Have you ever noticed that whenever the adorable Prince George makes an appearance, he’s always wearing shorts?
There’s a very specific reason for this; there’s a tradition among the upper class, aristocracy and royals to dress young boys in shorts – it’s often considered decidedly “suburban” not to do so.
“It’s a very English thing to dress a young boy in shorts,” explains the etiquette expert William Hanson. “Trousers are for older boys and men, whereas shorts on young boys is one of those silent class markers that we have in England. Although times are (slowly) changing, a pair of trousers on a young boy is considered quite middle class – quite suburban. And no self-respecting aristo or royal would want to be considered suburban. Even the Duchess of Cambridge.”
The tradition can be traced back throughout the royal family, with Princes William and Harry also seen regularly wearing shorts until they were deemed old enough to progress to full-length trousers.
“The usual custom is that a boy graduates to trousers around eight years old,” explains Hanson. “This is, historically, perhaps due to the practice of ‘breeching’, which dates back to the sixteenth century. A newborn boy would be dressed in a gown for their first year or two (these gowns have survived as the modern Christening robe) and then he was ‘breeched’ and wore articles of clothing that more resembled shorts or trousers than dresses.”