Royal rebel: 11 times King Charles broke protocol, from replacing Meghan Markle’s dad at her wedding and kissing a 16-year-old fan, to underage drinking at Gordonstoun and PDAs with Princess Diana

Forget Prince Harry, King Charles III might just be the royal family’s biggest rebel ... Photos: Getty Images, @royalfamily/Instagram
When you’re part of an institution that has been around for 1,200 years, it should come as no surprise that there are numerous rules that you are expected to follow. But as the British royal family has evolved, so too, have its members.
King Charles III isn’t the only one to break with royal protocol of course – but now that he is king, all eyes are on his future (and past) rebellious acts. Here’s a look at 11 times he broke with tradition and got tongues wagging.

Underage drinking

A young Prince Charles got in trouble for ordering a cherry brandy at the age of 14. Photo: Getty Images

In the 1960s, Charles attended Gordonstoun Boarding School in Moray, Scotland. In his second year of school, a young Prince Charles and a few fellow students had dinner at the Crown Hotel before a film at the Stornoway Playhouse.

According to the Scottish Daily Express, Charles was dared to go up to the bar and order a drink. Unluckily for him, a tabloid reporter at the pub spotted the prince ordering a cherry brandy – reportedly “the first drink that came into [his] head” – and published the story of the prince drinking under the legal age of 18. Charles’ bodyguard was reportedly fired after the incident.

What would Princess Diana, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson look like now?

Receiving kisses from fans

Prince Charles receives a kiss from 16-year-old Gilda Larbey during a walkabout in Perth, Australia, in 1977. Photo: Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

As a young prince, Charles broke royal protocol when he received a kiss from 16-year-old Gilda Larbey during a trip to Australia in 1977.

When then-Prince Charles was in his mid-to-late twenties, he was a veritable heartthrob among the young ladies of the Commonwealth, so it’s no surprise that one tried to steal a kiss from him.

Charles broke with royal precedent by being present at the births of his two children

If a young Prince Charles had had his way, Prince William would actually be called Prince Arthur, but Princess Diana apparently vetoed the idea, and it became one of his middle names instead. Photo: AP

Princess Diana was the first royal to give birth in a hospital – it was custom for members of the royal family to give birth at the palace. Charles was also present at the birth of both of his sons, which broke royal precedent.

Diana and Charles reportedly disagreed on what their first son should be named. According to Diana, in Andrew Morton’s book, Diana: Her True Story, Charles originally wanted William to be named Arthur.

Meet Denmark’s lucky teen Princess Isabella, Queen Margrethe’s granddaughter

Prince Charles regularly kissed his wife Princess Diana in public

In the early days of their marriage, Prince Charles and Princess Diana seemed as though they had a fairy-tale romance. Photo: Getty Images
During the early years of their marriage, Prince Charles regularly kissed his wife Princess Diana in public.

From the outside looking in, the pair looked like the perfect, happy couple. They regularly engaged in displays of public affection, which are against royal protocol, at the prince’s many polo matches.

Then he became the first Prince of Wales to be granted a divorce

Back in 1996, Prince Charles was the first heir apparent to the throne to be granted a divorce, from his then wife Princess Diana. Photo: Getty Images

Charles was also the first Prince of Wales and heir apparent to the throne to be granted a divorce, breaking royal protocol that preferred monarchs to never be divorced.

Charles and Diana officially filed for divorce after 15 years of marriage in 1996. By that time, Charles and Diana’s marriage was in a shambles after both of them admitted to being unfaithful during their marriage.

Princess Diana received a generous divorce settlement, the right to continue using her title of Princess of Wales, and retained her apartments at Kensington Palace. However, the “People’s Princess” had to relinquish the title of Her Royal Highness and any future claims to the British throne.

Charles and Camilla married in 2005.

The next royal rebel? 5 of Prince Louis’ cheekiest moments

Charles returned a hug from a young fan

Then Prince Charles was surprised by Valentin Blacker in 2017 when he went in for a huge hug in 2017 in Bucharest. Photo: WPA Pool/Getty Images

Charles broke royal tradition when he hugged an 11-year-old boy during a royal visit to Romania.

