The truth about Kate Middleton's nail polish 'rules' has been revealed

Kate Middleton's nail polish 'rules' are not actively enforced, a royal expert reveals

VANCOUVER, BC - SEPTEMBER 25: (L-R) Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge arrive at Immigrant Services Society of BC on September 25, 2016 in Vancouver, Canada. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte are visiting Canada as part of an eight day visit to the country taking in areas such as Bella Bella, Whitehorse and Kelowna. (Photo by Andrew Chin/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Andrew Chin/Getty Images)

Kate Middleton's nail polish 'rules' have finally been revealed – and they're not as strict as you might think. 

Kate Middleton's manicures have always given us serious nail envy – along with a sharp reminder to top up our chipped polish. 

From her filed fingertips to her moisturized cuticles, the Duchess of Cambridge consistently rocks a perfectly groomed pair of hands to perform her public service. 

However, there's one notable feature on these manicures that fans have been quick to spot. 

The Duchess is rarely seen wearing dark shades on her fingers, leaving many to speculate that there may be a royal protocol on nail polish. 

While a specific rule has never been confirmed, it's widely accepted that women in the Royal Family should adhere to lighter colors when painting their nails - á la Her Majesty herself. 

The Queen has reportedly not changed her manicure routine in decades, after falling in love with Essie's Ballet Slippers in her early sixties. The soft pink, opaque varnish has graced the monarch's cuticles since 1989 and was even worn by Meghan Markle on her wedding day to Prince Harry in 2015. 

Kate also chose a neutral color when she tied the knot to Prince William in 2011, opting for the sheer pinkish-white Allure by Essie. 

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 29: Prince William sings beside his bride Catherine Middleton during their wedding at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011 in London, England. The marriage of Prince William, the second in line to the British throne, to Catherine Middleton is being held in London today. The marriage of the second in line to the British throne is to be led by the Archbishop of Canterbury and will be attended by 1900 guests, including foreign Royal family members and heads of state. Thousands of well-wishers from around the world have also flocked to London to witness the spectacle and pageantry of the Royal Wedding. (Photo by Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Kate wore Allure by Essie on her wedding day in 2011 

(Image credit: Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

While the Duchess of Cambridge has continued to wear similar shades over the years, she is entirely free to change things up if she feels like it. 

“There’s no actual protocol about dark nail polish,” royal correspondent Omid Scobie told BAZAAR.com in 2018. “It’s simply about being appropriate.”

Kate has experimented with deeper colors in the past, even wearing a shiny burgundy pedicure at a Royal Albert Hall concert marking the 2012 Summer Olympics in 2018. 

LONDON - MAY 11: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives to attend the official launch party for Team GB and Paralympics GB ahead of the London 2012 Games at Royal Albert Hall on May 11, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Kate stepped out with dark nail polish on her toenails at the official launch party for Team GB and Paralympics GB ahead of the London 2012 Games at Royal Albert Hall on May 11, 2012 

(Image credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty)

Meghan has also enjoyed dabbling with darker shades that compliment her warm skin tone and brunette locks. She arrived at the British Fashion Awards in 2018 wearing a black velvet Givenchy dress paired with slicked-back hair and a set of gleaming black nails. While some accused her of breaking protocol at the time, many applauded her for embracing a richer color and challenging royal tradition. 

Emma Dooney
Emma Dooney

Emma is a news writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life. She covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health or lifestyle story. When she's not reporting on the British monarchy and A-list celebs, you can find her whipping up vegan treats and running the roads to cheesy '90s pop music...but not at the same time, obviously.