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The 18 Craziest Conspiracy Theories About the Royal Family

Updated: Jan. 25, 2023

From half-reptile rulers to secret love children, the stories are juicier than anything on TV.

Members of Britain's Royal family from left, Camilla, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Princess Eugenie, Queen Elizabeth II, background Tim Laurence, Princess Beatrice, Prince Philip, Kate, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte, Prince George and Prince William watch a fly past as they appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, after attending the annual Trooping the Colour Ceremony in London

The royal family members are shape-shifting aliens

Former BBC presenter David Icke has revealed himself as a conspiracy theorist, and one of his kookiest theories has to do with the royal family. