13 Rules Queen Elizabeth II Has Broken During Her Reign

Her Majesty The Queen has let it be known there are times when she regards royal rules of protocol as "rubbish." Here are some notable times when she did things her way.

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Prince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge family Christmas card, Anmer Hall, Norfolk, UK - 14 Dec 2018
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She changed how her great-grandkids would be titled

In 2012, Queen Elizabeth II issued Letters Patent decreeing all of Prince William’s children would be styled as “HRH” and “Prince/Princess.” Prior to her decree, only Prince George, William’s eldest son, would have been entitled to be styled as “His Royal Highness, Prince [first name],” whereas the younger children, Charlotte and Louis, would have been called “Lady” and “Lord,” respectively.

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The wedding of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank, Windsor Castle, Berkshire, UK - 12 Oct 2018

She smoothed the way for “absolute primogeniture”

For more than 1,000 years, royal succession followed the law of “male primogeniture,” meaning the eldest male child of a monarch is the one who succeeds to the throne, regardless of the existence of an elder female sibling. For example, Queen Victoria’s successor was her second-born child, King Edward VII, rather than the arguably more deserving first-born child, Princess Victoria. The Queen might have had that in mind when she cooperated with Parliament on passing the 2013 Succession to the Crown Act, ending male primogeniture and thereby ensuring Princess Charlotte her place in line to the throne.

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The wedding of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank, Carriage Procession, Windsor, Berkshire, UK - 12 Oct 2018
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She cut the red tape on Princess Eugenie’s wedding

The 2013 Succession to the Crown Act also changed a long-standing law that held all descendants of King George II need the reigning sovereign’s consent to marry. With four children, eight grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren, not to mention all the distant descendants of King George II, and Prince Harry’s baby on the way, that’s a lot of seemingly unnecessary red tape for Queen Elizabeth. Thanks to the 2013 Act, only the first six in line to the throne now require the monarch’s consent. Princess Eugenie stands at seventh.

Find out everything you never knew about Princess Eugenie.

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Queen Elizabeth II visits Southwark Cathedral, London, Britain - 21 Nov 2013
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She helped pave the way for royals marrying Roman Catholics

Since 1701, a member of the royal family could not marry a member of the Roman Catholic Church without losing their place in the line of succession. This led to countless problems over the centuries, such as when King George IV’s marriage to Roman Catholic Maria Fitzherbert was invalidated (he also married her without the king’s consent). The 2013 Act changed that, allowing royal family members to marry Roman Catholics without losing their spot in the line of succession. That said, Roman Catholic royals still cannot ascend the throne.

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Historical Collection 84 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth Ii On 2 June 1953 in Westminster Abbey Showing the Duke of Edinburgh Paying Homage 1953

She brought the monarchy into the age of television

Sure, Queen Elizabeth II enjoys watching the telly now and then, but it was her determination to have her 1953 coronation televised that brought the monarchy into the age of television, despite that she was somewhat camera shy. Determined to go outside her immediate comfort zone by entering the living rooms of all her television-watching subjects, and in defiance of her advisors, Queen Elizabeth allowed cameras into Westminster Abbey, paving the way to a monarchy taking part in shaping its public image amid ever-evolving media.

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Princess Margaret''s Wedding Princes Margaret And Mr Antony Armstrong-jones (lord Snowdon) Were Married At Westminster Abbey. The Bride And Bridegroom On The Balcony At Buckingham Palace.
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She allowed her sister’s wedding to be televised

The 1960 wedding of Queen Elizabeth II’s younger sister Princess Margaret and her former husband, Antony Armstrong-Jones, marked a major milestone for royal weddings: it was the first royal wedding ever televised. The Westminster Abbey nuptials were viewed by over 300 million viewers around the world.

Check out these 15 facts you never knew about past royal weddings.

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She initiated the age of royal walkabouts

At the time Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne, the monarchy was still caught up in its centuries-long tradition of keeping the public at bay. Television was the Queen’s first frontier for making the monarchy accessible to its subjects. However, the overall effect merely turned her subjects into “voyeurs.” That changed forever in 1970 when the Queen engaged in the first royal walkabout—meeting and greeting her royal subjects personally.

Check out these 21 candid photos of the royal family, most only made possible because of the Queen’s receptivity to change.

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She allowed her son to marry a divorced woman

Prior to 2002, the Church of England, over which the Queen as reigning monarch is the Supreme Governor, forbade remarriage to a divorcee whose spouse was still living. In 2002, the Church of England began permitting divorcees to remarry even while their former spouses were still alive. This paved the way for Prince Charles to marry the love of his life, Camilla Parker Bowles, whose former spouse, Andrew Parker Bowles, was still alive.

Here’s why Charles didn’t just marry Camilla in the first place.

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Britain Royal Wedding, Windsor, United Kingdom - 19 May 2018
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She allowed Harry a church marriage to a divorcee

The thing about Prince Charles’s wedding to Camilla is that it wasn’t in a church, and the Queen didn’t even attend. According to USA Today, the Church felt it was “inadvisable” given the history behind Prince Charles and Camilla’s relationship to have a full-blown church wedding. But in a major protocol-breaking move, the Queen not only consented to Prince Harry marrying divorcee Meghan Markle, but the Church also permitted the couple to marry in a religious ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

This is Meghan Markle’s closest pal in the royal family.

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Christmas Day church service, Sandringham, Norfolk, UK - 25 Dec 2017
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She welcomed Meghan to the royal Christmas celebrations… before the royal wedding

Until 2017, it had never happened before. The Queen simply didn’t have non-family members around her at Christmas. Even the Kate Middleton was left off the list when she was still just engaged to Prince William. But guess which unmarried commoner was allowed to attend Christmas with the Queen? That would be Ms. Meghan Markle, who spent Christmas 2017 with the Queen and the royal family, despite that she’d just recently become engaged to Prince Harry.

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Queen Elizabeth Signs A Manchester United Football For The Mayalsian Branch Of The Manchester United Supporters Club In Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. 1998 . Rexmailpix.
Mike Forster/Daily Mail/Shutterstock

She gave her autograph

It’s a steadfast rule that the royal family does not give out autographs… or… is it? Apparently, the rule has an important purpose: to discourage would-be forgers. Exceptions to this rule exist, including when it comes time to sign an official guest-book or event-book. However, the Queen broke the rule back in 1998 when she was visiting Malaysia and broke down and signed a soccer ball for a kid during a walkabout.

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Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visit to Canada House, London, UK - 19 Jul 2017
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She allowed herself to be touched

When Her Majesty The Queen visited Canada House in London to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, Governor General David Johnston touched her arm as he was walking by. The reason? He wanted to make sure the Queen kept her footing on the carpet, which was a bit “slippy,” as he described it. And it was allowed. Whew.

Find out the eight British laws the Queen doesn’t have to follow.

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Barack Obama's First 100 Days in Office - 2009

The hug heard ’round the world

Queen Elizabeth II actually went so far as to return a light hug First Lady Michelle Obama in 2009. Obama wrote in her autobiography, Becoming, that she wasn’t aware of the protocol. The reason for the hug according to Obama? We were just “two tired ladies oppressed by our shoes.”

Read on to learn 13 “facts” about Queen Elizabeth that aren’t actually true!

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