Hysterical Royal Family Wardrobe Malfunctions

The United States split from Mother England more than 200 years ago (for more information, consult your local library, or Hamilton), and while we Americans enjoy certain pleasures not afforded to English subjects at the time — chiefly less hurdles to land ownership and taxation with representation — there's one thing that we as a culture never quite got over: the lack of a royal family to watch, mock, adore, and obsess over. 

Keeping up with the Windsors was the original Keeping up with the Kardashians, and even though a massive culture of celebrity-watching sprung up in its place over the last few decades, we Americans still can't get enough of the royal family: Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Prince William, Princess Diana, all of them. We stay up late to watch their weddings and also, we delight, emphasize, and gawk when they act like red carpet celebrities ... or embarrass themselves in public with an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction. This story is about the latter. You're welcome.

Camilla Parker bowled-over

The former Camilla Parker-Bowles, now officially known as the Duchess of Cornwall, is a somewhat controversial, late-breaking entry to the royal family, having married Prince Charles in 2005 after a long relationship that began when he was still married to Princess Diana. The world has slowly warmed to the future king's true love, but perhaps she unofficially became a true royal not when she married into the Windsors, but when she experienced her very own embarrassing wardrobe malfunction. 

In July 2015, she arrived at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Norfolk, near a royal family residence at Sandringham, to attend the christening of Princess Charlotte, her husband's granddaughter. She wore a tasteful pale blue ensemble (with a matching hat, of course.) On the way to meet the Archbishop of Canterbury at the door, a random gust of wind came out of nowhere and aggressively threw up the skirt portion of the her dress. She adeptly kept things less embarrassing then they could have been by holding the dress down with her handbag, even laughing off the near faux pas.

Prince Harry's fascist fashion choice

Usually a "wardrobe malfunction" is defined by circumstances outside of one's control coming together to expose a body part one doesn't want exposed — gravity, wind, a weak stitch on a spaghetti strap. But a "wardrobe malfunction" can also be used to describe "an extremely poor decision regarding the clothes one chooses to wear in public." 

Back in 2005, years before he settled into a life as a sedate young blue blood and husband to Meghan Markle, Prince Harry did dumb stuff, like wear a Nazi uniform to a "fancy dress" party, which is what the British call a costume party. Surreptitious photos were published in the British tabloid The Sun of Harry wearing a shirt with an eagle insignia and a swastika armband — you know, famous symbols of the Nazis, the group synonymous with evil and the U.K.'s nemesis in World War II. (Harry's handlers were quick to apologize.)

Spanx a lot, Princess Beatrice

The royal family is quite large, with all of the various nieces, nephews, and cousins of Queen Elizabeth II hyper-aware of just how many people would have to die for them to become the monarch of the British Empire. Beyond the household names such as Prince Charles and Prince William, there are many semi-obscure royals, such as Princess Beatrice of York. Born in 1988, she's the eldest daughter of Prince Andrew (Queen Elizabeth's son,) and seventh in line to the throne. She's young (she turns 30 in 2018) and social, so she gets a fair amount of tabloid attention in the U.K., which was quite unfortunate for her that time she wore an ill-fated sort-of-sheer dress to a big London party. 

In June 2017, Princess Beatrice wore a breezy black, blue, and mesh dress to a V&A Museum summer shindig. Those sheer and mesh panels rarely stay where they're supposed to, what with the motion of walking and all. Indeed, that's just what happened to Beatrice, who posed for photographers with her under-dress shapewear suddenly and accidentally in plain sight.

Hats off to the Queen of England

In 2011, Queen Elizabeth II, dressed in a wine-colored Stewart Parvin coat with a matching hat by Rachel Trevor-Morgan to visit her grandson, Prince William, at a Royal Air Force search and rescue facility where he was doing his duty. As she de-boarded an executive jet, she was greeted not by a receiving line of prostrating subjects, but by high winds measuring around 50 miles per hour, which is quite rude of Mother Nature considering that she is the queen of England. 

As station commander Group Captain Bruce Hedley looked on, ready to give Her Majesty a tour, the high winds nearly captured the queen's fancy hat. Elizabeth awkwardly clung to it as she tried to get out of the plane, maintain decorum, and not fall over. Goodness gracious! 

Then Prince William finally arrived and quipped, "I was worried your hat would blow off!" (Yeah, well, a little too late there, Wills.)

Kate Middleton accidentally moons the world

Kate Middleton, aka the Duchess of Cambridge, has charmed the English-speaking world in a way no member of the royal family has since her husband's mother, Princess Diana, did back in the 1980s. It's probably because Middleton was born a commoner and so we relate to her more than we do a cradle-to-grave royal. It also doesn't hurt that she's incredibly likeable, photogenic, and stylish. However, winning, attractive, well-dressed people — particularly ones at the top of the social strata — tend to get photographed a lot, which means any and all clothing mishaps they experience will get captured on film and instantly be spread around the world. 

In 2014, such a thing happened to Middleton. Along with her husband, Prince William, she toured Australia and met with victims of the devastating Blue Mountain bush fires of late 2013. On the way to that appointment, Middleton emerged from a helicopter, and all that rapidly moving air went right up under the skirt portion of her blue and white Diane von Furstenberg dress. These natural elements quickly exposed her highness's royal bottom — which happened to be free of underpants.

In an interesting twist, the photographer who snapped the embarrassing photo of Middleton's backside sold it to a German publication, but then decided to donate the money to fire relief organization.

Are wardrobe malfunctions considered 'Fergalicious?'

