Times Royals Lost Their Temper In Public

At first glance, the British royal family might appear to be the best-behaved family in the world. After all, generations of protocol dictate how royals must act during practically any situation, regardless of whether they are in public or the bathroom. Royal dinner parties are particularly controlled events, where everyone in the dining room must try to copy the way that the monarch eats. Guests cannot touch their food until the king or queen has tried theirs, and they are obligated to stop eating as soon as the monarch stops, whether they are still hungry or not. Other instances of royal protocol include sitting at assigned mealtime seats, avoiding colorful nail polish, and never saying the word "toilet."

Although these rules help maintain the royal family's magical public image, its members' lives aren't exactly picture-perfect. Thanks to their high-profile positions, many royals, such as Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, have found themselves accosted by the famously aggressive British paparazzi. Others yet have struggled to deal with the pressures of palace life — notably, Princess Diana and Meghan Markle. And, on more than one occasion, these negative experiences have led members of the royal family to abandon protocol and air their feelings.

From Diana's public rejection of King Charles to Prince William's run-in with a rogue photographer, senior royals have, at times, lost their tempers in public. Ultimately, it seems, the frustrations of royal life are not always best expressed through protocol.

When Princess Diana gave King Charles her cheek

In 1992, Princess Diana had more than one thing to be upset about. She was on the verge of separating from then-Prince Charles, whose extra-marital affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles had left her feeling silenced. Per her biographer, Andrew Morton, in an interview with the Daily Mail, Diana "felt voiceless. She felt that the image we had of this kind of fairytale princess was a grotesque lie." On top of that, the princess was struggling with the relentlessness of the press. As Diana later recalled in a 1995 BBC interview (via PBS), her marriage to Charles disintegrated because: "[T]here were three of us in this marriage, and the pressure of the media was another factor, so the two together were very difficult."

Perhaps, due to all these factors, in 1992, Diana publicly lost her temper with Charles on a trip to Jaipur. During the official visit, Diana was expected to present Charles with a little blue box. Charles tried to plant a performative kiss on Diana's lips. The princess quickly turned her head. Cameras shuttered like wild. In the documentary, "Diana: A Dangerous Game" (via YouTube), royal expert Ingrid Seward explained Diana's motivations for dodging the kiss. "She moved her head away, which was the classic picture because this is a woman who is just longing to humiliate her husband. And she humiliated him in front of the world because the picture went all over the world."

That time Prince Edward stormed out of his fundraiser

On June 15, 1987, Prince Edward ran an ill-fated television fundraiser called "The Grand Knock Out Tournament." From a fundraising perspective, the event was successful. Thanks to its 18 million viewers, the program ultimately raised 1.5 million pounds for charity. However, from a public relations perspective, the event was horrendous, partially because of the disastrous way that Edward behaved on camera.

The trouble started after filming wrapped up and Edward went to the press room to address the media. In the documentary "Prince Edward & Sophie Rhys-Jones: The Reluctant Royals?" (via YouTube), journalist Richard Kay remembered the event: "The media were all invited, but we were not invited to actually watch the event because it was being filmed behind closed doors. And then there was a press conference at the end of filming, and Edward dashed in." Apparently, Edward proceeded to ask the press if they had enjoyed the event. The room of journalists stared at him in bewildered silence.

Per the same documentary (via YouTube), Edward was so bothered by the media's silence that he lost his temper. "Well, thanks for sounding so bloody enthusiastic," he told the reporters. "What have you been doing in here all day?" He eventually said, "One of these days, you lot are going to have to learn some manners." Unfortunately, this outburst proved hugely embarrassing for the prince. As Kay told filmmakers, the incident provided "startling insight into Edward's character" (via YouTube).

When Princess Diana told off the paparazzi

It's not hard to imagine why Princess Diana was uncomfortable with the paparazzi. After all, the princess famously struggled with constant media attention until the very end of her life. She was followed on the ski slopes, to the south of France, and even, once, to the gym, where she was photographed with a hidden camera. As she famously stated in a groundbreaking 1995 BBC interview (via PBS), "I can't tolerate [the media attention] because it's become abusive and it's harassment."

Perhaps, then, it is not astounding that Diana eventually lost her temper with the paparazzi. One video taken around the time of her divorce from then-Prince Charles shows the paparazzi stalking her on a Caribbean vacation (via YouTube). In the clip, the princess steps out of her car, faces the paparazzi, and promptly loses her cool. "Oh, get lost," she told photographers. When they didn't respond, Diana approached them and waved her arms at them, as if she were shooing pigeons. "Go on," she said, before repeating, "Get lost."

