Those royal kids—so perfect, so well-dressed, so obedient.
Most of the time anyway.
There was a certain undeniable satisfaction to be had when we saw a fine demonstration of the fact that the Royals are human after all—a very public meltdown on the part of Mia Tindall, the Queen’s great-granddaughter and daughter of Zara Philips.
Mia was messing around with a polo mallet at a charity polo match at the weekend when her mum—mindful perhaps of the fact that mallets can cost several hundred dollars each—attempted to take the toy away.
Mia did what any self-respecting child would do. She freaked out.
Zara had to resort to physically restraining the wailing, kicking, mallet-deprived ball of fury by picking her up. Luckily Harry was on hand to calm the situation by distracting Mia with his funny uncle routine.
By strange co-incidence, just a week earlier another royal child had been told off by his elder and better.
This child really should have known better, however—it was Prince William.
Standing on the balcony for the RAF fly-past to celebrate the Queen’s official birthday, William crouched down next to his son Prince George, to do some picture perfect eye-level parenting.
While the rest of the world might have been impressed with this display of parental tenderness, the birthday girl wasn’t. The Queen tapped William on his shoulder and tersely muttered something which might have been, “Stand up!”
Looking abashed, William quickly did as he was told.
Prince George’s cute response? A face palm on himself.
Given the number of public appearances royal children have to make, it is perhaps amazing the don’t make a show of themselves more often. Their Olympian self-control slips only occasionally when the cameras are watching.
Savannah and Isla Phillips—daughters of ‘King Peter’ Philips, the Queen’s grandson—were unlucky enough to lose their cool at a Sandringham football match that was being photographed by the paparazzi in 2013. Savannah refused to wear a woolly hat her mum kept putting on her, while Isla had to be carried back to the car.
Prince George appears to be a remarkably well-behaved child in most circumstances. However, he did have an inconvenient meltdown outside his sister Charlotte’s christening at the church of St. Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk.
Kate and William had walked in stately fashion, pushing Charlotte in a vintage pram with William holding George’s hand when George, without warning, went ballistic.
On the whole, however, royal kids are paradigms of good behavior.
The adults—well, not so much.
Andrew is famous for his foot-stamping outbursts of petulance.
Recently he was said to have rammed a set of electric gates in Windsor Great Park rather than drive an extra mile home, and he also lost it when police jumped him in Buckingham Palace gardens fearing he was an intruder.
Prince Charles is jokingly known as the Prince of Wails by his staff for his temper.
The writer Catherine Mayer, who penned the most recent biography of Charles, quoted a close aide who referred to Charles’s temper saying, “The royal rage, I call it. ‘Here comes the royal rage.’”
Prince William has a serious temper on him. “Watching him play football is hilarious,” says a source. “Every other word is an f-word or c-word.”
Prince Philip, few will be surprised to hear, has a nasty side as well, but is reputedly more given to the withering silence than the explosive outburst of rage.
The writer Fiammetta Rocco recalled interviewing Prince Philip in his study at Buckingham Palace.
“One of the things that struck me most was his capacity for aggression, she wrote. “Sometimes he would become dismissive or angry. But he would also express his aggression in quite a silent and passive way.
“When I came to ask him his views on the ordination of women, a question he had approved, he remained completely silent and merely stared at me. Not knowing if he was considering an answer, or if perhaps he hadn’t heard, I repeated the question. Again, silence.”
Fergie often complains to friends that Philip ruled the family ‘with a rod of iron’.
The Queen herself rarely gets angry, but it can happen. Among the red flags that make her most irate are youthful members of the family not correctly observing tradition (hence her sharp words to William the other day.)
Zara Philips, for example, says that she always makes sure to curtsey to the Queen even when the meeting is informal.
The Queen once flew into a rage when her corgis were fed frozen, rather than fresh, food at Balmoral.
According to the writer Clive Aslet, referring to another occasion on which Her Majesty “let rip” says that, “the smile that she’d had on her face when she first came into the room kept reappearing as she desperately tried to regain control of herself.”
King George VI—the Queen’s father—was a fairly mild mannered soul, but there have been many an irascible British monarch.
He got so angry with his wife Sophia Dorothea for having an affair, that he imprisoned her in the Castle of Ahlden in Hanover for the last 30 years of her life, denying her access to her children or friends.
Now that’s really losing your rag.