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Here’s Why Two of the Queen’s Grandkids Aren’t Considered Royals

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As you’ve probably noticed at royal weddings and other major events, Queen Elizabeth has quite a large family. Without even taking into account her parents (King George VI and the Queen Mother) or her sister Princess Margaret, Elizabeth’s own children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren take up a lot of space on the family tree — and of course, those genealogy lines are only growing longer.

Let’s break it down starting with the queen’s four children: Prince Charles was born first, followed soon by his sister Princess Anne, then their younger brothers, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. We are all well aware of Charles’ sons, Prince William and Harry, and we recently celebrated the royal wedding of one of Andrew’s daughters, Princess Beatrice. Her younger sister Eugenie also just announced she’s expecting a new royal baby. As Charles’s youngest brother, Prince Edward’s children are known by the royal titles Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn. 

You might have noticed we skipped over Princess Anne’s children in that long list of grandkids. Although Anne retains the title of Princess Royal, neither of her children were given any title at the time of their birth. That’s because of an ancient law (which has now been revoked) that only allowed royal titles to be given to the children of male heirs. Though if we’re being fair to Queen Elizabeth, she did offer to give Anne’s first husband, Mark Phillips, an honorary title at the time of her wedding. She extended the same offer when Peter Phillips and Zara Phillips were born — but Anne always turned her down. It might sound strange to us for someone to refuse a lofty title, but Anne wanted her children to grow up feeling as normal as possible — or as “normal” as any kid can realistically be while the queen is still their grandma (and a doting one, judging by photographs of the family over the years).

That said, Peter and Zara seem perfectly content to do without being called prince and princess. Zara has actually talked about how grateful she is that her parents made the decision. According to People, she explained in 2015, “I’m very lucky that both my parents decided to not use the title and we grew up and did all the things that gave us the opportunity to do.”

Both Peter and Zara have their own children now, who often join Prince George and Princess Charlotte as members of royal wedding parties. Peter is a successful businessman while Zara made a name for herself as an accomplished equestrian (she even earned a silver medal during the 2012 London Olympics for her skills).

Living as normal a life as possible was also famously important for Princess Diana and her princely sons, something we’re sure the sisters-in-law bonded over.

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