Being a public figure means you always have to be on your A-game — your suit pressed and your dress at a modest length. That’s the life of the royal family of England, anyway. In the public eye, they’re always so put together, with social graces that no doubt make their etiquette teachers proud.

But in addition to wearing crowns and having titles, you know, they’re human, too. And as such, there’s an entirely different side to them the public rarely sees. These candid photos caught the royals out and about being silly, playful, and just downright real.

1. Ever annoy a sibling just because you feel like it? Prince Harry is teasing his older brother with a rather large boa constrictor. It’s all in good fun… unless you’re William.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

2. When Prince William and Duchess Kate aren’t holding down the fort in Kensington Palace, they like to escape royal life by going on a holiday. After welcoming Princess Charlotte, the two went skiing. Kate surprised William with a friendly snowball fight.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

3. They may not be blood relatives, but that doesn’t stop Kate and Meghan from gossiping like sisters while attending a tennis match with the rest of the family. What we wouldn’t give to hear what they’re talking about!

Kensington Royals / Instagram

4. Long before Kate was the Duchess of Cambridge, she was just plain-ol’ Kate Middleton. She wore silky dresses like the one below and took hackney carriages (taxis) from place to place with her baby sister Pippa.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

5. The future queen consort might be the coolest royal of them all. Not only is she holding her own on those roller skates, but she looks like she hasn’t aged. Talk about good genes.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

6. Prince Charles might be 70 years old, but this photo shows he’s still a schoolboy at heart. He’s been waiting seven decades to ascend the royal throne, but it doesn’t look like it’s happening anytime soon, so for now, this wall will have to do. Hang in there, Charles.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

7. This candid moment captured the Duchess of Cambridge catching the clumsy Countess of Wessex as she tripped while getting into the carriage. Good thing Kate caught her, otherwise that would have been a royal pain.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

8. Watching Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s love story has been like a real-life fairy-tale, and it’s only getting better. A photo like this really captures the dynamic relationship between the two. Find someone who looks at you like Harry looks at Meghan.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

9. Kate and William met while they were studying at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Who knows where they were going in this picture, but Kate sure does look annoyed with her beau. We feel you, Kate.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

10. Kids are kids regardless if they have royal blood pumping through their veins. Look at little Prince Harry and Prince William enjoying a heart-pounding ride on the Nemesis at Alton Towers. We wonder if the brothers still ride roller coasters from time to time…


11. Prince Harry has always been the goofball of the royal family. Here, it looks like he was participating in a charity event in place of — or without — his older brother Prince William. No worries, though: Harry made sure his brother was there in spirit.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

12. Like we mentioned before, sports are a huge part of royal life. Unfortunately, the All England Club did not treat the Prince and Duchess well on this outing. The match must have been torturous to watch judging by their faces.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

13. And Princess Charlotte knows all too well that having royal blood doesn’t give her the power of endless energy. Being a royal kid is hard work, and it looks like it’s cutting into the princess’ nap time. Someone get her a royal blankey!

Kensington Royals / Instagram

14. Queen Elizabeth has sat on the British throne longer than any other monarch. That’s a long time in the public eye. Apparently, when the queen isn’t attending political affairs, she is outside catching snowflakes on her tongue.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

15. Kids love to stick their tongues out whenever a camera appears, too. Prince Harry might not be king, but he has always been the king of the silly-face pose. And he’s not alone. Even Princess Charlotte has been caught a time or two sporting this face to the cameras.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

16. Royal sunglasses must not be part of the event wardrobe protocol! Not even the duchesses’ fancy hats can block the sun from their eyes.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

17. Seeing how Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are expecting parents, it makes total sense that they have paternal and maternal instincts. It’s so endearing to see the pair interact with the youth of their country.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

18. Kate looks like she is having so much fun during her university days. She’s right in the middle of St. Andrews annual foam fight that welcomes new students. Even since college, Kate’s been a leader.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

19. Most people make this face when they meet Prince Harry, but he seems to be quite shocked himself. He better hold on tight to that tray of cupcakes before he accidentally throws them in the air.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

20. Curious from a young age, William was caught peeking up the skirt of the Prince of Wales during a fishing trip. We all know there are no fish up there, but William needed to check it out for himself first.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

21. A family that jokes together stays together, and William and Harry always make sure their family is in good spirits. Here they are in their younger days teaching the fam how to do the wave!

