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The Surprising Beauty Etiquette Behind Kate Middleton's Manicures

The Duchess of Cambridge © Getty

While Kate Middleton is unlikely to ever divulge the secrets of her daily routine (though we’re convinced that an Into The Gloss-style Top Shelf exposé would probably break what’s left of the Internet), the Duchess has certainly fine-tuned her signature beauty look to perfection since joining the royal family. There’s the glossy brunette blow out, dried with a slight wave and plenty of volume, the glowing complexion (reportedly thanks to Trilogy’s cult favourite – and budget-friendly – Rosehip Oil), strong brows and a subtle smokey eye. It’s a classic look, and one that’s worthy of one of the most photographed women in the world.

Just as it’s rare for us to see the Duchess testing out a bold red lip instead of the neutral pink she favours, Kate similarly steers clear of bright shades on her nails: in fact, she’s never been photographed at a public engagement sporting anything other than a barely-there manicure in the lightest shade of blush (though she sometimes plays things a little less safe – shock horror – when it comes to her pedicures). The reason? As with many of those niggling questions about royal behaviour, it’s all a simple matter of etiquette.

Kate opts for barely-there nail polish for royal engagements © Getty

Just as the royals have to ensure that their outfits obey a strict set of sartorial rules, their beauty choices are similarly dictated by protocol. According to OK!, certain well-placed sources have let slip that wearing fake nails or coloured nail polish is considered ‘vulgar’ for royal engagements.

Instead of bright colours, the royals are encouraged to favour a neutral hue on the nails. The Queen has famously favoured Essie’s pale pink Ballet Slippers polish since 1989 (her hairdresser reportedly described it as ‘the only colour Her Majesty would wear’); for her wedding day in 2011, Kate took her cues from her grandmother-in-law, opting to wear the same shade when she tied the knot with William. Since then, she’s stuck close to the same formula: a neat manicure in a barely-there colour.

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