Royal rule-breakers! 17 times the Queen and her family bent the rules

Photo: © Getty Images

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It's not only normal folk like us who bend the rules, it seems the Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge and the likes of Prince Charles, Prince Harry and Meghan are also partial to not following protocol. Here at HELLO!, we take a look back at some of the times the British royals have broken a rule or two – including the Queen herself!

Prince William and Kate Middleton

Fans accused Prince William and Kate of breaking the UK's lockdown rules by traveling to Scotland for their recent royal tour across the UK. The couple travelled from London to Edinburgh via the royal train to thank healthcare workers for all their hard work amid COVID-19. 

But as the city is currently under Tier 3 restrictions, it means travel to and from the area is banned unless for essential purposes.

However, a spokesperson for the Scottish Government told Insider that it "was told in advance about the planned visit and were ensured that the royal household were aware of statutory restrictions in place in order to inform its decision to proceed."

MORE: In photos: royals wearing face masks for their public engagements 

Prince Louis

During lockdown, Kate joked that her youngest son Prince Louis, two, has been finding it hard to follow the social distancing guidelines.

During a special appearance on BBC Breakfast in July, to talk about the broadcaster's new initiative, Tiny Happy People, Kate spoke to fellow parents as she confessed: "I was just saying, Louis doesn't understand social distancing. So he goes out wanting to cuddle everything, particularly any babies younger than him." Bless him, you can't blame a toddler!

Photo: © Getty Images

3/17

Prince William and Kate 

While homeschooling their two elder children Prince George and Princess Charlotte in lockdown, Kate admitted that she and William had slightly made up their own rules – and not told their children about the Easter holidays.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, the Duchess said she felt "very mean" for continuing lessons from their home at Anmer Hall. "Don't tell the children, we've actually kept it going through the holidays. I feel very mean," she laughed.

Prince William described homeschooling as "fun", while Kate added it was "challenging" ensuring their children maintain their education while schools are closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Keep scrolling for more photos…

Photo: © PA

4/17

Prince William and Kate

The Duchess worked alongside architects Andrée Davies and Adam White for months designing a garden for the Chelsea Flower Show 2019, and the royal couldn't wait to show her three children the completed design!

The doting mother invited her husband and three children to admire her hard work, with Prince William, George, Charlotte and Louis attending the day before the show opened to public.

However, for this special visit, it seems some rules had to be bent, as RHS clearly state on their website that: "We regret that we cannot allow under 5s, prams, pushchairs or babes in arms at Chelsea". Luckily, mum Kate was on hand to get special permission and the royal children happily attended and clearly enjoyed their time there.

MORE: 10 amusing photos of the royals looking bored stiff

Photo: © Getty Images

5/17

The Queen

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."

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Prince William and Kate

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge broke protocol while attending the Easter church service at St George's Chapel one year, 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.

Photo: © Getty Images

7/17

Prince Harry

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!"

MORE: When royals bend the rules for their children

Photo: © Getty Images

8/17

Prince William and Kate

Prince William and Kate broke the rules when they flew to 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, Poland and Germany. Similarly, when William was a little boy, he accompanied his father Prince Charles on worldwide tours.

Photo: © Getty Images

9/17

Princess Diana

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".

Photo: © PA

10/17

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

It is custom for members of the royal family to wed on a weekday. Kate and William married on a Friday, as did Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank and Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi. While Princess Diana and Prince Charles were married on a Wednesday, and the Queen and Prince Philip married on a Thursday. But Meghan and Harry held their ceremony on a Saturday.

Photo: © Getty Images

11/17

Prince Charles

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.

Photo: © Getty Images

12/17

Princess Diana

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.

Photo: © Getty Images

13/17

Prince Harry and Meghan

In April 2019, Harry and Meghan surprised fans by announcing that they were keeping the details about the arrangements for their baby's birth private.

The statement from Buckingham Palace came as a shock to many who were hoping that Meghan would deliver her child in a hospital, either in London or Windsor, and present her newborn to the world afterwards.

While this isn't strictly a rule, it is a tradition followed by many royal ladies including Princess Diana, the Duchess of Cambridge and the Countess of Wessex. But it sounds like Harry and Meghan wanted more privacy for their baby, understandably.

The statement read: "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very grateful for the goodwill they have received from people throughout the United Kingdom and around the world as they prepare to welcome their baby.

"Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private. The Duke and Duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family."

Photo: © Getty Images

14/17

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

When their son Archie Harrison was born in May 2019, Meghan and Harry broke royal tradition by also announcing his birth on Instagram. Traditionally, the news of a new royal baby is shared via an official statement and on a ceremonial easel placed outside of Buckingham Palace. 

Photo: © Getty Images

15/17

Prince William and Kate

You can count on one hand the amount of times you see 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."

Photo: © Getty Images

16/17

Prince Harry and Meghan

During their time as working royals, Prince Harry and Meghan were 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.

MORE: The Queen only hires a makeup artist once a year – find out when

Photo: © Getty Images

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Duchess of Cambridge

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 then First Lady, famously hugged the Queen as the two ladies prepared to leave for an evening function.

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