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The very British reason why Prince Louis always wears shorts

An etiquette expert explains why young royals always wears shorts in public.
King Charles III Celebrates First Christmas As Monarch With Royal Family
The Prince and Princess of Wales and their children leave the Christmas day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in Norfolk, England.  Samir Hussein / WireImage
/ Source: TODAY

This story was originally published Oct. 7, 2016.

When you see photos of Prince Louis, you probably focus on the 4-year-old’s sweet smile and cute cheeks.

But there’s something else that people have noticed about the young royal: He’s almost always wearing shorts!

Rain or shine, when the little prince steps out in public, he sports a pair of adorable shorts, often paired with knee socks, a preppy belt and a tucked-in polo.

Prince Louis
Louis in his adorable shorts! Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP

It's a trend also seen with Louis' older brother, Prince George, too. So what's the story behind the shorts?

In 2016, when George was a youngster, Harper’s Bazaar UK did some investigating, and they found that dressing young boys in shorts is a long-standing tradition among British royalty and aristocracy.

“It’s a very English thing to dress a young boy in shorts,” British etiquette expert William Hanson told Bazaar. “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.”

Most boys graduate to full-length trousers at about 8 years old, Hanson explained. He said the shorts-only tradition may stem from the antiquated custom of “breeching,” which dates back centuries in the U.K.

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William and Kate with their three children, George, Louis and Charlotte.Getty Images

Traditionally, he said, young British boys were dressed in gowns for the first few years of their lives, until being “breeched” and graduating to short trousers.

Louis and George follow in the footsteps of their father, Prince William, in the shorts department. The Prince of Wales sported a very similar look in his younger years:

A young Prince William with his mother, the late Princess Diana.
A young Prince William with his mother, the late Princess Diana.

“The British upper set are always keen to hold on to tradition, and this one also silently marks them out from ‘the rest,” Hanson told Bazaar.