Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Source: Getty

10 Shady Things About The Royal Family Everyone Likes to Ignore

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Mar. 11 2021, Updated 3:09 p.m. ET

It's the kind of thing that's been the subject of countless plays, novels, movies, TV shows, even Fergie albums: being a member of the Royal Family. And while it might seem like a dream scenario for many people who are grumbling about going to their 9 to 5's and having to work their tails off to live out lives of fame and fortune instead of, you know, just being born into it, it turns out that living in a Royal Family comes with a lot of baggage.

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Upholding antediluvian traditions, adhering to strict behavioral protocols, and having every aspect of your personal life under constant scrutiny from other family members, public relations experts, the media, and random stalkers is just the tip of the iceberg. Just look at the English Royal Family for instance, who hold their fair share of secrets that might have you look at them in a different light.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were bad parents.

All four of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's kids were pretty much raised exclusively by nannies. Shortly after their daughter Princess Anne was born, when their son Prince Charles was only three years old, both parents went on a six-month Commonwealth tour, leaving their kids behind with "the help." 

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queen elizabeth ii horse
Source: Getty Images

When the couple came back, they greeted their attention-starved children not with hugs but with handshakes. Years later when Charles was sick at school, bedridden with Asian flu, his loving parents didn't even visit him. 

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"If the Queen," a former private secretary told The Telegraph in 2002, "had taken half as much trouble about the rearing of her children as she has about the breeding of her horses, the royal family wouldn't be in such a mess now."  

They enforce weird, oppressive rules on their in-laws.

shady royal family
Source: Getty
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Meghan Markle pretty much sacrificed everything to marry Prince Harry. She quit acting, moved to the U.K., deleted all her social media profiles, and even shut down her lifestyle blog, The Tig. In addition to sacrificing her privacy and killing any last ounce of normalcy in her life, she also has to follow a long list of asinine etiquette rules, like always wearing hose stockings and never showing cleavage — because, hey, that's what an independent 36-year-old woman wants to hear.  

But probably the most bizarre rules revolve around the Queen herself. Because the 92-year-old matriarch hates starches and shellfish, royal members aren't allowed to eat either. Oh, and garlic? That's off-limits, too. On top of that, family members also aren't allowed to eat when the Queen isn't eating. 

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They might've made Meghan get rid of one of her dogs for being a mixed breed.

shady royal family
Source: Getty

Before she became a Duchess, Meghan was a working actress who liked to fill her Instagram with tons of pictures of her cute adopted dogs, Gus and Bogart. When asked by the BBC in 2017 if she would bring her dogs to the palace, Meghan answered that Bogart, a mixed breed, was rehomed "with friends" and Gus, a beagle, would be the only dog she would bring with her. 

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Although she didn't provide a reason for why she wouldn't bring Bogart, royal etiquette expert William Hanson suggested that Bogart was left behind because he was a mixed breed. “The finest breeds are Labradors and of course the Queen's beloved corgis, but other types of dogs will put you surprisingly low on the social scale,” William wrote in The Daily Mail. “Meghan Markle's beagle, Guy, will be a good and appropriate addition to the canine cognoscenti when she marries into the British royal family in May." Unfortunately for Bogart, who's a lab-shepherd mix, he's not welcomed. 

They're kind of racist.

shady royal family
Source: Getty
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Now, we're not including the family's ties to the slave trade or their suspicious friendships with Nazis. For the sake of this article, we're only focusing on the current generation of royals, and although they've modernized a lot over the years, there have still been slight examples of shadiness. For example, Philip, famous for his many gaffes, once asked an Aboriginal Australian, "Do you still throw spears at each other?" He also told a group of British students in China, "If you stay here much longer you'll all be slitty-eyed. 

Princess Michael of Kent, who famously wore a racially-tinged blackamoor brooch when meeting Meghan for the first time, is also known for her offensive remarks. In 2004, she allegedly told a group of black diners, "Go back to the colonies." When she tried to apologize, she simply made things worse.

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princess michael of kent
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"To call me racist: it’s a knife through the heart because I really love these people," she told ITV. "I even pretended years ago to be an African, a half-caste African, but because of my light eyes I did not get away with it, but I dyed my hair black." 

But it's not just the elders making a ruckus. While in the military, Prince Harry caused controversy in 2004 when he was caught on video saying "F--k me, you look like a raghead" to a fellow soldier. 

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Infidelity is kind of the norm.

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Source: Getty

Sure the many cheating scandals of the royal family are what makes their dysfunctional lives so entertaining, but there comes a point when it gets excessive. By far the most famous cheating scandal involved Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who had an affair while he was still married to Princess Diana.

