Awkward Royal Balcony Moments That Made Viewers Cringe

There's never a better time to get a glimpse of the royal family's real dynamic than during one of their many balcony appearances at Buckingham Palace. Fans love getting to watch the whole family interact during Jubilee celebrations, royal weddings, coronations, and the famous Trooping of the Color. 

The royal balcony photo call is a time-old tradition dating back to 1851, when Queen Victoria greeted her subjects from the balcony at the start of the Great Exhibition. She is also credited with bringing out the royal family onto the balcony after a royal wedding. Since then, the royal family has been known to gather on the balcony to wave at fans on a variety of special royal occasions.

Naturally, when the whole family gets together, things don't always go to plan. Whether it's the young royals misbehaving or old grudges coming to the forefront, the royal balcony photo call can sometimes be nothing short of excruciating for the royals. Here are a few times when things got a little too embarrassing. 

When Harry didn't appear on the balcony at the coronation

Traditionally, the whole royal family comes together on the balcony for important events. However, when King Charles III and Queen Camilla were coronated in 2023, there was one glaring omission: Prince Harry. 

Harry and his wife Meghan Markle have given up their royal duties to live in Los Angeles with their two children, but he did make it to his father's coronation. However, while the rest of his family stood and waved on the balcony, he didn't appear. "Harry has written a whole book about how he felt that he was playing second fiddle to his brother, the entirety of his life," royal correspondent Sharon Carpenter told E! News. "So, I think this was Charles' opportunity to really show Harry, 'You are just as important as Prince William when it comes to family.'"

According to the Mirror, Harry was excluded because he's no longer a "working royal." In fact, royal commentator Ingrid Seward noted that this might be why Meghan skipped the event altogether. "To add to this possibility the disgrace being excluded from the Buckingham Palace balcony line-up was more than she could bear," she said.

When Prince Louis stole all of the attention at King Charles' coronation

Prince Harry's marked absence wasn't the only awkward part of the 2023 coronation balcony photo call. Things also got a little embarrassing when Prince Louis, Kate Middleton and Prince William's youngest child, got a little too excited during the Red Arrows flypast. 

In footage from ITV, the young boy can be seen pulling faces, making silly gestures, and generally stealing focus from the rest of the royals. He was also spotted doing a silly dance while waving to the crowd as his mother gently tried to keep him calm. Naturally, most fans loved watching the young prince acting like, well, just a regular little boy. However, there's no denying that this moment was probably just a little cringeworthy for some of the royals on the balcony. One MP even tweeted about what he saw as "the quite repellent antics of Prince Louis." However, a fan was quick to reply, "He is a 5 year old boy, was well behaved and sat for hours in the church. If you actually watch the footage balcony, you would of seen he was just excited by all of the activity."

When Camilla seemed a little impatient during her coronation

Yet another cringeworthy balcony moment occurred at the coronation for the newly crowned Queen Camilla. As body language expert Judi James told the Daily Record, Camilla seemed to grow impatient with how the family couldn't seem to get organized on the balcony. So, she took matters into her own hands. 

"Seeing Camilla begin to take charge now she is Queen, organizing the balcony choreography by flicking her hands in much the same impatient gesture that Charles used when his pens were leaking might show a new era of a much more confident Queen Camilla who might match her husband's desire for perfection," she said. She added, "She also seemed to be gently urging Charles to go inside after the first appearance."

By the sounds of things, this balcony appearance showed off Camilla's bossy side — and while it may have felt a little awkward to see her grow impatient, it's clear she's ready to take charge now that she's wearing the crown.

When Charles got anxious about Camilla on the balcony

While Queen Camilla may have been impatient, King Charles III was, apparently, looking a little anxious during the coronation balcony appearance. According to the Express, Charles seemed pretty wary of the edge of the balcony itself. A lip reader reported that the new King told his wife he "mustn't get too close" to the edge "or I might give myself a fright." He also allegedly told her to "be careful." Who knew — after all of these balcony photo calls, Charles is still frightened. 

However, while Charles may have been feeling anxious about heights, he didn't have to worry about the public's reception of him. According to body language expert Judi James, his anxiety seemed to dissipate once he saw the crowds below. "This balcony appearance showed Charles genuinely look surprised and humbled by the roar of affection from the crowds," she told the Daily Record. "It was the moment the anxiety lifted from his features and a more relaxed smile take its place."

