How to Be a Modern Royal

I've always been fascinated by royal families. From reading fairytales to being a shameless Kate Middleton fan, I've always been one to follow the happenings of the royal families and admire the sense of forgotten elegance that they tend to embody. This fascination even manifested itself in my Art History studies, during which I wrote essays on Las Meninas and created an entire thesis presentation on royal art. I remember being thrilled when, on the same day, I was in the same neighborhood as Prince Harry and later saw a ballet alongside King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden. Needless to say, it took a lot to restrain myself from being overly excited. 

There is no doubt that many others share this fascination. There are countless books and articles claiming to describe how to be like Kate or that chronicle her rise from commoner to the future queen consort. These are often comprised solely of  detailed etiquette that none of us will ever need to use. I've put together a few really simple ideas to consider that can be applied to everyday life.

Behavior
The most important note is to focus on making others feel comfortable in conversation. Ask questions, show interest in their lives, and avoid topics of conversation that could stir up discomfort due to personal sensitivities or lack of knowledge in the subject. Be aware of your posture and body language, always carrying yourself with confidence. Stand up straight and move with ease. Volunteer your time to the causes you support. Be conscious of the impact your attitude and actions have on the world. Just as Kate Middleton's behavior is representative of the British commonwealth, your behavior is a representation of your life and values.

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.
— Audrey Hepburn

Education & Culture
Familiarize yourself with a variety of topics well enough to carry a conversation with anyone you may meet. When possible, go to the ballet, symphony, and opera. If you don't live nearby these things, you can find it all on YouTube. Read everything. Read the classics, contemporary literature, and magazines---everything from Town & Country to the Harvard Business School. Know your classical composers, your writers, your politics, and your football clubs. Know what is going on in the world--not only in your immediate area, but globally. Follow the U.N. News Service, listen to NPR, and subscribe to The Skimm. Sign up for Highbrow to receive daily emails with easily digestible lessons on history, art, and more. Contrary to what is seen in pop culture, it is not at all cute or endearing to be ignorant about things like basic geography, geopolitics, and global culture. In the words of Blackalicious, "Artificial amateurs aren't at all amazing."

Travel
Travel far and travel often. I'm sorry to say it, but Disney is not the real world. Expand your horizons. Travel to real places and make connections with real people. Avoid tourism cliches and experience local customs. If you really want the royal experience, stay in this castle in England or this one in France. Don't be afraid to venture away from the typical travel destinations. Spend some time in Marrakech, Montreal, and Indonesia.

Sartorial

The classic, elegant look is easier to achieve than you may think. The simple rule is to avoid burying yourself in trends and focus instead on acquiring classic, well-made and well-fitting pieces like the perfect pair of jeans, white button-down shirts, tailored blazers, a structured bag, and delicate jewelry. This may sound boring or one-dimensional, but the royal women who have become fashion icons have managed to infuse their own personal style into these classic looks. Kate Middleton, for instance, is often sporty while Princess Mary is laid-back and Queen Letizia is more glamorous

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