dundee cakes.

The personal toilet seat is a tall tale commonly told about Charles. The prince dismissed those rumors as “crap.” Large meals and drinks are not usually taken on trips unless there are questions over the quality and reliability of local food and water. And the queen might like marmalade, but she usually gives a silver-framed signed photograph of herself and her husband to visiting dignitaries.

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Source: Washington Post research. Illustrations by Shelly Tan.

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