Some people think being a royal wife is a fairytale, but the reality is much darker. After all, Princess Diana was once quoted in 1995 saying, “There were three of us in the marriage.” History has a way of repeating itself, and unhappy royal marriages are surprisingly common worldwide. Over the years, royal wives have often been held back by the decorative nature of their role. They were meant to stand by their husband’s side and look pretty, rather than have real opinions or happiness. From infidelity to humiliation in the public eye, here are all the ways that being a royal wife might not be a dream come true.
Royal wives should embody purity
The expectation of purity comes high on the list of qualities that a royal wife must have. Per history, royal marriages are about alliances and creating heirs rather than true love or attraction to one another. A more “pure” woman was thought to be less likely to cheat on the king and hence pollute the bloodline with somebody else’s child.
The pressure is on to produce heirs
As soon as a woman becomes a royal wife, she is expected to become an instant babymaker. When William got engaged to Kate, she also gave birth to Prince George. However, only some royal brides are so lucky. Princess Charlene, who married Prince Albert of Monaco in 2011, had many issues with getting pregnant, so much so that she issued a palace-wide ban on discussing having babies.
They have to give up careers
Throughout history, women have had to give up their careers for their husbands, and the same goes for royal women. When she married Prince Rainier of Monaco, Grace Kelly had to say goodbye to Hollywood. Queen Letizia of Spain was a renowned reporter but gave it all up to marry King Felipe. Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh, attempted to start her own personal PR firm but quit two years later due to an apparent conflict of interest between her role and her profession.
Protocol comes first
Rules are everything when you’re a royal wife. You must say and do everything properly. In Meghan and Harry’s Netflix documentary, Markle revealed her surprise when she learned about mandatory curtsying to the late queen. These rules also include when it’s appropriate to travel. In short, all independence and freedom over when and what you want to do must be relinquished.