Prince George isn’t like most 3-year-old kids. He lives in a palace, is going to be an actual king one day, and is abnormally adorable. Additionally, nearly every aspect of his life is already documented and analyzed, from his love of balloons to his refusal to dispense high-fives easily … and even his peculiar tendency to wear only shorts. Lately, George’s apparent antipathy for long pants has become a topic of conversation.
While it might seem a tad strange a little boy is always wearing shorts with knee-high socks in 50-degree weather (like he did on the recent royal tour of Canada), the reasoning behind the style is quite simple: It’s customary in English society for young boys to wear shorts instead of trousers for a time, because it’s viewed as more respectable.
“It’s a very English thing to dress a young boy in shorts,” etiquette expert William Hanson told Harper’s Bazaar U.K. “Trousers are for older boys and men, whereas shorts on younger boys are one of the 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 classist transition to longer trousers comes with age; usually young men of distinguished backgrounds make the switch around 8 years old.