Is Queen Elizabeth Getting Soft in Her Old Age?

If you have noticed things are a little different at the royal palace, you’re not alone. Queen Elizabeth, once a stickler for the rules, seems to let more and more slide lately. Now, with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle rumored to be moving to Africa, royal watchers are yelling that the “old queen” never would have let them get away with this. Which begs the question: Is Queen Elizabeth getting soft in her old age?

The queen has been lenient with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II | Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

The problem many people have is that it seems like Queen Elizabeth is making drastic changes all of a sudden. First, she let her grandson marry a divorced woman (a no-no in the royal family, more on that later). Then she seemingly let her grandson’s new wife get away with all sorts of rule-breaking. From her apparel while in the public eye, to her birth plan, Londoners are going crazy about all the rules that Meghan is allowed to break.

But for many, the possibility that Harry and Meghan may take their new baby and move to Africa is just too much. The couple has already started their own Instagram and moved to Windsor. What’s next?

The queen isn’t choosing favorites, though. She has been known to let Prince William and Kate Middleton break a few rules as well. Traditionally, multiple heirs to the throne are not allowed to travel together. This rule is in place in case of a tragic accident. But William was permitted to break this rule when he traveled with Prince George on their first international trip.

Queen Elizabeth has bent the rules for Prince Charles as well

Let’s not forget that the queen has looked the other way when her own son broke a few rules in regard to both of his marriages. When Prince Charles married Diana Spencer, Diana was able to design her own engagement ring, breaking royal tradition. Diana chose a 12-carat oval blue sapphire ring surrounded by 14 diamonds. It’s the same ring that Kate now wears.

Marriage number two for the prince was a rule-breaker as well. Royal rules stipulate that members of the royal family cannot marry anyone who has been previously divorced. Camilla Parker Bowles was once married and divorced before wedding Charles.

Is Queen Elizabeth a rule-breaker?

Where’s the fun in things if you can’t bend a rule or two in your lifetime? Queen Elizabeth, herself, has broken her share of rules. The biggest rule the queen has broken is the rule against discussing politics. Members of the royal family are not allowed to publicly discuss politics of any form. The queen broke this rule when discussing Brexit.

There’s also a rule about touching members of the royal family. The queen didn’t enforce this rule when she met with President Obama in 2012 and she hugged Michelle Obama during the visit.

Is the queen really going soft?

It’s easy to look at individual events and say this is something that the “old queen” never would have stood for, but if you look back at history, nothing’s really changed. Queen Elizabeth has made concessions for her children, her grandchildren, and herself. She has learned when rules simply don’t make sense and when she needs to adapt to modern standards. Her choices aren’t actions of someone going soft, simply someone who is using their judgment to adapt to the times and do what is best for her family and her country.