While the People's Princess did, ultimately, openly express her anger, many would consider her reaction justified. As Prince Harry recalled in the BBC documentary "Diana" (via YouTube), the press played a major role in his mother's death. During his interview, Harry continued to grapple with the fact that, on that fateful day in Paris, the paparazzi were, "taking photographs of her while she was still dying in the backseat of the car."

When Prince Edward told the press to 'shut up'

Princess Diana was far from being the only royal who resented the press. Prince Edward also felt frustrated by the way that the British media zeroed in on royal life — particularly royal romances. In 1993, Edward gained significant tabloid attention when he began dating Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, then known as Sophie Rhys-Jones. At the time, the public was desperate for a sliver of positive news following the separation of Prince Charles from Princess Diana. As Julie Montagu, Viscountess Hinchingbrooke, divulged in the documentary "Prince Edward & Sophie Rhys-Jones: The Reluctant Royals?" (via YouTube), "The press loves a good royal wedding, so, of course, the press does what it does best, and that's starting to speculate: When is Prince Edward going to propose to Sophie?" Thus, Edward faced mounting pressure to propose to his stunning blond girlfriend. 

Ultimately, the scrutiny became too much for Edward to bear, and, in a 1996 interview with Radio Times (via Express), he lost his temper. "If you shut up, mind your own business, and let me [propose] when I want, it's much more likely to happen. The more people second-guess, the less likely it is. I just won't do it," Edward said. The prince then went on to bemoan the world's interest in his life: "There is little escape for anyone in the public eye."

When Prince Philip swore at photographers

If Prince Edward astonished his fans by telling the press to "shut up," Prince Philip took things a step further. The late consort of Queen Elizabeth actually went so far as to curse at photographers during a commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. During the event, Philip was expected to pose for pictures along with several veterans who had fought in the historic struggle. However, as photographers took their time setting up the perfect shot, Philip seemed to lose his patience. "Just take the f—ing picture," the prince bellowed in a video posted to the BBC website. The clip also captured Prince William's reaction, as he tried to stifle a giggle at his grandfather's indiscretion. 

Interestingly, this was not the only time that Philip was said to lose his temper in public. As noted in a separate BBC report, in 1997, the prince cursed at a Cambridge University car attendant for failing to recognize him. "Bloody silly fool," Philip reportedly called the worker. On numerous other occasions, Prince Philip has also made comments that seemed to reflect his apparent lack of a filter. As reported by The Guardian, Philip once attended a wildlife protection event, where he asked a fashion worker: "You're not wearing mink knickers, are you?" When commenting on death, he once reportedly stated, "In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, to contribute something to solving overpopulation."

The time Prince William protected his kids from the paparazzi

While Prince Philip was famous in the British media for his "gaffes" or anti-social remarks, Prince William seems to be highly aware of his duty to represent the crown. Speaking in the documentary "Queen Elizabeth: Love, Honour and Crown" (via Express), royal expert Clive Irving suggested that William might be the only living royal who fully understands what it means to have royal responsibilities: "The Queen has this very clear, dedicated sense of duty. All those around her never measure up to that at any point ... I think you have to go to William to find somebody who seems to have the same sense of what it means." Perhaps, then, it is as a result of William's dedication to the monarchy that he has largely avoided scandal, even refusing to engage in the public feud initiated by his younger brother. 

Despite William's ability to remain calm and professional, there was an instance where he lost his temper. The prince and his children were out enjoying a bike ride on the Sandringham estate when he spotted a photographer in his vicinity. Apparently, William rushed to his children's defense and told off the paparazzi. On an episode of "The Royal Beat" (via Express), royal expert, Robert Jobson explained, "William went steaming over and really ripped him off and told him what he thought." Per Jobson, the prince behaved this way out of love: "He is fiercely protective of his children."

When Prince Harry pushed a camera away from a boy

From an outsider's view, Prince William and Prince Harry might seem like dueling brothers who have little in common. However, at the end of the day, the pair both share a passion for protecting children from the paparazzi. This was apparent in 2019 when Harry went on tour in Morocco. During the trip, the prince and his wife, Meghan Markle, enjoyed some local food in front of the cameras. However, things quickly turned sour when one aggressive cameraman bumped a child with his equipment. Harry promptly lost his temper and even got a bit physical. 

