Times Members Of The Royal Family Lost Their Temper

Britain's royals generally exude an air of calm and composure when they're out in public. It's rare to see a member of the family losing their temper, especially if there's cameras around to capture it. It's such a rare occurrence, in fact, that some media outlets have been guilty of manufacturing flared royal tempers in the editing suite. In 2007, the BBC was forced to apologize to the queen after it screened misleading footage of her portrait session with famed photographer Annie Leibovitz. The segment was cut together in a way that made it look as though Her Majesty had stormed out of their meeting, which apparently never happened.

It turned out the queen hadn't lost her temper at all on that particular day, but the longest-reigning UK monarch has had more than her fair share of angry outbursts over the years — and she's not the only royal with a temper. The queen's outspoken husband, Prince Philip, was well known for his habit of letting people know what he really thought of them, and Her Majesty's famous grandsons, Prince William and Prince Harry, have been known to discard the niceties on occasion, too. Even Catherine, the even-keeled Duchess of Cambridge, has been known to flare up from time to time.

We've got it all covered as we explore what it takes to trigger the royal rage.

Prince Harry left a photographer with cut lip

Prince Harry has had an understandably complicated relationship with the press ever since his mother died in a car crash while fleeing the paparazzi. When he was interviewed for the BBC documentary "Diana, 7 Days," the prince said that "one of the hardest things to come to terms with is the fact that the people that chased her through — into the tunnel were the same people that were taking photographs of her, while she was still dying on the back seat." 

In 2004, seven years after his mother's tragic passing, Harry snapped. The 20-year-old royal was swamped by the paparazzi as he left a London night club in the early hours of the morning. A scuffle broke out, leaving photographer Chris Uncle with a bloody lip. In a statement obtained by The Guardian, Clarence House claimed that the prince was "hit in the face by a camera" as he moved towards his car. "In pushing the camera away, it's understood that a photographer's lip was cut," the spokesperson said. 

According to Uncle, that's not true — he claims that Harry was already inside the vehicle when he lost his temper. "He burst out the car and lunged towards me as I was still taking pictures," the pap alleged. "He lashed out and then deliberately pushed my camera into my face." Harry's emotions clearly bubble close to the surface when it comes to the press, and regardless of the specifics, they appeared to boil over on this occasion.

Prince Harry lost his cool with a Moroccan cameraman

It seems as though Harry's dislike of the press has only intensified over the years. On October 1, 2019, the prince released an official statement condemning the "British tabloid press" for waging what he described as a "ruthless campaign" against Meghan Markle. "I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces," the Duke of Sussex said. He announced that the royal couple were taking the Mail on Sunday and its parent company to court after the paper published a private letter between Markle and her estranged fatherHarry chose legal action on this occasion, but he's still willing to take physical action if and when it's needed.

The prince made headlines in February 2019 after becoming visibly annoyed by the actions of a local TV cameraman during his and Markle's trip to Morocco. The Duke and Duchess were reportedly sampling local dishes (they were just about to tuck into some pigeon pie, apparently) when said cameraman allegedly bashed into one of the children who were serving up the food, eager to get his shot. Video footage obtained by Express shows a stern-faced Harry physically intervening, and instructing the photographer to back off. Anger flashed across the royal's face plain as day, but he quickly replaced it with a smile and gave the seemingly uninjured child a pat on the arm.

Prince Philip got caught swearing at a photographer

Queen Elizabeth's husband had a reputation for being the most gaffe-prone member of the royal family, and not without good reason. Prince Philip spoke his mind in a way that most royals don't dare to, so if and when he would lose his temper, you'd know about it in no uncertain terms. According to The Telegraph, he once gave a Cambridge University car park attendant who didn't recognize him a royal dressing down ("Bloody silly fool," were his words), and he's apparently not a huge fan of Elton John ("I wish he'd turn the microphone off," Philip was seen muttering during the "Rocket Man" singer's Royal Variety Performance in 2001).

