Embarrassing Royal Moments That Were Captured For Millions

The British royal family is known for always appearing proper in public. There are many rules of etiquette that they follow to keep their pristine public image, but they're still human. And just like any of us, royalty have their share of embarrassing moments.

The big difference between them and most of us is that the eyes of the world are on them. High-profile members of the royal family can hardly go anywhere without being filmed or having a photo snapped of them. With their many duties and public appearances, they're bound to embarrass themselves once in a while. Unfortunately for them, there's usually a camera documenting when they do to let the rest of us see.

We've gathered the funniest and most embarrassing royal moments caught on camera. Whether it's a wardrobe mishap, social faux pas, or an awkward face, they're a nice reminder to the rest of us that royals aren't that different from us.

Kate Middleton and Prince William had to sit through uncomfortable jokes

Prince William and Kate Middleton were guests at the 2020 BAFTAs, even walking the red carpet to show off Middleton's gorgeous Alexander McQueen gown before the prestigious film award show began (via Vogue). However, the couple seemed unprepared when some honorees made jokes at the royal family's expense.

While presenting the award for best director, Rebel Wilson made a quick joke at the beginning of her speech, saying, "It is really great to be here at the Royal Andrew ... uh, Royal Harry, no ... at this royal palace place." The reference to Prince Andrew came soon after he stepped down from royal duties due to his embarrassing interview about his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein. And the reference to William's brother reminded the audience of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's decision to step back from royal duties. After Wilson's joke, the cameras quickly cut to Kate and William, who did their best to smile through it, but the pair looked quite stiff.

Another celebrity took a jab the royals when Margot Robbie accepted an award on behalf of her costar Brad Pitt. At the end of the speech, written by Pitt, Robbie said, "He says that he is going to name this Harry because he is really excited about bringing it back to the States with him. His words, not mine!" Once again, the royal pair did their best to stay calm while clearly uncomfortable.

Prince Harry's awkward air kisses

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and Markle's mother, Doria Ragland, all attended the launch of a cookbook written by Grenfell Tower survivors, as noted by Paper magazine. Markle was heavily involved in this project, and while at the event, the trio happily talked with many volunteers from The Hubb Community Kitchen. The launch seemed to go splendidly except for one awkward interaction between Prince Harry and a volunteer.

We all know that uncomfortable feeling when you aren't quite sure how to greet someone, and that's exactly what happened to Harry. After his mother-in-law had kissed a volunteer on both cheeks, Harry stepped forward to do the same. However, the volunteer seemed surprised to have the prince approaching her and took a step back, causing an awkward second where neither of them knew what to do. Fortunately, Harry smoothed things over fairly quickly and "gave her two air kisses, attempting a third before stepping back and chuckling," according to The Sun.

When this little boy ran away from Queen Elizabeth

Meeting the queen is enough to make anyone nervous, and it seems this 9-year-old's nerves got the better of him when he was faced with royalty. In December 2018, Queen Elizabeth II visited London's Thomas Coram Foundation for Children to celebrate a new building named after her. On her tour, the queen greeted some families from the campus, shaking hands and smiling with the assembled guests.

According to Today, the young boy, Nathan Grant, stood politely with his parents as he waited to meet the queen. But, when she approached him, the pressure was too much. Unable to contain his nerves, the 9-year-old dropped to the ground and literally crawled away from Queen Elizabeth — all the way to the nearest exit!

After her son made his escape, his mother joked, "That's his version of a bow." The queen was momentarily stunned by the boy's sudden departure, but she took it in stride and laughed good-naturedly along with everyone else.

Kate Middleton's Marilyn Monroe moment

Kate Middleton is known for her exquisite style, but that doesn't mean she hasn't had her share of wardrobe mishaps. One of those embarrassing royal moments happened when she and her husband, Prince William, visited a national war memorial in Delhi. While the two of them laid down a wreath to honor the dead, the wind began blowing Middleton's dress up.

According to the Daily Mail, the Duchess of Cambridge was wearing a white dress by Emilia Wickstead. She looked lovely as always, but the light fabric was easy for the wind to pick up, and she struggled to keep her dress down throughout the ceremony. The duchess was reminiscent of the famous Marilyn Monroe photo with the white dress blowing up around her, but a war memorial was hardly the time for an old Hollywood homage. Middleton did her best to remain respectful while also using her hands to hold down the fabric during the rest of the event.