Kensington Royals / Instagram

22. William and Harry weren’t afraid to put down the suits and roll around in the mud at their polo match. It got a little messy, to say the least. But as much as the Royals are just like us, they also have a few strange rules that definitely set them apart.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

1. No PDA in public, especially when traveling. Even married couples are not supposed to hold hands, let alone kiss. However, before Prince Harry settled down with his wife Meghan, he was known to kiss, boogie, and even grab a bottom!

2. Absolutely no shellfish or garlic for the royal family, especially at public dinners. The reason for the shellfish ban is practical: to avoid food poisoning. The garlic prohibition, on the other hand, is simply to avoid bad breath.

3. Unlike most families, the Royal family doesn’t open any gifts on Christmas. All presents must be exchanged on Christmas Eve in the red drawing room with some tea. The family leans towards gag gifts more than serious ones, and when Harry was still single, his sister-in-law Kate gave him a “grow your own girlfriend” kit!

4. No Monopoly! The Royal family is not that much different from the rest of us, as they too get into nasty spats during the strategic board game. To prevent them all from squabbles, the game has been banned by the Queen herself.

5. Always bring all black looks on your trips. Just in case a member of the family or a government official dies while others travel, everyone is required to bring an all-black outfit so that they are able to pay their respects to the deceased in proper attire.

6. A royal baby’s gender must be kept secret until birth. The British have accepted this as a challenge, and try to figure out what the baby’s gender is at all costs, even placing bets.

7. The queen’s dinner (or lunch) conversations are orchestrated to the last bite. At the start of the meal, she will converse with the person on her right, and halfway through, she will switch to whoever’s on her left. Let’s hope the people next to her know more than what the weather is like that day!

8. You’ve probably noticed that royal families all over the world tend to flaunt some sort of headwear at every social gathering. This is not just to give the press something to talk about, it’s actually a must. Women in Britain very seldom showed off their hair in public until the 1950s and the royal family is known for holding onto old traditions.

9. Heirs to the throne are not allowed to travel, especially fly, with other heirs. This is of course to protect the royal bloodline, but Prince William usually travels with his son George anyway.

10. Speaking of George, why is he always wearing shorts no matter the season? Apparently, boys under the age of eight must wear shorts as they are not mature enough for full-length trousers yet.

11. Tiaras may only be worn after 6pm by married women. Tiaras are the fanciest accessory in existence, so they are only appropriate for nighttime. They are also a sign that a woman is “off the market” so Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle each got their first tiara on their wedding day.

12. The Queen’s dogs are treated like royalty, but without having to follow any rules. They get personal chefs, first class seats, and can do whatever they want — including going wherever they want.

13. Here’s how to interact with the queen: don’t turn your back to her, speak only when spoken to, don’t touch her, and don’t leave until she does. Just follow what the rest of the crowd is doing and you’ll be fine!

14. Women must always have their legs together and their chin parallel to the ground. Royals don’t cross their legs at the top, but keep their thighs next to each other and cross their ankles instead. They must also master the duchess-chin-slant, as to not seem unsure but not cocky either.

15. Her Majesty’s power doesn’t end at social gatherings — it continues on the road! The queen is allowed to drive without a license, although this only counts in the U.K. She doesn’t need any license plates or I.D. either.

16. The royal family may not sign any autographs! Giving away their autograph could allow someone to learn their signature and commit forgery. They probably won’t take a selfie with you either, as they like to use this time with the people to make a genuine connection.

17. The queen’s entourage must keep an eye on her purse at all times. This is not really to ensure it doesn’t get stolen, but to pick up cues on how she’s feeling. For example, when she puts her purse on her right arm, that means she’s ready for the current conversation she’s having to be over.

18. There are certain ways to greet the queen… by which even her own family must abide. Men of the Royal family perform a neck bow, while women curtsy. Imagine being asked to bow our curtsy for your own mother, wife, or grandma. A bit formal, isn’t it?

