Kilt/underwear "rule" suspended while there is a Queen?

I heard somewhere (and cannot remember where) that the notorious “rule” about what you are allowed to wear under the kilt is suspended while the Scottish throne is occupied by a lady. I would like to know where this variant on the, um, “no true Scotsman” legend came about.

There’s been several urban legends about the queen reviewing troops and some guy in a kilt fainting on parade; plus a photo - doctored, I’m sure - of the queen sitting with the front row of a group of kilted soldiers, one who keeps his legs apart.

I’ve never heard stories or a royally mandated or ordered cover-up. No true Scotsman would, I’m sure…

I’ve never heard of such a rule, and while it’s true that soldiers are not allowed to wear underwear with the kilt there’s no obligation on anyone else to conform to it.

There are two versions of the photo, one with naughty bits and one without, and Snopes isn’t surewhich one is the original.


This sounds like an urban legend to me. Yes, Wikipedia says it, but it is marked “citation needed.”

In any case, Malleus’s Snopes story seems to definitively answer the OP’s question:

So apparently there is no official rule in effect mandating the wearing of underwear beneath kilts if the occupant of the Scottish throne is female.

The Cape Town Highlander regiment says:

I would point out that[ol]
[li]It is a South African regiment, not a British (and so not a ‘true’ Scottish one).[/li][li]The page is headed "Cape Town Highlanders have various custom and usages that set them apart from other Scottish and non-Scottish regiments. Many of them relate to dress, such as the following: "[/li][li] Hi… oh, never mind.[/li][/ol]

Nevertheless, regardless of the reliability/applicability of the cite in question, it shows I didn’t just hallucinate the existence of the belief. Thanks, Kimstu!

I think the whole point of not wearing underwear under the kilt is to give one a quick and effective way of proving that one is not a lady wearing a skirt.

Yes, but note that the quoted excerpt says “to this day Highland soldiers all over the world go without under-garments when wearing the kilt” (emphasis added).

I know of no reason at present to contradict or mistrust that statement insofar as it applies to any Highlander regiment.

I remember working the World Scottish Festival one year. I went to the washroom and there was some guy in a kilt using the urinal; he just held up the front of the kilt with both hands and hoped it wasn’t aimed at his shoes.

I suspect the photo with the queen is altered because the lighting is too good for something quite a ways back beneath some heavy cloth. But yes, it sure looks from the smirk on his face he knows exactly what he’s doing, or the rest of the group doesn’t know the South African word for “cheese”.

I’m surprise nobody’s pointed oot the standard Scots response - “Wha’s worrrn beneath the kilt? Hoot mon, noothin of courrrse, it’s all in perrrfect worrrkin’ orrrderrr.” (your accent may vary)

I’ll cite B.L. Davis, British Army Uniforms and Insignia of World War Two, Pt.III Ch.10

And then there’s the story of the guy who asked, “What do you wear under your kilt?”

The response was, “Your wife’s lipstick.”