The weird rules the royal family are expected to follow. (But break all the time.)

In international news this week, a guy held his girlfriend’s hand.

^^ That sort of thing tends to earn a fair bit of attention when you’re in line to succeed the throne as ruler of a Commonwealth of nations. Especially if that thing, well, just isn’t generally done.

“Prince Harry Broke Royal Protocol with Meghan Markle”, “Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Royal PDA May Have Been Against the Rules”, “Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Broke a MAJOR Royal Rule”, the headlines read.

But the truth is, the Royals – especially the younger ones – break protocol all the time. Because, let’s face it, a lot of them (the rules, that is) are really bloody weird.

Here are a few they’ve tossed out the window.

They mustn’t let people touch them.

And not just girlfriends. The media went nuts in 2009 when Michelle Obama and the Queen stood side-by-side with (then) US First Lady Michelle Obama, their arms slung around each others’ waists. And again in 2014 when basketball legend LeBron James put his around the Duchess of Cambridge’s shoulders.

Because traditionally, Royals have avoided the touch of commoners, minus the odd gloved handshake.

Her Majesty and her grandchildren clearly aren’t sticklers for the hands-off rule, though. Prince William even enjoys the odd unsolicited hug every now and then.

"Urrrrgggh." Image: Getty.

They should travel separately over long distances.

Direct heirs to the British throne are reportedly meant to avoid travelling together. This is presumed to be a means of preventing a zig-zag in line of succession, you know, should the plane/boat go down and a group of them die.

But Prince William routinely travels with his children (and his wife, of course). They were pictured doing just that on a completely normal family trip to Canada in 2016.

"No son, someone else will grab the bags." Image: Getty.

They should not sign autographs.

No member of the Royal family is permitted to give their autograph to a member of the public. Aside from the fact that they would likely develop RSI after a single meet-the-masses events, there's also the fact that their signatures wield, shall we say, a fair bit of power.

(Oh, the ways you could misuse Her Majesty's John Hancock.)

But Prince Charles famously broke the rule in 2010, when a victim of the devastating Cornwell floods in southwest England asked for an autograph. The Prince in turn called for a pen and paper, and politely obliged.

Prince Harry his girlfriend have finally been spotted in public. Together. (Post continues below.)

They should avoid shellfish when eating out.

While you'll never catch Her Majesty breaking this one, Prince Charles has been spotted slurping oysters on more than one occasion.

Potentially lethal food poisoning, be damned!

They must spend Christmas together.

This is more of a tradition than protocol, but the Duchess of Cambridge is believed to be the first member of the immediate family to break it.

Catherine first shirked the festivities at Sandringham due to morning sickness while pregnant with Prince George in 2012, opting to stay with her family. Then just last year, it was back to Berkshire again, this time with Prince William and their children.

We're guessing Granny Middleton was pretty chuffed.

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