19. The Queen’s outfits must be bright or exuberant, so that she may be easy to spot. She likes to connect with the public, so even when crowds are out of control, people can say they saw the queen.

20. Royal women are not allowed to show cleavage. Diana was famous for disliking high necklines, so she always used her purse to cover herself when she was bent down or coming out of a car. Her designers actually began calling it a “cleavage clutch.” Meghan Markle is a former actress and model so she used to show off her bosom a bit more, but those days are behind her now.

21. The British are known for their love of tea and the Royals are no exception. In order to drink your tea like royalty, you must pinch the teacup handle with your index finger and thumb, while your middle finger secures the bottom.

22. Any royal offspring must seek approval of their ruling family member to marry the person they love. Will had to ask permission to wed Kate, and Harry had to convince her to let him make Meghan his wife. Even Charles had to ask permission to wed Diana.

23. Once those weddings are approved, they must have a crop of children! Take a look at the guest list for a royal wedding and you’ll likely find that the kids outnumber the adults. When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wed, they continued a long tradition of having Windsors as pageboys and bridesmaids.

24. The queen must not be questioned. Whether she wants to have cookies for breakfast or dress up her husband Prince Philip as a Beefeater for a quick giggle, her wish comes above all else — aside from breaking the law of course.

25. The Frugal Queen: You’d think that Queen Elizabeth would be willing to shell out a few bucks for a decent brand of nail polish. Well, you thought wrong, as Her Highness will only wear “Ballet Slippers” by Essie, which costs a cool $9/bottle.

janethlc1981 / Twitter

26. The Queen Takes Hostages: In the days of bitter tensions between the British government and the crown, the royal house would take an MP hostage to ensure the monarch’s safe return following visits to Parliament. The tradition continues to this day, though the “hostages” are well taken care of.


27. Don’t Send a Raven: After being warned “if the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it,” Charles II mandated that at least six ravens live in the tower at all times. Descendants of these birds still call the tower home.

Historic Royal Palaces

28. A Born Actress: The Royal Family would be hard pressed to let a Christmas go by without their annual game of charades. There’s just one rule: never upstage the Queen. If she acts well, you applaud. If she tells a joke, you laugh.


29. The “Charlotte Effect”: Move over, Prince George — it’s Princess Charlotte that really brings home the bacon. Dubbed the “Charlotte Effect,” the young royal’s birth has generated a staggering $5 billion for the British economy, almost $2 billion more than her elder brother has.

Sky News

30. Famous Flowers: For the Royal Family, no wedding is complete without one very special flower: the myrtle. Since the 1800s, every royal bride has carried a sprig in their bouquet, picked fresh from Queen Victoria’s 170-year-old garden.


31. Wakey Wakey: If you think the Queen rises every morning to the sound of “Slow Rise,” then you’re sadly mistaken. Her Majesty actually employs a member of the British military to stand beneath her window and play the bagpipes to gently ease her awake.


32. A Not-So-Slight Prick: When selecting a new High Sheriff for a county, the Queen uses a sewing needle. The practice of “pricking” goes back to Elizabeth I, who would pierce the name of her newest Sheriff while embroidering and usually didn’t have a pen on hand.

Team High Sheriff

33. The Name Game: Monarchs are still asked what name they’ll choose to take upon ascending the throne. Prince Charles is expected to take the name George VII when he becomes king to avoid association with King Charles I and II.


34. Do As I Do: On the endless list of rules one must follow when dining with the Queen, the most important is to stop eating or drinking as soon as she does. This practice began with Queen Victoria, a notoriously fast eater.

35. The “Vow of the Peacock”: What Christmas feast is complete without skinning a peacock, roasting it whole, redressing it with gold leaf and its own feathers, and then swearing an oath upon it? This practice has long since died out, but the “Vow of the Peacock” was once a yearly tradition among the Royal Family.

36. The “Royal We“: Also known as the “majestic plural,” the tradition of monarch’s using of we when referring to themselves originated in the days of the “divine right of kings.” Then, monarchs claimed to be speaking with both their own voice as well as God’s.

ABC News

37. Queen in Name: Since the establishment of Parliament, the Queen now serves mainly as a figurehead. For this reason, the Royal Family maintains a neutral stance when it comes politics — at least publicly, anyway.