It's cameramen that really seemed to grind Prince Philip's gears, however. "I hope he breaks his bloody neck," the queen's husband reportedly said after a photographer who was trying to get some sneaky shots of the royals in India slipped and fell out of a tree. Philip was in an equally unsympathetic mood when he attended an event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. The Duke of Edinburgh, who was posing for a picture with a number of veterans from the famous battle, snapped at the RAF photographer when he grew tired of waiting. "Just take the f***ing picture," he can be heard saying in footage obtained by The Telegraph.

The queen gave Prince William an 'almighty' telling off

Queen Elizabeth always had a good poker face, but when she's really, truly angry, it tends to show. "Newsnight" presenter Emily Maitlis was the first to point out just how furious Her Majesty looked when she delivered her 65th Queen's Speech at the state opening of Parliament in 2019, apparently frustrated at the government's lack of progress on a Brexit deal. She managed to keep her temper in check on this occasion, which wasn't the case when William almost killed his cousin. 

When the future king was a child, he and his cousin Peter Phillips were caught riding a quad bike on the queen's lawns at Balmoral. If there's one thing the queen hated it was people messing with her lawns (she reportedly complained about turf damage left by Donald Trump's helicopters after the president's state visit), but her pristine grass was the least of her concerns on this particular day.

Her Majesty apparently got quite the fright when William and Peter caused the latter's little sister, Zara Phillips (now Zara Tindall), to crash her go-kart straight into a lamp post. The post came loose and toppled over, almost crushing Zara. "I remember my grandmother being the first person out at Balmoral, ah, running across the lawn in her kilt," William recalled in an interview ahead of Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday. "She came charging over and gave us the most almighty b****king."

Prince William got scolded by granny on the Buckingham Palace balcony

Prince William still gets told off by his granny in adulthood, as the whole world witnessed during the Trooping the Colour ceremony in 2016. This patriotic event was held every year in honor of the queen's birthday, and traditionally the royal family will gather on the Buckingham Palace balcony together to watch the Royal Air Force flypast show. Things didn't go as smoothly as they normally do in 2016, however. The family appeared on the famous balcony as per usual, but young Prince George clearly didn't feel like standing still for more than a few seconds. William bent down and tried to reason with his son, but this seemed to displease Her Majesty, who was caught on camera seemingly ordering her grandson to stand up. William, looking incredibly bashful, obliged immediately.

The moment (pictured above) was perfect meme material, and the internet clearly got a kick out of seeing the future king of England being put in his place. Brandon McGinley, editor at Eternal Word Television Network Publishing, shared a GIF of the hilarious interaction on Twitter, and it quickly went viral. "Come for the queen scolding William, stay for the George facepalm," McGinley captioned the tweet. It turned out that George wasn't doing a facepalm, he was simply shielding his eyes from the celebratory planes passing overhead. The queen's furious face can't be explained away, however — she definitely lost her temper on this occasion.

Prince Harry was 'furious' after the Afghanistan leak

Prince Harry took two tours of Afghanistan during his decade in the British Army. The prince reportedly felt more like a "normal" person when he was away with the armed forces, which is why he lost his temper big time when one of his deployments had to be cut short. The press somehow discovered Harry's location, putting the royal and the rest of his regiment at too high a risk. Harry was hauled home, and according to one royal expert, he was not pleased.

"He was absolutely furious," Duncan Larcombe claimed when he appeared as a guest on the Yahoo! web series "The Royal Box" (via Express). "Where did he go? Straight to Botswana with [his then-girlfriend] Chelsy Davy. ... Almost like — it's where he goes when there's steam coming out of his ears to calm down."

Harry also spent time in Botswana after his mother's sudden passing, and it remains a haven for him to this day. In fact, sources claim he and Meghan Markle are planning to move to the African nation in the near future to escape the British press. "Harry loves the idea of Archie spending a lot of his childhood in the country as it has been such a healing and beautiful place for him," an insider told the Mirror.

