We have many cultural myths about the British. This includes having a “stiff upper lip” in the face of adversity and embodying perfect manners and protocol.
Normally, you’d think this would go double for the Royal Family, but that’s not always the case. Some royals actually get downright rude in ways that are just unbelievably shocking.
Who are the royals who did anything except keep a stiff upper lip? Here are the wildest times that royals were caught in the act of being rude.
Prince Philip reportedly made fun of a child’s weight and more
We don’t like to speak ill of the dead. But after Prince Philip passed away last year, amid the outpouring of grief, there were quite a few anecdotes about Philip being downright rude to various people.
In fact, royal expert Nigel Cawthorne wrote an entire book called I Know I Am Rude But It Is Fun: Prince Philip On Himself and Others. He claims that the title comes from an actual quote from Philip. Furthermore, he claims that Philip took one look at the President of Nigeria in his traditional clothing and told the man, “You look like you’re ready for bed!”
Some might chalk that up to Philip being playful. But Philip has a history of racist and other rude remarks. The Guardian reports that Philip once asked an Australian businessman of aboriginal ancestry, “Do you still throw spears at each other?” And while visiting a school, The Irish Examiner reports that Philip told a 13-year-old child “You’re too fat to be an astronaut.”
There are so many of these stories that you might be inclined to think younger royals learned their rudeness (and occasional potty mouth) from Philip!
Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie laughed at Harry and Meghan’s wedding bishop
It’s fair to say that the union of Harry and Meghan has been an endless source of gossip and drama. Interestingly, some of the rudest drama started during their wedding ceremony, and it came from fellow royals!
During the ceremony, American bishop Michael Curry delivered a passionate speech about love. It only lasted 13 minutes, but maybe that was too long for certain royals. People reported that Kate Middleton was spotted giving side-eye to Camilla Parker Bowles, and Zara Tindall’s jaw dropped during the speech.
But most explicitly rude was the reaction of Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, according to Express. The daughters of controversial Prince Andrew were barely able to contain laughter during the sermon.
Princess Michael of Kent was allegedly caught making racist remarks
In some ways, there is nothing more insidious than casual racism. Unfortunately, Princess Michael of Kent seemed to embody casual racism when she met Meghan Markle during a Christmas luncheon in 2017.
Michael wore a brooch of a Black man that was part of the blackamoore style of art that fetishizes racial conquest. Considering that Meghan is of mixed race, many thought Michael was being rude to Meghan.
Some defended her, though, since she might not have known about the racist implications of the brooch. But previously, the Telegraph reported that she told Black diners at a restaurant to “go back to the colonies.” And her daughter’s ex-boyfriend dished to Vanity Fair that Michael owns two black sheep that she named Venus and Serena after the professional tennis players.
So, was Michael being purposefully rude to Meghan by wearing the brooch? We’ll never know.
Prince Harry scolded a reporter on camera
Compared to most of the royals on this list, Prince Harry is quite polite. But he has a history of clashing with the British press, and this came to a head once in a very surprising way when Harry made an appearance at a hospital and spoke with both children and healthcare workers that were there.
As The Sun reports, Sky News reporter Rhiannon Mills pressed Harry about the conversations he’d had inside. “What? Ask them,” Harry replied. Mills followed up with “Is that why it’s important for you to come and talk to them?” At this point, Harry replies with a terse “Rhiannon, don’t behave like this.”
After this exchange went viral, many debated whether Harry was being rude or was simply exasperated with the media. Mills seems to believe it was the latter case. As she told the Express, “Most people looked at it and thought, well, hang on, it was a polite question,” she said. “Why did it blow up? But looking back at it now, I had basically kicked the wasps’ nest.”
Prince Charles didn’t know his mic was on when he dissed a reporter
If Harry was being rude to the press, you could say he learned it from his dad. Back in 2005, Prince Charles took his sons skiing in Switzerland and ran into BBC correspondent Nicholas Witchell.
As The Telegraph reports, Witchell asked if Charles was looking forward to his wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles the next week. “I’m very glad you heard of it anyway,” Charles politely responded. But then, forgetting that his mic was still on, blurted out, “Bloody people. I can’t bear that man. He’s so awful, he really is.”
In the years since, many have remarked on how rude Charles was, especially because he never apologized. However, one person who was surprisingly not offended was Witchell himself. As the Daily Mail reports, Witchell later said of this exchange, “There has never been an apology, and why should there be? He was probably quite right. You know, awful man.” After that bit of self-deprecating humor, he added, “We’re not there to be liked.”
William and Kate refused to make eye contact with Harry and Meghan
Even before Harry and Meghan got married, there were stories of weird incidents between this couple and William and Kate. This included stories of Meghan making Kate cry while trying on wedding attire (Meghan later claimed it was Kate that made her cry) and William warning Harry about his relationship with Meghan.
Still, after Harry and Meghan announced they’d be stepping down from royal responsibilities and actually leaving England, the relationship between the couples got frostier than ever. They still tried to play nice for the media, but this play-acting failed spectacularly during the 2020 Commonwealth Day service in Westminster Abbey.
Footage of the service shows Harry and Meghan smiling warmly at William and Kate as they sat down, but William and Kate refused to even make eye contact. Many assumed this was a deliberate snub, and as The Mirror reports, this take was seemingly confirmed in the book Finding Freedom: Meghan and Harry and the Making of a Modern Royal Family, which claimed William and Kate “purposefully” snubbed the other couple.