10 Ruthless Moves From The British Royal Family
Being a member of the British royal family isn’t as easy as it looks. You can’t be political, controversial, or show emotion. And any slipup you do make will be all over the news across the globe in very short order.
The queen mother’s motto was, “Never complain, never explain,” but when words fail, actions can speak louder, and those actions can be passive-aggressive or just plain ruthless. Here are ten examples of when a royal let their guard down.
10: Taking The Saudi Prince For A Ride
Queen Elizabeth II loves to drive. She learned during World War II as second subaltern in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service as a truck driver. As queen, she is not required to hold a driver’s license.
Former Saudi ambassador Sherard Cowper-Coles recalled a visit made by Crown Prince Abdullah in 1998. After lunch at Balmoral, the queen suggested a tour of the Scottish estate and directed her guest toward the royal Land Rover. The crown prince sat down in the passenger side and was shocked to see the queen position herself in the driver’s seat. She started the engine and tore around the narrow roads, chatting away to the prince as they went over the rough terrain. Eventually, the panicky prince was forced to ask her—through his interpreter—to slow down. It may be a coincidence, but at the time, women were banned from driving in Saudi Arabia.
The prince survived his spin with the queen, and in June 2018, Saudi Arabia’s driving ban was finally lifted.
9: The Trial Of Paul Burrell
Paul Burrell (left above) was personal footman to Queen Elizabeth II and then went on to work for Princess Diana. The two formed a close bond, and Diana allegedly referred to him as “my Rock.” After her death in August 1997, Burrell quickly rose to fame. He became a regular on TV and took on a high-profile role with the charity set up in her name.
On January 18, 2001, Police raided Burrell’s home and found 342 items belonging to Diana hidden in the attic. The haul included signed CDs, clothing, personal letters, and photo albums. Burrell strongly denied any wrongdoing. He was charged with theft, and the trial began in October 2002.
The world’s press were out in force to report on the story. However, on day nine, the case was adjourned. The judge, Mrs. Justice Rafferty, sent the jurors home with no explanation. The following day, they were again told to stay home. Meanwhile, the queen, who had been unaware of the case, had seen a news report about the trial. She then recalled Burrell telling her that he had Diana’s possessions stored safely in his home. The police were informed, and Prosecutor William Boyce, QC, told the court there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction. Burrell was free to go.
Outside the court, he famously said: “The queen came through for me.”
This brought an abrupt end to what many predicted would be a lengthy trial full of royal secrets. A spokesman for Buckingham Palace said, “There is no question of the Queen interfering.” Diana’s possessions were returned to her family, and Burrell continued with his media career. The royal family have never commented on the case of Diana’s missing things.