Kate Middleton was 'mortified' and 'angry' after a prank

Before Kate Middleton was the Duchess of Cambridge, she was just a regular person. Well, perhaps not entirely regular — her parents are wealthy business owners who live in an $8.5 million mansion, after all. Even so, Middleton still had to work her own jobs growing up, and she reportedly lost her temper for a moment back when she was employed at the Ocean Village Marina in Southampton. For her book "Kate: The Future Queen," royal scholar and all-round Windsor expert Katie Nicholl interviewed some of Middleton's former colleagues, who happily revealed details of a workplace prank that left the future duchess angry and embarrassed.

Middleton reportedly had a number of different duties at the Ocean Village Marina. She used to tend to the vessels when they returned to dock, putting sails away and scrubbing the decks, and she would sometimes give safety demonstrations to customers. One day, her mischievous colleagues decided to rig the life jacket that she used for her demonstration, and Middleton was left red-faced. "When she pulled the toggle, the thing inflated and a load of condoms fell out," Cal Tomlinson, the captain of the vessel at the time, recalled. "She was mortified and very embarrassed. She took it more seriously than the others might have, but she wasn't thrown off her stride. She was angry at first, but she settled down, and I don't remember her ever getting her own back." One doesn't retaliate, it appears.

Prince Harry appeared to scold Meghan Markle

By now you've probably seen that uncomfortable clip of Harry seemingly scolding his wife during the 2019 Trooping the Colour ceremony, or at least some version of it. An edited version of the incident (slowed down and manipulated to make the telling off appear a lot worse) was circulated online. That clip went viral, and that's what turned this into such a huge story. There's no doubt that certain sections of the press (and the general public, it would seem) are out to get Harry and Meghan Markle, but there's also no denying the fact that the prince gave his American bride a scolding on the Buckingham Palace balcony that day, no matter how brief.

Lip reading experts agree that a stern-faced Harry did in fact tell Markle to "turn around" and face the public, presumably because "God Save the Queen" was about to start playing and tradition dictates that the royals face their well-wishers during the national anthem. According to the Daily Mail's lip reader, the prince first said: "Yes, that's right," curtly answering a question from his wife. When Markle turned to face Harry a second time, that's when he said: "Turn around." Was this harsh, or was Harry simply giving his wife a heads up? Opinion is split, but one thing's for sure — Harry wasn't his happy chappy self that day.

Kate Middleton played an awkward game with Prince William's ex

Royal expert Katie Nicholl's "The Making of a Royal Romance" is a fascinating read for royal fanatics, especially those with a particular interest in how Prince William and Kate Middleton became acquainted while students at the University of St Andrews. The book charts Middleton's rise to royalty, from her early days in the friend zone to the jaw dropping see-through dress that first caught William's eye. Nicholl covers plenty of juicy tidbits from the royal couple's past, including details of an incredibly cringe-inducing party game involving William, Kate, and the prince's ex girlfriend, Carly Massy-Birch.

William dated Carly when he and Kate were still just friends. He reportedly remained on good terms with his former partner after they split, and everything was apparently amicable when he later hooked up with Kate — until all three of them ended up at the same dinner party one night. According to one attendee, somebody suggested that everyone play a game of "Never Have I Ever," and that's when the awkwardness began. "When it was Carly's turn to play she announced, 'I've never dated two people in this room,' knowing full well that William was the only one who had because Kate was sitting next to him," an insider dished to Nicholl. The prince then allegedly gave his ex a "thunderous look," and whispered, "I can't believe you just said that" to her "under his breath."

When the queen told Italy's prime minister to keep it down

Controversial media mogul and politician Silvio Berlusconi (back row, center) is well known for being outspoken and brash, qualities that the queen clearly did not approve of. When he attended the G20 summit in 2009 (above), the Italian Prime Minister appeared to get under Her Majesty's skin with his typical behavior. At one stage, all the leaders gathered at Buckingham Palace for a photograph with the queen, and while the vast majority of attendees showed the due amount of respect during the photo call, Berlusconi ... didn't — after the photo, he shouted "Mr. Obama!" across the room. Needless to say, the queen did not appreciate his volume. 