When Princess Charlotte seemed a bit annoyed by her brother's theatrics

Of course, as royal fans may remember, the 2023 coronation wasn't the first time Prince Louis caused a bit of a scene on the balcony. Back in 2022, during the late Queen Elizabeth II's Jubilee celebrations, Louis once again seemed to act out during the Trooping of the Color parade. During the event, he could be seen making all kinds of funny faces, covering his ears, and looking a little bored, as his mother, Kate Middleton, tried to calm him down. 

Body language expert Blanca Cobb explained to The List that Kate probably wasn't too annoyed with Louis. "I don't think that Kate Middleton was secretly cross with Prince Louis for misbehaving on the balcony," she said. "I think that Kate was trying to settle down Prince Louis in a loving, compassionate, and understanding way."

However, Cobb added, one royal did seem a little perturbed by his behavior: his older sister, Charlotte. "Charlotte has her head down, eyes closed and forehead tension," Cobb said. "Most prominently, the muscle between her eyebrows is contracted, which indicates stress. Their mother, on the other hand, finds Louis' outburst a bit amusing. Chances are, Charlotte is all too familiar with her brother's big personality!

When Meghan Markle was apparently moved to the back of the balcony in 2019

When it comes to the royal balcony, not all positions are equal. The queen or king usually stands front and center, while their closest family members stand close by. On the edges and at the back, you'll usually find the distant cousins. However, in 2019, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, despite their prominent position in the family, seemed to be shoved to the very back of the line-up.

As body language expert Judi James told the Mirror at the time, the positioning may have been related to the media rumors about Meghan's alleged feud with Kate Middleton. In fact, she noted that both Harry appeared unhappy and uncomfortable during the event, while Meghan looked isolated from the rest of the family. 

Considering the fact that Meghan and Harry would later open up about how unwelcome they felt in the family, this balcony appearance certainly looks pretty awkward in hindsight.

When Harry and Meghan were notably absent from the Jubilee

The 2023 coronation wasn't the first time Prince Harry missed a Buckingham Palace photo op. In 2022, he and his wife Meghan Markle also missed out on the Trooping of the Color during the Jubilee celebrations. 

As an official statement read at the time, "After careful consideration, the Queen has decided this year's traditional trooping the colour balcony appearance on Thursday 2 June will be limited to Her Majesty and those members of the royal family who are currently undertaking official public duties on behalf of the Queen" (via The Guardian). In other words, Harry and Meghan were not invited.

Some fans were surprised. "Why wouldn't Harry and Meghan be on the balcony for the Platinum Jubilee? Harry is, and always will be, still the Queen's grandson," one tweeted. However, it turns out that the couple probably didn't want to appear on the balcony, according to Omid Scobie, who wrote a biography of Meghan (via Daily Mail).

When Harry got told off by Princess Diana

Before there was Prince Louis, there was Prince Harry. It turns out that as a young boy, Harry was an awful lot like his nephew. Like Louis, the young Harry had a tendency to act out during his early balcony appearances. At the Battle of Britain 50th Anniversary Parade in 1990, Harry was spotted stealing attention while play fighting with his cousin Beatrice, the daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson (via Heart). 

In the clip, Beatrice can be seen trying to get Harry's attention, when he starts to elbow her in the arm. Diana quietly tells him off, before trying to move the two cousins apart — Harry struggles and fights his way back to his original spot. Luckily, Diana and Sarah didn't seem too distressed by the encounter and can be seen laughing at their children together.

It's pretty to adorable to see a young Harry acting up on the balcony just like his nephew would years later.

When Harry couldn't contain his laughter in 2006

One of the funniest, most awkward royal balcony moments came in 2006. While we don't know exactly what happened, most experts and fans seem to agree it went something like this: while the family gathered in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's 80th birthday, her husband, Prince Philip seemed to, well, fart. That's right.

Based on clips from the day, you can see Princess Anne and Prince Charles turn to look at Philip as he smiles in embarrassment. Prince Harry, standing right behind Philip, even puts his hand to his nose and turns away laughing. Meanwhile, Elizabeth appears to grimace and turn her head away from her husband. There's no denying that the scene looks an awful lot like Philip accidentally broke wind.

