By Raisa Bruner
April 23, 2018

At just four years old, Prince George is already no stranger to the public eye. After all, he’s Britain’s heir to the throne. But in all of his many appearances and official photos, like his latest visit to meet the new royal baby at the hospital where mom Kate Middleton gave birth, there’s one thing that remains consistent beyond his cherub cheeks and blond locks: his shorts.

Also called “short pants,” George is known for suiting up in tailored pairs in corduroy or twill with tucked-in polo shirts, snappy shoes and — if it’s cold out — knee-high socks. But, you may well ask, why the shorts? England isn’t particularly known for its warm weather, and yet George’s knees are often exposed to the elements.

Why does Prince George wear old-fashioned clothes?

The answer, in a word, is history. According to the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood’s website, young British boys were dressed in gowns just like their sisters for the first few years of their lives, after which they would be “breeched” and put into shorts; this concept dates back to the 16th century and carried through into the early 20th century. Usually, boys would only graduate to wearing full-length trousers around the age of eight, signifying a rite of passage in their growing up. For the aristocracy in particular, upholding this old-school fashion remains part of family tradition. As one royals commentator noted to PEOPLE, “It is considered very suburban for a little boy to be in long trousers when he is just a little boy.” And we wouldn’t want that for a young royal like Prince George.

Prince George of Cambridge departs Victoria on October 1, 2016 in Victoria, Canada.
Pool/Samir Hussein—WireImage

Prince George has particularly turned heads for his bold choice of red shorts, which he has worn on multiple occasions. The bright item has been ID-ed by avid royal style watchers as a pair from a Spanish brand, Doña Carmen, bought at a store in Valladolid, Spain. Other than the red set, he tends to favor pairs in simple navy, which also happens to go with his school uniform.

Prince William (L) and Prince George wearing similar clothing.
From left: Anwar Hussein—Getty Images; Chris Jackson—Getty Images

Like his dad Prince William before him, little Prince George is sticking to the Windsor style script — which means there will be a few years yet before we see George tackle full-length pants. Until then, here’s hoping he keeps his knees warm.

 

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