"What is it?" the exasperated monarch said, throwing her arms in the air. "Why does he have to shout? Why?" Most of the leaders laughed awkwardly at the queen's outburst, trying to keep the atmosphere jovial. Her Majesty didn't seem to be smiling, however. In fact, according to The Telegraph, the queen wasn't in the mood for smiles at all that day — she reportedly snapped at the photographer taking the picture when they asked her to smile more. "Is this supposed to be a happy event?" she said.

The clip of Berlusconi getting scolded by the queen quickly went viral, and became something of an embarrassment for his country. "Oh my goodness, where are his manners?" one Italian user commented. "The queen should lock him in the Tower."

Kate Middleton scolded Prince George at her sister's wedding

He might be third in line to the British throne, but Prince George isn't above a good telling off when he's acting out, even if it's in public. The little royal was left in floods of tears at the wedding of Pippa Middleton and James Matthews, throwing what The Sun described as a "right royal tantrum." Footage obtained by the British tabloid seems to show the pageboy standing on the train of his aunt's bespoke Giles Deacon wedding dress. The white lace number is said to have cost over $50,000, so it's no wonder Kate Middleton lost her temper when she saw her son trampling all over it. The Duchess of Cambridge was spotted having some stern words with George as they left the church to head to the reception, momentarily reducing him to tears.

George isn't a special case, however — his little sister has had a fair few tantrums, too. Princess Charlotte threatened to make a scene at Hamburg airport after William and Kate's visit to Poland and Germany in 2017, but her mom quickly stepped in and gave her "the look." Said look appeared to work a treat, as torrents of tears were avoided and the Cambridge clan were boarded with no issues. Middleton seems to know exactly when to switch from duchess duties to mom mode. She's "an amazing mother and a fantastic wife," William said on an episode of "Talk Vietnam" (via ABC News).

Prince Philip threatened to boot the queen out of a car

According to Prince Philip's friend Gyles Brandreth, the late duke loved to burn rubber. Per Express, Brandreth once said on BBC's Today, "I have been in a car with him and I have to say he drives really well." Brandreth went on to share one particular instance where Prince Philip's driving style was apparently too much for his other half. "The queen was sort of yelping and drawing in her breath and flinching as he drove so fast," Brandreth said. "And Prince Philip turned to her and said, 'Look, if you do that once more I will put you out of the car.'" Evidently, Lord Mountbatten, who was in the car too, was stunned when Queen Elizabeth didn't push back against Prince Philip's remark. When Mountbatten asked the queen about her reaction, she is said to have replied, "Oh you heard what he said and he meant it." 

Royals author Ingrid Seward shared a similar account of Elizabeth and Philip's dynamic behind the wheel. "He always drove really fast, and she hated it, and he would say, 'If you don't like it, you can get out,'" Seward told People

In 2019, Philip was involved in a car accident, flipping his car on its side. He blamed the sun in his eyes for the incident. He came out unharmed and the passengers in the other car were treated for minor injuries.

Prince Edward stormed out of a press conference

In 1987, Prince Edward was in charge of producing a TV show called "It's a Royal Knockout." In the documentary "Edward & Sophie: The Reluctant Royals?" (via Express) Richard Kay described the event as "toe-curling," while Rebecca English declared, "Seeing members of the royal family taking part in silly games, while it's all very fun and for a good cause, it's not something they should be doing."

As Prince Edward had been in charge of the organization, he was the first to approach the journalists during a press conference after the show. According to Express, when he asked what everyone had thought of the show, he was only met with silence and members of the press laughing nervously. It was then that the young prince lost his temper. "Well thanks for sounding so bloody enthusiastic," he said, reported by UPI. "One day you lot are going to have to learn some manners."

