It’s not only celebrities who break the rules when meeting members of the royal family, it seems the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the likes of Prince Charles, Prince William and Kate are also partial to not following protocol. Here at HELLO!, we take a look back at some of the British royals who have broken a rule or two – including the Queen herself!
Although, this image isn’t necessarily breaking protocol, it shows the royal family taking a relaxed approach as they pose for a photograph together, taken by the Duke of York while the Queen and Prince Philip look on during her 90th birthday celebrations in 2016.
See our full gallery to find out which royals have broken protocol…
Prince William and Kate
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge broke protocol while attending the Easter church service at St George’s Chapel, but it was an accident! The royal couple were late to arrive all thanks to traffic. According to HELLO!’s royal correspondent, Emily Nash, the royal family typically arrive at events in order of rank, with the most senior arriving last. This means that her Majesty would usually be the last to arrive at an event.
However, the pair got stuck on their journey due to roadworks on the M4 after they spent the weekend with their children at Kate’s parents’ home in Bucklebury.
In keeping with her down-to-earth attitude, Princess Diana famously picked out her own engagement ring from the pages of a catalogue. Royal engagement rings are traditionally custom-made, but the-then 19-year-old instead chose hers herself from a collection made by Garrard jewellery. The iconic sapphire ring is now worn by Prince William’s wife, Duchess Kate.
Unlike generations before her, Princess Diana chose to abandon the royal wedding tradition of promising to “obey” Prince Charles during the couple’s wedding at St Paul’s Cathedral in July 1981. That precedent was followed by Duchess Kate at her 2011 nuptials to Prince William; Dr Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, who conducted the service, instead asked the bride whether she would “love him, comfort him, honour and keep him in sickness and in health and, forsaking all others, keep only unto him so long as ye both shall live”.
The royals are always polite and obliging when meeting members of the public – but ask them for an autograph, and they’ll have to politely decline. The monarch and her family are unable to write down their signatures for members of the public because of the risk of it being forged. One royal rule breaker in this regard is Prince Charles, who broke protocol back in 2010 when he signed an autograph for a victim of devastating floods, writing ‘Charles 2010’ on a piece of paper.
Breaking royal tradition, the Queen surprised the world when she agreed to sign a football for a young Manchester United football fan inside the Petronas Twin Towers building during her visit to Malaysia in 1998. Speaking about the signing, United player and England football hero, Sir Bobby Charlton, said at the time: “She didn’t know what to do so I just helped to hold the ball. This is a fantastic honour for Manchester United.”
The royals are not fans of selfies. But occasionally they will break the rules for their fans. Prince Harry happily obliged in May 2016 when he posed for a photo in Estonia. The Prince has previously admitted he hates selfies, turning down a request for one during a visit to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra: “No, I hate selfies. Seriously, you need to get out of it (the habit), I know you’re young, selfies are bad. Just take a normal photograph!”
Prince William and Kate
Prince William and Duchess Kate broke the rules when they flew into Australia and New Zealand in April 2014 with their baby son, Prince George, who was just nine months old at the time. Technically, heirs should not take the same flights in order to protect royal lineage. That is not always practical, of course, but it’s thought that permission to do so must first be sought from the Queen. Since then, William and George have flown together on a number of occasions, including trips to Canada and most recently Poland and Germany. Similarly, when William was a little boy, he accompanied his father Prince Charles on worldwide tours.
LeBron James caused a stir in December 2014 when he broke royal protocol by placing an arm around the Duchess at an NBA basketball game. Intended as a friendly gesture, LeBron initially appeared to surprise Kate with his tactile gesture as they posed for photographs – but he certainly isn’t the first or last to break the royal ‘rule’. In 2009 Michelle Obama, America’s First Lady, famously hugged the Queen as the two ladies prepared to leave for an evening function.
Just like his mother Princess Diana, Prince Harry has earned a reputation for his caring and compassionate approach to meeting members of the public. The royal has been photographed on a number of occasions embracing fans – particularly young children. Here he is photographed cuddling a little boy while on an official visit to Antigua and Barbuda.
Clearly a huge fan of the Star Wars franchise, Prince William showed off his fun and friendly side when he hugged Chewbacca during a tour of the film set at Pinewood studios in Iver Heath, in 2016. The father-of-two admitted that he was a “total geek” when it came to the films. Leading star Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, even remarked: “If I went towards royalty with my arms outstretched I would get arrested – but there’s something about a Wookie that means you just wanted to be hugged.”
Prince William and Kate
You can count on one hand the amount of time you have members of the royal family engage in public displays of affection – which is why photos of William and Kate embracing during the London 2012 Olympics caused such a stir. HELLO! magazine’s royal correspondent Emily Nash explains: “The Duke and Duchess are almost always seen in photographs taken during official engagements so they are at ‘work’ and it would be unprofessional to hold hands. They also need to shake hands with a huge number of people as they meet then, so aside from being on duty, it wouldn’t be very practical!
“We know they are very affectionate and that sometimes comes across during more light-hearted moments, at sporting events or similar, but you wouldn’t expect them to put that on show while in more formal situations.”
Prince Harry and Meghan
Prince Harry and Meghan seem to be forging out their own path within the royal family. The couple are openly tactile in front of the cameras – in stark contrast to other working representatives of the British monarchy. Harry and Meghan showed their easy-going, loving relationship during their first public appearance together at the Toronto Invictus Games and their first TV interview since becoming engaged. Again as they stepped out for their debut official visit in Nottingham.
Source: HELLO MAGAZINE