At the time, fans were quick to begin discussing the moment. "He is 70 and we all know at that age they just let it rip," one fan wrote on Reddit. Another fan wrote on Flickr, "Of course, fun loving Prince Harry just can't contain control!" The Mirror even reported that the moment looked awfully suspicious. Whatever really happened, we're sure this moment will go down in royal balcony history.

When Savannah Phillips and George were separated in 2018

Another Trooping of the Color, another opportunity for the royal children to cause a (very adorable) scene on the Buckingham Palace balcony. In 2018, the two culprits were Savannah Phillips, the daughter of Peter Phillips (Princess Anne's son), and Prince George, the oldest child of Prince William and Kate Middleton. 

During the ceremony, the two cousins could be seen messing around. At one point, Savannah even put her hand over George's mouth while he was singing the national anthem, a mischievous look on her face as she stared directly into the cameras. This move could have been something out of a horror movie — but in the context of the event, it was simply another hilarious royal balcony moment. After all of the shenanigans, the parents quietly separated the two children to keep things running as smoothly as possible.

Of course, fans loved watching the two kids. One tweeted, "Favorite moment of the day. Hope this pic is saved for his coronation day." Another wrote, "There we were all thinking what a shy little boy Prince George is and you see him there on the balcony being very mischievous." Another praised Savannah's comedic timing, writing, "How did she manage this so impeccably, without looking away from camera? My idol." While this moment may have been a little unprofessional, it's definitely one of our favorites.

When Grace van Cutsem got grumpy during Kate and William's wedding photocall

Back in 2011 when Kate Middleton and Prince William tied the knot, there was another little girl who stole the show thanks to her hilarious expressions on the balcony. Grace van Cutsem, granddaughter of Queen Camilla, then just 3 years old, was one Kate's bridesmaids. While the wedding party stood on the balcony, Grace could be seen scowling and covering her ears as the crowds roared below. Clearly, she wasn't too impressed by all the noise. Photos of van Cutsem quickly went viral, with NPR naming a photo of her covering her ears as the couple kissed behind her the "best photo from the royal wedding."

According to The Associated Press, van Cutsem "felt poorly" (via NPR), which is why she seemed so unhappy on the balcony. While the royal couple may have been a little embarrassed to have their big moment overshadowed by van Cutsem, most fans loved the hilarious photos. "AHAHAHAHA check out the little bridesmaid just infront of Kate & William. Bless her," one tweeted. "Kate's tiny bridesmaid on the balcony with her hands over her ears ...that's an image that's gonna run and run," tweeted another. This is one balcony moment that no one will be forgetting soon.

When the royals were shocked by fireworks

During the 2022 Jubilee, Prince William, Kate Middleton, and their three children stood on the balcony on the final day of celebrations. One hilariously awkward moment from the day eventually found its way onto TikTok. The clip shows the family singing the national anthem. When the song comes to an end, there is a big confetti display — and it's pretty clear that none of them were expecting it. All five of them jump suddenly. Watching their individual reactions is hilarious. The young Prince Louis looks terrified, Princess Charlotte looks pleasantly surprised, while Prince George simply looks utterly confused. After the initial shock, the five royals all shared a laugh over their surprise. 

Fans could not get enough of the adorable clip. "Even the queen had a little giggle haha," one fan replied. "Kate went into laughing mode immediately," wrote another. A third commented, "You can tell by the way Prince William moves his mouth he was trying hard not to laugh at them too." While their reaction may not have been wholly appropriate, clearly, everyone found it pretty funny — even the queen!

When the Queen told off William in 2016

During the 2016 Trooping of the Color display, Prince William appeared to get in some trouble when the Queen spotted him crouching down to chat with his son, Prince George. A clip, posted by Us Weekly, shows Queen Elizabeth II gently tapping her grandson on the back and gesturing that he should stand up. The Mirror even reported that she seemed to say, "Stand up, William." After a quick embarrassed look, William sprung to his feet. It looks like he was behaving a little casually for the queen on this occasion. 

The moment was probably pretty uncomfortable for William, but for royal fans, it was just another funny balcony moment. "Proof that you're never to old to corrected by grandma [sic]," one fan commented on YouTube. "Even Harry straightened his face and she wasn't even looking at him," another wrote. What a hilarious moment!