Sarah Ferguson is no longer technically a member of the royal family, having divorced Prince Andrew in 1996, but she was a tabloid fixture for so long, and she's still very much a public figure (and mother of people in line for the throne,) so it's hard for us to let her go. She's an "honorary" royal, which means her embarrassing wardrobe mishaps get reported with just as much zeal and breathlessness as those of somebody in line for the crown. 

While on holiday (British for "vacation") in September 2017 in Rome, Ferguson was on her way to the star-studded Celebrity Fight Night, a charity event to raise money for the Andrea Bocelli Foundation and the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center. She wore a simple black dress with some opaque sleeves ... but those tricky peek-a-boo-sections weren't what landed her in this particular article. It would seem the bottom part of her dress got caught in a breeze and lifted her dress, exposing some tight and high-cut black pants (British for "underwear") beneath.

The (almost) fall of Queen Elizabeth II

If a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound? And if a wardrobe malfunction occurs without anyone noticing it and spreading the news around the world, did a wardrobe malfunction really occur? As far as the latter goes, yes, because if the person whose clothes betrayed them shares the news later — even decades later — we hereby deem it a viable wardrobe malfunction. 

In a 2018 BBC interview commemorating her 65 years on the English throne, Queen Elizabeth II discussed the finer points of her coronation. She revealed details never before shared, including how she almost made the historical occasion in 1953 even more historic by falling flat on her face. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, literally. Queen Elizabeth said she had a lot of difficulty walking the aisle at St. Paul's Cathedral while wearing a 3-pound, bejeweled crown. 

"You can't look down to read the speech," she told the BBC. "Because if you did, your neck would break" and the crown "would fall off." Her ornate gown wasn't much help. "I remember one moment when I was going against the pile of the carpet and I couldn't move at all."

That Duchess of Cambridge is such a heel

A wardrobe malfunction doesn't always involve clothes, per say, nor does it always expose the fleshiest or most scandalous of body parts. Shoes, those shapely and stylish foot-coverings with which most of us have a tortured, love-hate relationship, can fail us, too, and they can fail even a duchess and turn a regular, run-of-the-mill photo opportunity into a hilarious moment straight out of a movie where Sandra Bullock plays a clumsy undercover investigator or something. 

In February 2018, a pregnant Kate Middleton visited Action on Addiction, a drug treatment center in Essex. She approached the receiving line of nervous hosts and well-wishers, who all dutifully stood just next to a metal grate. Middleton confidently strode up to greet them, only to have the pointy heel of her shoe lodge in the grate. Unlike a romantic comedy character, she somehow managed to avoid toppling or losing her balance, and gracefully freed herself from the offending drainage device.

A queen without a crown (almost)

If a bride has access to a tiara — particularly a priceless one made of diamonds — chances are she's going to choose that as her hair accessory. Princess Elizabeth — not quite yet the Queen — opted for a tiara when she wed the soon-to-be Prince Philip in 1947. She selected a royal family heirloom ("something borrowed") called the fringe tiara. Originally commissioned from the royal jeweler Garrard back in 1919 by Queen Mary, Elizabeth's grandmother, the Fringe Tiara was so named because its rows of spiky diamonds formed a "fringe" effect like what you'd find on a suede jacket, except way more expensive.

But the morning of the wedding, the princess's hairdresser was putting the veil on the tiara when...it snapped. (The tiara, not the hairdresser.) According to The Telegraph, Elizabeth's mother tried to get Elizabeth to wear another tiara, as down-the-aisle go-time was a mere two hours away, but Elizabeth had to wear the fringe. As luck would have it, an official jeweler was on call in case there was some kind of diamond emergency, and the jeweler whisked the tiara away (with the help of a police escort) to a Garrard workshop. The piece was ready to go just in the nick of time.

Smells like trouble

The wedding between Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer was the fairy tale wedding of the century. The nuptials between the heir to the throne and a young, photogenic, charming blue blood was watched by tens of millions around the globe and served as the de facto coming-out party for Diana, who would go on to be a pop culture icon and tireless humanitarian. But at the time of the July 1981 ceremony, Diana was just 19 and understandably nervous about her extremely public and important wedding. 

According to the Express, as Diana arrived at St. Paul's Cathedral in London, she decided to apply one last finishing touch — a spritz of her preferred perfume, Quelques Fleurs. Remember how we said she was nervous? Well, those nerves, along with a loose lid, led Diana to spill the whole bottle of perfume on her dress! 

According to Diana's makeup artist, Barbara Daly, in the book Diana: The Portrait (via Express), the two women tried in vain to clean up the unsightly stain on the front of the dress. Daly said she advised Diana to hold the dress on the stain, making it look like she didn't want to step on the gown. So that's what Diana did — except for those moments when she held her bouquet or her hand over the blemish.

That train was a pain

English designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel created Princess Diana's stunning, highly memorable wedding dress, which is perhaps most stunning and memorable because of its impossibly long train. However, a 25-foot train is as impractical as it is amazing. 

All that material had to go somewhere during Diana's transport to the wedding at St. Paul's Cathedral, so she and her bridesmaids had to just kind of stuff it into a carriage as best they could. The material was so delicate that along the relatively brief ride to the church, all 25 feet of that train became hopelessly wrinkled. As Diana arrived, and just before she walked down the aisle with the world watching, her bridesmaids worked quickly to try to press and shake the wrinkles out of the gown. Nothing worked. Diana walked down the aisle with a very vast and vastly wrinkled train.