His co-organizer, Mike Smith, tried to bring calm into the room by addressing the press and asking them to not take Prince Edward's comments as insulting. "The guy has just staged probably the event of the year and all he was doing was looking for someone to tell him that."

Prince Edward told the press to 'shut up'

"Edward has moulded into a quiet and efficient figure who does not seek attention or acquire headlines," a source close to the royal family once told Express. "He and Sophie are liked for being dutiful and uncomplaining." Even so, the prince has had his issues in the public eye, and has even lost his temper in front of the press.

Before Prince Edward and Sophie got married, there was a lot of speculation about their relationship timeline. The two were together for four years before finally tying the knot. According to Express, when a reporter asked Prince Edward about a possible wedding during an interview, the royal replied, "If you shut up, mind your own business, and let me do it when I want, it's much more likely to happen. The more people second-guess, the less likely it is. I just won't do it."

Suffice to say, Edward isn't exactly a fan of being in the spotlight. "There is little escape for anyone in the public eye. And for the Royal Family, nothing at all. ... We are forever being told we have a rigid class structure," he once said, per Express.

Prince William called a photographer 'disgusting'

On a nice day in January 2021, Prince William and Kate Middleton decided to go out on a family bike ride around Amer Hall. However, it all went to pot when a man with a camera showed up unannounced. Though he didn't totally lose his temper, King Charles' eldest got rather heated when he realized the photographer was in the vicinity. "You're outrageous, you're disgusting," William can be heard saying to the photog in a video shared by Sky News Australia. The video went viral a year and a half after it was taken. 

In a longer version of the video, the photographer can be heard claiming that he didn't realize who they were until he got up close, whereas Kate Middleton maintained she'd spotted him lurking near their property. "You are stalking around here, looking for us and our children," William told the photog as he phoned his security. "I went for a quiet bike ride with my children on a Saturday."

The royal family has a long, dark history with paparazzi, and understandably, Prince William prioritizes his family's safety and privacy. A spokesperson told Reuters, "They are obviously concerned over a period of time established a pattern of behaviour that we think amounts to harassment of Prince George and of his nanny ... It's more the fundamental weirdness of two grown men following a 14-month-old baby around London that we're concerned about."

King Charles was bothered by a leaking pen

In September 2022, ABC News shared a video of King Charles signing a document in Northern Ireland's Hillsborough Castle. Towards the end of the video, King Charles appears to be upset over a leaking pen. "I can't bear this bloody thing! Every stinking time," he says as he gives the pen to Camilla Parker Bowles and begins wiping his fingers with his handkerchief. The queen consort immediately notices the ink leaking all over her own fingers. "Oh look, it's going everywhere," she calmly states before someone hands her a less faulty writing instrument. 

A few weeks later, Rebecca English of the Daily Mail tweeted out a video of King Charles signing a guest book and handing the pen to Camilla. "These things are so temperamental," the royal quipped. Hey, if you can't laugh about pen ink giving you a bit of trouble in front of the entire world, what can you laugh about?

King Charles made rude comments about a reporter

Leaky pens aren't the only ones that ruffle King Charles' feathers. While spending some time with his sons at the Klosters ski resort in the Swiss Alps in 2005, Charles took some time to chat with some reporters. It was all good and well until Nicholas Witchell of the BBC asked a question. 

As the Evening Standard recounted, after Prince William told the reporters that he was looking forward to his father's upcoming wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles, Witchell asked Charles if he and his sons were excited about the nuptials. Evidently, this repeat question annoyed the future king, and so he replied, "It's a very nice thought, so glad you've heard of it." Moments later, Prince Harry can be heard laughing as Charles says, "Bloody people. I can't bear that man. He's so awful. He really is." When asked about the interaction, Witchell told the Evening Standard that he was caught off guard. 

"Who is to say what goes on in the royal mind but he didn't like the question about the wedding. I don't know why he reacted as he did," Witchell said. "It was one of those occasions that should have been positive and wasn't."