It seems like all royal family members are followed around by paparazzi and fans. From details of their lives at home to their outings to their outfits, it appears as though every aspect of royal life is examined, that a royal can’t sneeze in public without it being reported.
With that kind of media attention, it’s safe to say that most of us know that the high-profile royals do not live normal lives. Despite having children and being parents, Prince William and Kate Middleton have a jam-packed public schedule that takes them from event to charity organization to party — plus, Middleton gets to wear tiaras, not exactly something that screams everyday life. It seems as though all royals live in literal palaces, have public responsibilities, and are representatives of one of the United Kingdom’s longest-standing institutions.
But not all royals get the same attention, and perhaps surprisingly, not all are given the same perks. In fact, there are many members of the royal family — whether by birth or marriage — who hold normal jobs, who went to university, or who didn’t even know that they were royal at one point. Here’s everything you need to know about royal family members who live like normal people.
The queen’s oldest grandson lives a very normal life outside of the spotlight
Peter Phillips is Queen Elizabeth’s oldest grandson and reportedly lives a life that is "under the radar." As noted by Town & Country, Peter is the son of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips, and was born at St. Mary’s Hospital in November 1977. So why isn’t he more present in the royal family? Well, royal titles are passed down to children through the male line, and since Mark married into the royal family and didn’t have a title himself, Peter got to live a title-free life.
As noted by the BBC at the time of Peter’s birth, Anne and Mark "rejected an offer from the Queen of titles which would have enabled their children to be born into the peerage." Presumably, the parents knew that a title would make Peter less likely to live a normal life.
Peter has held a number of jobs and, as of 2012, owns his own sports management company. He got married in 2008, had two children, and then announced that he and his wife were separating in February of 2020. As he is not a "working royal," it’s safe to assume that we won’t see much of him in the public eye.
Prince Edward explored these career options in his attempt to live a normal life
Prince Charles is the queen’s child who gets the most public attention, so it’s easy to understand how his siblings have been able to slip under the radar. Prince Edward is one of them. At his birth, Edward was third in line to the throne (with his two brothers in front of him and his sister behind him), as noted by Town & Country. But as Charles and his children have had their own kids, Edward’s distance from the crown has grown, and, as such, he’s been able to live a pretty normal life.
Unlike all of his siblings, Edward has been able to maintain his first and only marriage to Sophie Rhys-Jones, and after a private wedding ceremony (not the grand affair that we know royal weddings to be), the couple had two children. Edward served in the marines and then spent a portion of his career in television production, and he has only recently returned to somewhat of a royal schedule in part due to his father’s retirement from public life. But considering that he is one of the queen’s children, Edward has been able to live a pretty average life.
Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice called their childhoods "regular"
When many people think about the royal kids of the ’90s, on first recollection, they usually think of Prince William and Prince Harry. But their royal cousins, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, lived a far less public life. In an interview with Vogue, Beatrice said that their lives growing up were "regular," despite their parents’ very public divorce and messy fallout.
But that sense of normalcy has carried on into their adult lives, and based on their interview with Vogue, it’s safe to say that the two princesses carry themselves with just as much grace as they do casualness. Beatrice even greeted the Vogue interviewers on a June morning with wet hair and no makeup on, wearing a tracksuit — a woman after our own hearts.
Like all sisters, Eugenie and Beatrice rely on each other, but have normal, petty sisterly fights like every pair. "One of the biggest fights we ever had was about a pair of Converse trainers," Beatrice said. "We have the same size feet and both of us had identical pairs. One pair got trashed and the other sister may have swapped them."
Princess Beatrice has a regular job like any other working millennial
There’s more to Princess Eugenie being normal that her having a "regular" childhood. The daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson traded tea parties for conference rooms and turned her education and passion into a career, much like her sister, Princess Eugenie.
As Beatrice is not a working royal, she forged a path and a career of her own — and found herself running the show. After studying history in school, the tech-obsessed royal worked hard and became the vice-president of partnerships and strategy for Afiniti, a tech company headquartered in the United States. As such, Beatrice spends half of her time living in New York, as noted by Vogue. Honestly, get it, sis. (Can we say that about a royal? We hope so because she’s killing the game).
Tech and cyber matters clearly are important to this royal family member because, in addition to her high-profile job, she partnered up with Be Cool, Be Nice, a campaign that brings awareness to cyberbullying. "We need to be supportive of our young people, given that our world is over-exposed," she told Vogue, and, given that Beatrice has been bullied herself, her alignment with such a cause makes a lot of sense.