As revealed in a video published by the Express, Harry marched over to where the cameraman was standing, placed his hands on the camera lens, and pushed it back. The Duke of Sussex then continued communicating with the worker, motioning for him to back off, and staring at him with an angry expression. Once the cameraman stepped away, Harry proceeded to check in on the boy and give him a pat on the arm. 

The incident, which took place when Meghan was pregnant with Prince Archie, foreshadowed the protective attitude that Harry would one day adopt towards his own kids. In the documentary, "Harry & Meghan: An African Journey" (via Harper's Bazaar), the prince vowed: "I will always protect my family ... I will not be bullied into a game that was responsible for killing my mother."

The time Kate Middleton lost her cool at Prince George at her sister's wedding

Princess Catherine is known for being a fashion icon with a pristine reputation, but that doesn't mean she isn't human. Like many mothers worldwide, the Princess of Wales has occasionally lost her temper while dealing with her rebellious toddlers. When Kate's sister, Pippa Middleton, got married in 2017, Prince George was meant to take on an important role in the wedding. As the designated page boy, George was responsible for leading the other children in throwing confetti in front of the newlywed couple following the ceremony. 

However, the prince did not exactly do a great job with his responsibilities. Photos published in the Daily Mirror show that George was, at the very least, sulking during the confetti phase of the wedding. Some shots even call into question whether or not George stepped on Pippa's wedding dress. Naturally, Kate sprang into action and scolded her son. Pointing a stern finger at the young prince, Kate corrected his incorrect behavior. 

Interestingly, this is one of the only times that Kate has been spotted disciplining her children in public. Generally, the princess is known for taking a less severe approach to her children's social education, avoiding traditional punishments, such as the naughty step. As one royal source told The Sun, William and Kate prefer to correct their kids' behavior through conversation. "Things are explained and consequences outlined and they never shout at them," the insider revealed.

When King Charles got worked up over a broken pen

Many senior members of the royal family live a pretty luxurious life, thanks to a team of employees that caters to their every need. And, per some reports, King Charles III's staff is known to be kept particularly busy. Speaking to the documentary "Serving the Royals: Inside the Firm" (per the Mirror), Princess Diana's former butler, Paul Burrell, listed several of the tasks assigned to the monarch's staff. "His pajamas are pressed every morning, his shoelaces are pressed flat with an iron, the bath plug has to be in a certain position, and the water temperature has to be just tepid," the butler shared. 

Perhaps as a result of all this pampering, Charles has been known to lose his temper when things don't go according to plan. One public example of this occurred when the monarch grabbed a pen that wasn't working properly. As per a video shared by NBC News (via YouTube), Charles picked up a pen, which proceeded to leak. This incident was apparently so upsetting for the royal that he began to swear. "I can't bear this bloody thing," Charles bemoaned.

Unfortunately, however, Charles' public outburst wasn't well received by everyone. During a GB News interview (via Express), royal expert Paul Duddridge analyzed the public's reaction to the occurrence. Apparently, not even huge monarchists could get behind Charles' behavior. "Supporters of the UK and the Royal Family are kind of shocked at the seeming petulance," Duddridge said. 

The time King Charles wanted Camilla to hurry up

The pen incident was not the only moment that King Charles III made headlines for losing his cool. On a 2022 visit to Wales, Charles and Camilla, Queen Consort toured the soccer club Wrexham A.F.C. Afterwards, the couple performed a royal walkabout, where they greeted crowds of adoring fans. However, Camilla seemed to linger at the event a little too long for the king's liking. In a clip uploaded to the RoyalChannel's YouTube, Charles lost his temper and began complaining to his staffers about Camilla. "Can we try to get her back again?" The king asked in clear exasperation. "We need to go. I was trying to wait for her, but she goes on."

Ironically, it is said that Camilla isn't the only one who gets too chatty on official visits. One royal insider hinted that Charles also has a history of running late. According to the book "Elizabeth" by Camilla and Charles' friend, Gyles Brandreth (via Express), the queen consort even has a strategy to get her husband to hurry up: "When he is running late or talking too much, she tugs discreetly at the back of his jacket – sometimes quite vigorously." Even so, the royal author conceded that Camilla helps Charles on his bad days. "When he gets tetchy - because the pen doesn't work ... - she soothes him, putting out a hand and kneading him gently in the small of his back," Brandreth wrote.