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Diana later said in a taped interview that when she confronted Charles he said, "Well, I refuse to be the only Prince of Wales who never had a mistress." Honestly, I could go on with the many secret mistresses of the royal family, but who has the time? 

Prince Andrew was allegedly involved in a tafficking "ring" that involved minors.

shady royal family
Source: Getty
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But hey, infidelities are forgivable, right? After all, which famous person hasn't been in the middle of a cheating scandal? But Prince Andrew, the Queen's second youngest son, has been linked to some pretty disturbing allegations that go beyond "secret mistresses."  In 2015, he was named in an ongoing lawsuit by women who said they were trafficked to rich, powerful men as part of an underage "ring" run by Andrew's pal, investment banker Jeffrey Epstein.

Buckingham Palace denied everything. However, the allegations match Andrew's reputation for being a partier. "Prince Andrew turns up at my house at once in the morning and he wants to party," rock star Courtney Love once bizarrely recounted in 2006.  

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The family didn't get along with Princess Diana and might have inadvertently caused her death.

shady royal family
Source: Getty

Although she was everyone's favorite Cinderella story, that all changed when Diana: Her True Story dropped like an avalanche in 1992. Although she was admired for having a "perfect" life, she was actually living a secret hell in a palace she described was "like being a prisoner." While dealing with her husband's infidelity she battled with bulimia and depression.

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She was isolated from her friends and felt more comfortable chatting with the kitchen staff than with members of the royal family. She also hated all the endless dinner parties, engagements, and outdated customs. "I was amazed at the number of dinner parties they had," she reportedly said. "They were just too many." 

shady royal family
Source: Getty
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Although Princess Diana helped in making the royal family look modern and likable again to the public, the family wasn't happy with all the tabloid scandals that came along with her. After Diana and Charles divorced, the family stripped Diana of her royal title. According to a published account by her former protection officer, Ken Wharfe, Diana thought the family was doing this to spite her.

"I used to blame myself, to hate myself," she reportedly said at the time. "Nobody in the royal family every praised me, can you believe that? After everything I've done for that family." 

If Diana was able to keep her royal title, it might've saved her life. Because royals are required to have full security with them when traveling, she might've been protected that fateful night in 1997 when, while fleeing from paparazzi, she died in a car crash. 

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And speaking of Diana's death, the family acted like jerks about it.

shady royal family
Source: Getty

After Princess Diana's death, the entire world went into mourning. As thousands of fans flocked to Kensington Palace to pay their condolences, people were shocked that the royal family refused to raise the flag half-mast, nor did the Queen even release a statement. According to royal rules, raising a flag is against the protocol.

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But fans and the British press were furious that the family would continue hiding behind their archaic customs during such a shocking, traumatic event. "Show us you care," The Express' headline blared. "Has the House of Windsor a heart?" asked the Daily Mail. After about a week, the family finally caved to public pressure, raising a flag and releasing a statement the day before the funeral, but it was only after the public had to shame them into doing so. 

They're expensive to taxpayers.

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The royal family racks up about $368 million in expenses each year, but a portion of that comes from taxpayers. The government gave them $54.6 million in tax-free income in 2016, but in 2017 they got a 78 percent increase, boosting their paycheck to $97 million in 2017. The rest of the family's money comes from income generated from private estates.

If you're wondering how this is fair to taxpayers, the general consensus is that the family generates more money than they get from the government via profits from the Crown Estate and income generated from tourism. However, many critics think that's just a myth and that the royal family actually costs British taxpayers $452 million each year, which is just insane.  

But hey, it's like what they say — all entertainment comes with a price tag. I'm just thankful I'm not British. 

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They acted like members of the family with learning disabilities didn't exist.

shady royal family
Source: Netflix

If you've been watching The Crown then you would have heard of Katherine and Nerissa Bowes-Lyon, the daughters of John Herbert Bowes-Lyon (the Queen Mother's brother), and his spouse, Fenella. They were the first cousins of Queen Elizabeth the second, however, they weren't spoken of for years and treated as a "dirty secret" in the family, as they were born with learning disabilities.

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After their father died in 1930, the two were placed in the Royal Earlswood Hospital located in Redhill, London in 1941. But they weren't the only members of the Royal Family born with this disability, Fenella's sister Harriet had three children with a similar developmental issue: Idonea, Etheldreda, and Rosemary were also admitted into the hospital.

shady royal family
Source: Getty
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What's most shocking about the treatment of Katherine and Nerissa is that they were actually treated as if they were "dead" to the family: it was reported that the two had passed away in 1940. Nerissa passed away in 1986 and placed in a grave with a name tag and serial number. Katerine died in 2014 at 87 years old.

With a lineage that dates back to the 10th century, it's no surprise that the Royal family has tons of secrets we're just now uncovering — "heavy lies the crown," right?

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