Royal Family Rules Queen Elizabeth Has Loosened Up on Over the Years

At the ripe age of 92, Queen Elizabeth II has spent most of her life wearing the crown. Make that a 65 year reign — and a lot an change over the course of six decades. While the monarchy maintains a lot of its old-school demeanor and traditions, Her Majesty has, in fact, bent the rules a couple times as she has gotten older. (And we aren’t just talking about granting Prince Harry permission to marry Meghan Markle. But we’ll get to that in a bit.) Here are the royal family rules that the queen has loosened up on over the years.

Letting Princess Diana choose her engagement ring

The Prince and Princess of Wales and their sons Prince William (R) and Prince Harry, on William's first day at Eton. Diana, Princess of Wales, and her friend, Dodi Fayed, died in a car crash t 31 August in Paris

Princess Diana’s ring is now Kate Middleton’s. | John Stillwell/AFP/Getty Images

It has been revealed in recent years that Queen Elizabeth and the late Princess of Wales didn’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things. But the queen sure did let the People’s Princess break protocol without much recourse! One of the first rules the queen allowed her to bend came before Diana married Prince Charles. Instead of having a ring custom-made, Diana picked out her own ring from a jeweler. (The sapphire engagement ring has since been passed on to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.)

The family that flies together …

Prince William and Kate Middleton Helicopter

Britain’s Prince William and his family have traveled together several times. | Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images

Royal rules stipulate that multiple heirs to the throne cannot travel together. This is precautionary, in case there is an unfortunate accident. Prince William broke that rule when he took their son Prince George on his first international trip, and they flew together. The queen had the final say in the matter — and has allowed William to travel with his children on multiple occasions.

Embracing the common folk

Prince Harry poses with a child as he visits the Sir Tom Finney Soccer Development Centre and the Lancashire Bombers Wheelchair Basketball Club at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) sports arena on October 23, 2017 in Preston, England. (Photo by Danny Lawson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Princes William and Harry are more hands-on than any of the older royals. | Danny Lawson/WPA Pool/Getty Images

There are strict rules when it comes to touching a member of the royal family. And by strict, we mean that the masses are not supposed to touch a royal. But this was another rule that Princess Diana didn’t follow, as she would hug hospital patients and impoverished people in foreign countries. This was something that irked the queen, but she seems to have let that go. (Especially since her grandsons, Princes William and Harry, don’t have a problem with embracing the masses.)

When the queen hugged Michelle Obama

Then-President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in 2011 in London, England.

Then-President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in 2011 in London, England. | Ben Gurr – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Heck, even Queen Elizabeth has cut herself some slack in the rules department! As previously mentioned, there is a strict code of conduct when it comes to touching a royal, and touching the queen is very rare. But Her Majesty broke that rule when she met with former President Barack Obama and gave his wife Michelle a warm embrace. (The media really lost their minds over that one.)

Marrying a divorcee

Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon (1930 - 2002) arrives in England after her tour of Canada, 12th August 1958. (Photo by Victor Blackman/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Princess Margaret wasn’t allowed to marry a divorcee. | Victor Blackman/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

When the queen’s sister, Princess Margaret, wanted to marry Peter Townsend, she refused to confirm the proposal because Townsend was divorced. In fact, Queen Elizabeth reportedly denied her sister’s marriage request more than once because it broke royal protocol.

It made things extra interesting in 2017 when the queen broke the same rule, allowing Prince Harry to propose to Meghan Markle.

Public schooling

Prince George of Cambridge arrives for his first day of school with his father Prince William, Duke of Cambridge at Thomas's Battersea on September 7, 2017 in London, England.

Prince George is following in his father’s footsteps and going to public school. | Richard Pohle – WPA Pool/Getty Images

There was plenty of media attention when Prince George was starting kindergarten at a public school. But the youngster isn’t the first royal to do so! Prince William was actually the first member of the British royal family to attend public school, at the insistence of mother Princess Diana. While Prince Charles was the first member of the family to get a degree from a public institution, Prince William was the first to attend a public school as a young boy and not be schooled within the palace.

Family time at Christmas

Prince William hands over a wish list by his son Prince George to a person dressed up as Santa Claus as he visits the Esplanade Park and the Manta's Market winter fair in Helsinki, Finland, on November 30, 2017.

Christmastime at the palace isn’t as exclusive as it used to be. | Heikki Saukkomaa/AFP/Getty Images

Holidays with the royals are a family matter. And only the closest family, by blood and marriage, are invited to join Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip in the festivities. That means no boyfriends or girlfriends, and no fiancees. But the queen threw the rule book out the window in 2017 by inviting Prince Harry’s then-fiancee Meghan Markle to spend Christmas with the rest of the family. Clearly, we haven’t seen the end of Queen Elizabeth loosening up on the rules for her young family members.

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