Heritage

Nail Polish Has Nothing to Do With Royal Protocol

That doesn't mean what you think it does.
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The narrative that Meghan Markle is constantly breaking royal protocol just won't quit. This week was a busy one for the Duchess of Sussex, with multiple public appearances, and the critics were out in full force on Wednesday about the color of her nails at a performance of Cirque du Soleil that benefitted Prince Harry's charity Sentebale.

Meghan wore dark nail polish on her toes to match her sparkling Roland Mouret gown, a beauty choice some suggested was "breaking royal protocol." It wasn't. It also wasn't a violation of protocol when she caused stir by wearing a dark manicure to the British Fashion Awards back in December.

As royal commentator Victoria Arbiter said on Twitter this morning, "Nail polish has NOTHING to do with protocol. Nor do tights, car doors or messy buns. This is WRONG! Enough with this nonsense."


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The Duchess of Cambridge arrives for a 2012 dinner hosted by The Thirty Club wearing dark red polish on her toes.

Royal protocol is a code of conduct for state occasions; it's etiquette, and frankly has nothing to do with what color pedicure Meghan, or any royal for that matter, wears to a charity theater event.

"There are no books, no rules, about what color nail polish a royal can wear," Marlene Koenig, a historian and writer of the blog, "Royal Musings" tells Town & Country.

"And of course, the Duchess of Sussex is not the first royal to wear dark nail polish. Diana wore it, Catherine’s worn it. Royals around the world have worn it. I think the tabloids are just so fixated on picking something out because they know it’ll be clicked, and they don’t take the time to research."


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Princess Diana sporting a red manicure at a 1994 charity event.

While the Queen is well-known to favor light manicures, reportedly preferring Essie's popular pinky-nude Ballet Slippers, she hasn't forbidden her granddaughter-in-law from venturing outside that shade.

"Most royal women may not wear or have not chosen to wear [dark nail polish], but that doesn’t mean it’s against any rules," Koenig said. "The Queen doesn’t do it, but that doesn’t mean other royal women can’t."

Meghan isn't breaking any rules with her nail polish, so cut the Duchess some slack, and stop pointing out a flaw that isn't there.

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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Caroline Hallemann
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