Princess Eugenie turned her passion into a career
The saying goes that, if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. It seems like Princess Eugenie took that to heart, because she turned her passion into a career. As she is not a working royal, Eugenie doesn’t have the crazy public schedule that we associate with the royal family — as such, she holds a normal job just like everyone else.
As noted by Vogue, Eugenie studied art history, English literature, and politics in school and became passionate about art exhibitions. She grew her love of art into a career path and became the associate director of Hauser and Wirth, a contemporary art gallery. Beyond her dedication to her career, Eugenie went on to co-found the Anti-Slavery Collective and to partner with Project Zero, an initiative that focuses on the waste of single-use plastics.
"It’s been eye-opening. My whole house is anti-plastic now," she told Vogue. "Jack and I want our wedding to be like that as well." Eugenie has gotten some mean press coverage in the past, but we are big fans of the normal royal.
This royal family member focused on her athletic career and made a name for herself
When we think of royals, we think of fancy hats, tea parties, and tiaras. But Zara Phillips Tindall, one of the children of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips and a sister to Peter Phillips, focused her life (outside of the hardcore royals) on her career in athletics and became an actual Olympian. Love that for her.
As noted by The Guardian, Zara followed in her mother’s equestrian footsteps and started receiving recognition for her athletic career in the early 2000s. In 2006, she won the world championships with her horse, Toytown, and was chosen as the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year that December. Her career was lightly derailed after that, as her horse suffered injuries in both 2004 and 2008, but she persevered and appeared in the London Olympic games as a member of the British equestrian team in 2012 — talk about a home court advantage.
"It’s awesome to be given this opportunity," Zara said about the games. Regarding her competing with horse High Kingdom, she added, "I am really excited and can’t wait to kick on and get him there." Zara is married to Mike Tindall, a former England rugby player and captain.
The Duchess of York lives a very normal life and loves social media
Sarah Ferguson, the former wife of Prince Andrew and the Duchess of York, has a LinkedIn. Yes, you read that correctly. Of all the royals, both married into the family or designated royal by birth, Fergie is by far one of the most normal, and like a lot of moms, she loves social media.
As noted by Vanity Fair, Fergie spent a portion of her coronavirus quarantine filming herself reading children’s books in her home. She went as far as creating a YouTube channel, where she shares the reading videos, cooking tutorials, and arts and crafts ideas. If she had a Facebook, we’d imagine that it would be full of old pictures of her daughters and lots of "Share this online quiz!" posts, and we love it.
But back to LinkedIn. Like many working professionals who use the platform to make career connections, Fergie is on the site and has shared her profile on her social media accounts. As noted by the Daily Mail, Fergie’s LinkedIn headline lists her as a "Spokesperson, Author, Producer and Humanitarian" and has highlighted her TV appearances, books, and philanthropic work. Honestly, we love this look for her.
This royal set up her own company before marrying one of the queen’s children
There doesn’t seem to be a ton of public attention given to Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and there should be because she’s a boss. As noted by Town & Country, Sophie forged her own path as a professional woman before marrying Prince Edward — she worked in public relations and even formed her own company. She stepped down in 2001, but has continued to champion women in the workforce and is a vocal advocate for gender equality.
While she has given more time to her royal life and as a mom to her two children in recent years, it’s clear that Sophie’s normal past and her career made a tremendous impact on the work that she has been involved with. She started the Women in Business Committee and, in 2014, started the Women’s Network Forum. Clearly, she has been a fearless pursuer of gender balance.
"She really is down to earth, gives them incredibly good advice," Amanda Pullinger, CEO of 100 Women in Finance, said about Sophie. "She actually asks incredibly smart questions and it really does reflect the fact that she had a professional life before she became a royal."
Beyond having a career, the Countess of Wessex presents herself as "ordinary"
If you take one thing away from this article, it should be this: Sophie, Countess of Wessex, is the royal family’s secret weapon, in part because she is so normal and down to earth. As noted by Town & Country, Sophie champions a lot of causes as a royal, but does so in a way that makes her and her perspectives on important issues relatable and approachable.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, much of Sophie’s advocacy work moved to a virtual platform, and she enlisted none other than her teenage daughter to help film videos advocating for parents and caregivers. Sophie "is patron of more than 70 organizations and carries out approximately 240 engagements each year," so her at-home schedule has stayed pretty busy, but her no-fuss approach has prevailed.
