Prince George traded his shorts for pants for the first time at the royal wedding

By Gemma Strong

Whenever Prince George steps out for an engagement, from the Cambridge's royal tour of Canada to meeting his little brother Prince Louis, or poses for official photographs, there's one thing about the little royal that has long perplexed royal watchers: the fact that he only ever wears shorts. However, the little prince debuted a totally new look on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding day on May 19, donning a miniature version of his uncle's military uniform.

Dressed to the nines, George wore a pair of black pants with red piping down the side, along with a coat reminiscent of Harry's Blues and Royals frockcoat. Though he was once spotted wearing pants before – like the time he met Michelle and Barack Obama in an adorable bathrobe – this is his first official engagement where his legs were completely covered.

George was a page boy at Harry and Meghan's royal wedding. Photo: © Jane Barlow - WPA Pool/Getty Images

According to an etiquette expert there is a very good reason for this – and it has nothing to do with fashion, but rather royal and aristocratic tradition.

TAP TO VIEW MORE PHOTOS OF GEORGE IN SHORTSPrince George pictured on the Canada royal tour

"It's a very English thing to dress a young boy in shorts," William Hanson told Harper's Bazaar UK. "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."

Arriving with his mum in New Zealand in April 2014

The tradition can be traced back through the royal family, with both Princes William and Harry regularly seen 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," William added. "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."

Pictured at his sister Princess Charlotte's christening in July 2015

Ultimately, he concluded, in the case of William and Kate, the decision to dress George in shorts in more likely down to tradition than a class issue. "The modern habit of upper class families choosing to dress their boys in shorts will deliberately hark back to a bygone age," he said. "The British upper set are always keen to hold on to tradition, and this one also silently marks them out from 'the rest'."

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