It was reported that 11-year-old Valentin Blacker, the son of a local conservationist, was “clearly unfamiliar with royal protocol” and threw “his arms around the prince”, who, unusually, gave the young boy a warm hug back.

Charles raised a few eyebrows when he kissed Camilla at a 2005 polo match

Then Prince Charles kisses Camilla, then Duchess of Cornwall, at a polo match two months after they were married. Photo: Indigo/Getty Images
Royals are not known for kissing or showing affection publicly, since PDAs are generally frowned upon outside special occasions such as royal weddings, making this adorable moment a break from royal tradition.

Charles signed an autograph

British royals are not allowed to sign autographs for members of the public, lest they are easily forged, but King Charles has broken with protocol in the past. Photo: Getty Images

Charles signed an autograph, which is usually forbidden, for a family affected by devastating flash floods in Cornwall in 2010.

The royal family typically isn’t allowed to sign autographs because it would increase the risk of having their signatures forged. However, when meeting with victims of the Cornwall flash floods in 2010, Charles obliged one couple’s request for an autograph for their son.

He reportedly wrote “Charley 2010” on a scrap of paper given to him by a surprised bodyguard and even apologised for his “shaky writing” because he “never writes standing up”.

8 ways Queen Elizabeth modernised the British monarchy

Charles once broke royal protocol by eating an oyster

The then Prince Charles necks a fresh oyster at the Whitstable Oyster Festival back in 2013. Photo: Indigo/Getty Images

Royal protocol states that family members should avoid eating shellfish due to fears of food poisoning.

“It is a very sensible move to abandon having seafood when out and about on public duties,” former royal butler Grant Harold previously told Woman & Home magazine. “We don’t want a member of the Royal family having a serious reaction to food poisoning, especially if they’re on an overseas tour.”

However, Charles ignored this rule during a trip to the Whitstable Oyster Festival in 2013 where he tucked into a freshly-shucked oyster.

Charles broke royal protocol when he stepped in to escort Meghan Markle down the aisle

Then Prince Charles walks Meghan Markle up the aisle at Windsor Castle. Photo: PA Wire/Abaca Press/TNS
After Meghan’s father was embroiled in scandal due to staging paparazzi pics and became unable to attend her royal wedding due to an operation, Charles stepped in to walk her down the aisle in a heartwarming moment seen by millions of viewers.

Prince Harry later recalled the moment he asked his father to walk Meghan down the aisle in the BBC One documentary Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70.

“I asked him to and I think he knew it was coming and he immediately said, ‘Yes, of course, I’ll do whatever Meghan needs and I’m here to support you,’” he said, according to Town & Country. “For him, that’s a fantastic opportunity to step up and be that support, and you know, he’s our father, so of course he’s going to be there for us.”

Charles has been a vocal advocate for environmentalism

Then Prince Charles gives a keynote speech at the opening session of the United Nations Climate Summit in 2015 in France. Photo: Getty Images

Royals are generally forbidden from commenting on political issues, but Charles has been a vocal advocate for environmentalism and the fight against climate change.

Throughout his royal career, Charles has been a staunch environmentalist and has commented multiple times on how the government must take action on climate change – which directly goes against the ethos that royals should be politically neutral.

In January 2022, Charles praised his son Prince Harry’s own dedication to fighting climate change.

“As a father, I am proud that my sons have recognised this threat,” Charles wrote in an essay penned for Newsweek. “And my younger son, Harry, has passionately highlighted the impact of climate change, especially in relation to Africa, and committed his charity to being net zero.”

Read the original article on Insider.
Want more stories like this? Follow STYLE on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.
  • As a prince, Charles’ PDAs with wives Princess Diana and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall broke with royal precedent, and his hugs and kisses with fans did too
  • As early as 14, Charles was caught underage drinking with school friends, and his outspoken support of environmentalism is still controversial – but why was eating oysters a bad idea?