Does Queen Elizabeth Break Royal Protocol More Than Anybody?

Queen Elizabeth and the rest of the royal family are some of the most-watched people in the world. Everything they do is under a microscope, and even though the paparazzi in London does seem to be more respectful than the tabloids in the U.S., the royals have to deal with invasion of privacy issues from time to time.

Helping them to cope with the stressful situations that come with life in the limelight are the rules of royal etiquette – a set of guidelines that govern them. In spite of the strict policies imposed on the younger members of the family, and in contrast to her public image, Queen Elizabeth has shown herself to be quite a rule-breaker from time to time.

Queen Elizabeth attended a funeral

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II | Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

For years, it was policy the queen never attend funerals. The idea behind the rule was that if a monarch went to a funeral all the attention would be drawn to them and away from the solemn occasion at hand. However, when a longtime member of the royal staff passed away, Queen Elizabeth didn’t let tradition dissuade her from honoring her friend.

Annette Wilkin was 72 years old when she passed away in May 2019. She had served the queen for over forty years and the two had become very close.

Wilkin, who was a head housekeeper before retiring in 2014, even lived on the palace grounds in order to stay close to her good friend. While the palace hasn’t officially commented on whether or not the queen will attend Wilkin’s funeral, royal sources claim that she will.

Although it is hardly a joyous occasion, it is heartwarming to know that the queen places family and friends above certain societal expectations.

The queen broke a rule for Meghan Markle

It’s no secret that Queen Elizabeth is very fond of Meghan Markle. The actress seemed to be an almost instant part of the family and it wasn’t long before the queen started embracing those closest to Markle as well. She demonstrated her willingness to include Markle’s family when she invited Meghan Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, to the official royal family Christmas gathering. 

Traditionally, the family members of significant others aren’t included in royal family gatherings. The fact that the queen extended the invitation to Doria Ragland, who is very close to Markle, shows that she wanted Markle to be comfortable and happy. Of course, she’s also relaxed royal protocol rules at other times for Markle’s benefit, including allowing Markle to wear clothes and accessories that aren’t traditional royal fashion choices. 

Queen Elizabeth bends the rules for her family

Even though Queen Elizabeth is the figurehead of the British monarchy, she is also a mother and grandmother, with a soft spot for those nearest and dearest to her. She has shown her ability to work with her grandchildren on matters that are important to them, especially in the case of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s 2011 wedding.

Reportedly, while in the early stages of wedding planning, the prince and his future wife were getting overwhelmed at the sheer volume of people they felt duty-bound to invite.

According to reports, the queen told her grandson to ignore the rules and to just invite those that they were really close to. Through her intervention, Prince William and Kate Middleton were able to have the wedding of their dreams.

Through her leadership and example, the queen’s family members have been empowered to make decisions that are ultimately the right thing to do, rather than something that they are forced to do just because it is part of royal tradition.