Prince Harry's speech was interrupted by a bee

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attended their first public event after their wedding in May 2018. According to BBC News, the newlyweds made their debut at a garden party to honor Prince Charles, Harry's father, for his "charity work and military affiliations."

Though picturesque, the garden location attracted some uninvited guests, and while Harry was giving a speech for his father, he was interrupted by a bee. You can see the bee buzzing right next to Harry's ear in a video of the event. At first, the prince tried to ignore it, and then he gently swatted the bug away.

Despite his best efforts to keep going with the speech, the aggressive bug made him lose his place, and he stumbled over the next few words. Harry simply made a joke out of his mistake with his usual charm, saying, "Sorry, that bee really got me," which drew encouraging laughter from the guests. He was able to finish the rest of the speech without interruption.

When Queen Elizabeth had to show Donald Trump where to walk

As Head of State, Queen Elizabeth is often tasked with greeting foreign dignitaries and political leaders. Sometimes things get tense when those visitors don't know what's expected of them while interacting with her.

During President Donald Trump's 2018 visit, he seemed unsure of what to do when the queen brought him to inspect the royal guard. The president first walked in front of the queen. Then he stopped abruptly, so she had to walk around him to direct him where to go next.

The interaction was awkward to watch, but some people also found it disrespectful. A royal commentator told CNN that Trump looked like he was "wandering up and down a golf course." One outraged Twitter user asked, "Did Donald Trump just WALK IN FRONT OF THE QUEEN?!?!?!" However, if the queen saw this as a snub, she didn't show it. After the initial bumbling, she calmly directed President Trump where they needed to go to finish their public appearance.

Queen Elizabeth didn't know who Madonna was

Along with the many foreign dignitaries the queen interacts with, she's also met many, many celebrities. With all the hand-shaking and greeting she does, she's bound to forget a few names. So, maybe it shouldn't have surprised anyone when Queen Elizabeth II didn't recognize Madonna. 

The pop icon met the queen at the premiere of the James Bond movie "Die Another Day," for which Madonna had sung the title track. In a video posted by The Sun, the singer appears quite nervous as the two shake hands. The queen then turns to her aide to ask who Madonna is. After being informed that Madonna had sung the title track for the film, Queen Elizabeth said pleasantly, "Oh really, did you?" apparently still not recognizing the "queen of pop." Far from offended, Madonna found it all funny, especially after the queen failed to recognize other cast members like John Cleese and Rick Yune, and could barely hold in giggles.

Prince William fell asleep during church service

While attending a church service with his brother, Prince Harry, and sister-in-law, Meghan Markle, a camera caught Prince William fighting hard to stay awake. In the video, you can see William's eyes fluttering shut as he does his best not to doze off.

The Duke of Cambridge made this public appearance in April 2018, just a few days after he and Kate welcomed their third baby into the world. While his wife was presumably at home with the new baby, William still went to the church service. It's no wonder he was feeling a bit rundown.

As a result, most people watching the entertaining video empathized with the exhausted father. One commentator from Entertainment Tonight Canada said he'd "never related to him more." Similarly, People tweeted out the video, calling it "life with a newborn baby." We can only hope that the prince was able to get some real sleep later in the day.

Prince William's awkward joke about COVID-19

Prince William received public backlash after a video of him making light of the coronavirus surfaced. According to Express, the footage was taken in early March 2020 during a reception at Guinness Storehouse.

In the clip, the Duke of Cambridge is introduced to a paramedic with the National Ambulance Service. Though there's a lot of background noise, you can hear William joke, "I bet everyone's like 'I've got coronavirus, I'm dying,' and you're like 'No, you've just got a cough.'" Though it's hard to hear, Express also quoted him saying, "Does it seem quite dramatic about coronavirus at the moment? Is it being a little bit hyped up, do you think, in the media?"

His assertion that COVID-19 was being "hyped up" seemed quite tone-deaf, especially when you consider that his father, Prince Charles, contracted the virus later that same month. Then William himself caught COVID-19 in April. Fortunately, both members of the royal family recovered from the virus.