While the Royal Family has maintained traditions, they’ve certainly changed in other ways. Here we have future Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip along with their two eldest children, Charles and Anne, standing with King George VI in 1951.

1953: After the death of George VI a year earlier, his eldest daughter ascended to the throne and became Queen Elizabeth II. Philip, in turn, received the title of prince consort. Below, the couple waves to their subjects from Buckingham Palace.

1960: A third royal child, Prince Andrew, arrived. The newborn enjoys a picnic with his parents and siblings during a holiday in Balmoral, Scotland. That’s right — that castle in the background was only their vacation home.

1965: This Christmas photo depicts the Royal Family shortly after the birth of Elizabeth and Philip’s fourth and final child, Prince Edward. Their household grew livelier than ever, and the new generation of royals quickly endeared themselves to the British public.

1971: Coming up on twenty years as monarch, Elizabeth greets onlookers with Edward, Andrew, and her niece Lady Sarah. They are headed to meet the rest of their extended family for a winter holiday at Sandringham House.

1976: By this point, Elizabeth’s children are old enough to rebel a bit. Prince Andrew laughs at his mother from the second row as she nervously rides at the front of a cable car. Edward, seated next to her, looks a little bit more respectful.

1977: This year marks Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee of 25 years on the British throne. She celebrated by visiting 36 different countries in the span of a few months, followed by a massive procession through London.

1980: For Prince Charles, most of the 1970s were his “bachelor years.” He seemed more content to party and jump between girlfriends than seriously pursue marriage. Here, he sips a coconut drink in Bhubaneswar, India, but he wouldn’t stay a bachelor for long.

1981: Incredible hype built up once Prince Charles announced that he would marry Lady Diana Spencer. The press dubbed the event “The Wedding of the Century,” and the public followed every aspect of the ceremony with fervor.

1982: Diana and Charles had their first son, William. The new parents play with William in Kensington Palace, though they didn’t refer to him as William behind closed doors. Interestingly, their family nickname for the young prince was “Wombat.”

1988: Four years earlier, Diana gave birth to her second son, Prince Harry. Far from shy of the many cameras around him, Harry sticks his tongue out from the Buckingham Palace balcony while Diana tells him to stop.

1992: Below, Philip, Charles, Elizabeth, and the Queen Mother depart from Princess Anne’s wedding. However, 1992 was not an easy year for the family. In addition to a fire in Windsor castle, marital troubles sprung up for Elizabeth’s children.

1995: Hurt by extramarital affairs and a 13-year age gap, Charles and Diana were separated throughout the early 1990s. However, they still attended official events together. They divorced a year later, though the greatest tragedy was yet to come.

1997: The entire world went into shock with the news that Princess Diana died in a violent Paris car crash. Thousands of guests attended her funeral at Westminster Abbey, while millions more watched on television. Her sons were only 15 and 12 at the time.

2002: More loss followed the royal family into the new millennium, though this instance was admittedly less shocking. The Queen Mother passed away at age 101. On a happier note, Queen Elizabeth reached her Golden Jubilee on this same year.

2005: Prince Charles carried on an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles while still married to Diana, so Charles and Camila met controversy when they announced their engagement. As a result, they chose to marry in a civil ceremony instead of a royal wedding.

2006: Now all grown up, Prince Harry decided to follow William into the military. As a Cornet in the famed Blues and Royals regiment, he stands at attention with his saber as Queen Elizabeth walks by. Still, he cannot help but crack a smile at his grandmother.

2011: The Brits — and just about everyone else — went crazy for the next generation of royal weddings. Prince William married Kate Middleton, a classmate from the University of St. Andrews, and over 160 million people watched the lavish ceremony.

2017: The Royal family celebrates the 91st birthday of Queen Elizabeth, who also became the longest-reigning British monarch a couple years prior. William and Kate’s young children, George and Charlotte, watch the fanfare with excitement.

2018: Harry matched his brother’s fairytale wedding with one of his own. He married American actress Meghan Markle, best known from the TV show Suits. Meghan’s entry into the royal family is also notable because she is a woman of color.