As included by Town & Country, Sophie is known to drive herself to and from events, a big diversion from normal royal life, and brings the same no-frills attitude to her work. "She actually presents herself as an ordinary person," 100 Women in Finance CEO Amanda Pullinger said. "I think that is increasingly what the royal family needs to do."
Life is starting to get more normal for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
While we can’t say that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s life has always been normal, they’re on their way to living a more low-key life. After leaving their roles as senior members of the royal family, the couple and their son, Archie, relocated to California and are starting to live life under the radar. As noted by People, they were spotted during the 2020 Christmas season buying a tree and went pretty undetected. According to one of the workers at the tree farm, a little boy ran up to Harry and asked the prince if he worked there. Cue the tears because of how adorable this is.
The couple celebrated their first Christmas in California at home, and were probably joined by Markle’s mom, Doria Ragland, who lives in Los Angeles. As noted by People, they released their annual Christmas card that featured an illustration of the family in their backyard, accompanied by the dogs, of course.
"It’s Harry’s second Christmas away from England, and Meghan wants to make sure it’s special for everyone," a source told People. "They are creating their own traditions at their new home."
This royal didn’t even realize that her grandmother was the queen at first
Lady Louise Windsor was born to her parents, Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, as a tiny little premie in 2003, and is the youngest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth — but she didn’t know just how important her family members were to the British public until she started attending school.
As noted by Town & Country, Louise has largely stayed out of the public eye in order to be given as much of a normal life as possible. That normality may have gone a step too far because, in 2016, her mom revealed to the BBC (via Town & Country) that Louise didn’t realize that her grandmother was the Queen of England.
"Well, for Louise, actually, it was much more of a shock to the system," Sophie said. "It was only when she was coming home from school and saying, ‘Mummy, people keep on telling me that grandma is the queen.’ And I asked her, ‘Yes, how does that make you feel?’ And she said, ‘I don’t understand.’ … I don’t think she had grasped that perhaps there was only one Queen."
This married-in member of the royal family skipped school to start working
Kate Middleton is famously known as the commoner who married into the royal family, but she’s not the only one. Jack Brooksbank, Princess Eugenie’s husband, came from a pretty normal family and forged his own career path before marrying into the royals.
As noted by People, his parents, Nicola and George, sent their son to an English private school in his earlier years. Brooksbank then skipped the usual path of university and went straight into the hospitality industry, in which he has held a number of jobs, including a stint as a London nightclub manager, according to Town & Country.
So what does Brooksbank do now? He is none other than the U.K. ambassador for Casamigos tequila, owned by none other than George Clooney and Rande Gerber. We swear we’re not making this up. And his job has apparently made him a hit with the in-laws. "The good news is Jack also works as the European Manager for Casamigos Tequila, so I am perfect," Sarah Ferguson, Eugenie’s mom, once said (via Express). "He’ll just hand me the tequila and say, ‘Come on, mother-in-law, down it.’"
The title of "prince" was not given to this little royal so he could live a normal life
Queen Elizabeth has a grandchild who was born in 1977 and a grandchild who was born in 2007 — we were surprised too. But the littlest grandson of the queen, James, Viscount Severn, is the second child of Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and lives a pretty normal life outside of the public eye.
As noted by Town & Country, Edward and Sophie chose to give their children "courtesy titles of the children of an earl, rather than Prince or Princess." So unlike Prince Charles’ children, Prince William and Prince Harry, or even William’s own children — Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis — Edward’s children don’t have the life-altering royal title attached to them. As noted by the BBC, "It is thought this decision was made to avoid some of the burdens of royal titles." We get it.
James was described as "very cute and very cuddly" by his father shortly after he was born (via BBC News), and continues to be just the cutest little bug. He lives with his parents and older sister in Surrey.
This royal baby won’t be given a title, ensuring a more normal childhood
As of publication, this little royal hasn’t been born, but is set to live a normal life. As noted by Insider, Princess Eugenie and her husband, Jack Brooksbank, announced in September 2020 that they are expecting their first child. For a number of reasons, the little one is destined to live the life of an everyday kid. Royal titles are passed through the male line and Brooksbank does not have a title, so the baby wouldn’t have the designation of prince or princess. Even so, Eugenie reportedly does not want her little one to have a title even if it is offered.
"Even if the Queen offered them a title as a gift, it’s not Eugenie or Jack’s desire for their child to have a title," a close friend of the couple told Vanity Fair. "Eugenie knows that a title can be a curse as well as a blessing and she and Jack want their child to live an ordinary life and eventually work to earn a living. Titles really don’t matter to Jack and Eugenie, they just want a happy healthy child." We love to see it.