Prince William's dad dance moves

When a video of Prince William dancing in a club surfaced in 2017, Twitter had a blast poking fun at his "dad dancing." Though the footage is quite blurry, the royal seems to be having the time of his life dancing to "I Got 5 on It" by Luniz. His dance moves aren't great, but they seemed to brighten up a lot of people's day. One Twitter user wrote, "Prince William dad dancing in a club is just the funniest thing of 2017 so far."

According to The Sun, William's awkward dancing took place on a ski trip with his friends, and some critics were annoyed to see the royal out partying on Commonwealth Day. However, some argued, "So now Prince William isn't allowed to go on holiday?!"

Though it was probably embarrassing for William to have his awkward dance moves broadcasted like that, most people took it light-heartedly and seemed to enjoy seeing him cut loose.

Meghan Markle appeared to be publicly snubbed by Prince William

Since Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's shocking interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021 (via CNN), it's no secret that Markle had a difficult time fitting in with her royal in-laws. However, it seems some signs of tension were there before she and Harry stepped down from her royal duties.

In a video caught in December 2018, the royals are seen leaving church together with Prince William, Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle, and Prince Harry all walking side by side. When Markle turns to talk to the other couple, Middleton appears friendly, but William looks like he is purposefully ignoring his sister-in-law as he adjusts his scarf instead of looking at her.

Though the embarrassing royal moment looks tense, it is a short clip, and none of us can know what really happened. Body language expert Judi James shared her analysis of the situation with Cosmopolitan, saying, "This sense of distancing could be caused by tensions but it could also primarily be prompted by William's aversion to royal 'soap operas.'" She went on, "After the tragic dramas of his [parents'] marriage, William has always appeared keen to avoid any public emotional displays that might draw too much ongoing attention from the press and it could easily be this, rather than Meghan herself, that he's keen to avoid."

Meghan Markle was called a 'fat lady' while pregnant

In 2019, when Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were expecting their first baby, Markle had a funny interaction on one of her royal outings. The duchess, who is known for her love for dogs, was visiting an animal charity in London. According to Insider, she was introduced to several women, one of whom was Peggy McEachrom. At the time, Markle's baby bump was quite noticeable, and after shaking the duchess' hand and saying, "God bless you," McEachrom added, "You're a fat lady." The remark may have offended some, but Markle laughed along with the rest of the room. She even told McEachrom, "I'll take it!"

When a video of the interaction surfaced, many were surprised by the woman's seemingly insensitive comment. TV presenter Chris Ship retweeted the video with the statement, "Things *not* to say to a pregnant [woman]." However, he sent out a tweet to clarify after one Twitter user informed him, "It's a [compliment] amongst African and Caribbean people." With that context in mind, it's a good thing Markle didn't take it as an insult.

When Prince Charles wouldn't say he loved Diana

With the portrayal of Princess Diana and Prince Charles' rocky relationship on the Netflix original "The Crown," interest and speculation have been rekindled about their marriage. One of the most notable moments in the television series was when a reporter asked the couple if they were in love. Diana confirms that they are, while Charles responds uncomfortably, "Whatever 'in love' means."

This scene may seem like something added for drama, but the same interview happened in real life. Though it's low quality, you can still watch the embarrassing royal moment when Charles said his infamous line – "Whatever 'in love' means" – rather than saying he was in love.

In the moment, Diana laughed it off. However, the 2017 documentary "Diana: In Her Own Words" shared a recording of Diana discussing how the comment troubled her. As noted by Today, Diana said, "That threw me completely," noting, "I thought, 'What a strange question — uh, answer.' God, absolutely traumatized me."

Strong wind on Princess Eugenie's wedding day almost blew guests away

The royal family may be known for looking prim and proper at all times, but on the day of Princess Eugenie's wedding, many looked more windswept than elegant. Princess Eugenie married Jack Brooksbank on October 12, 2018, and the couple had a bit of bad luck since it just happened to be a particularly blustery day.

As a result, many of the esteemed guests got caught up in gusts of wind on their way to the chapel. Cosmopolitan shared a video of Ayda Field's hat blowing right off. Fortunately, someone walking behind returned it to her before it got far. Most guests took the bad weather with good humor. Cosmopolitan even showed a photo of Chelsy Davy, Prince Harry's ex-girlfriend, laughing as the wind almost blew her hat off. But hats weren't the only issue. Poor little Princess Charlotte toppled right over on her way up the stairs. Fortunately, all the guests made it inside, a little windswept but otherwise ready for a royal wedding.