The Royal Fix
Adobe Stock

Royal Protocol 101: Can Royals Get Tattoos?

Royal protocol is complicated. Members of the British Royal Family must live by a strict code of rules dictated by tradition and judged by the Queen herself. You’d think that tattoos would be forbidden… but are they?

Let’s Ask an Expert!

While some rules are gradually being phased out–such as women having to wear nude pantyhose in public–other aspects of Royal protocol are set in stone. We can’t exactly ask the Queen, but luckily another member of the Royal family answered this question! Zara Tindall–the Queen’s granddaughter–seemed to reveal the truth to Cosmopolitan:

“I’d … 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.”

Zara might have been referring to her wild child days, when she infamously pierced her tongue. But she didn’t specifically say that tattoos were forbidden for working royals like her or her cousins!

The bottom line is that members of the Royal Family are not forbidden from getting tattoos. But it’s not exactly encouraged, either. Even active military service members such as Prince Harry are unlikely to get inked.

Have Any Royals Ever Been Tattooed?

Surprisingly, there’s historical precedent for monarchs to get tattooed. King Edward VII received a tattoo of a cross in Jerusalem during an official state visit in 1862. King George V also agreed to a traditional Japanese tattoo when visiting there in 1882. Don’t expect William or Kate to come back from a trip to Australia with Maori facial tattoos, though.

Multiple modern Royals have gotten semi-permanent henna tattoos on their travels. Duchess Meghan received a henna tattoo for good luck while visiting Morocco earlier this year. Duchess Kate got her own henna design the year earlier by a young artist in England. And on a visit to Africa in 2011, Duchess Camilla’s traditional henna art ended up getting smeared–and then refused to budge!

“I just can’t get it off. I have tried scrubbing and everything… nailbrushes, you name it. I just don’t know what to do,” Camilla told The Daily Mail.

Modern Royals with Ink

What about modern-day Royals with permanent ink? Lady Amelia Windsor isn’t particularly close to the throne–the 23-year-old model and socialite is 39th in the line. (Her grandfather–Prince Edward–was Queen Elizabeth’s first cousin.) She has multiple tattoos, including a tiny one on her ribcage as well as her wrists and shoulder.

In other countries, tattoos are a little more common on Royals. Princess Sofia of Sweden has a large sun tattoo on her back, which she showed off on her wedding day. A former member of the Danish Navy, Crown Prince Frederik has a tattoo of a shark on his calf.

Princess Stephanie of Monaco–that’s Grace Kelly’s youngest daughter–has multiple tattoos might have the record for the most tattoos. She has a floral bracelet, a pair of dolphins on her foot, and a dragon snaking down her upper back!

Add comment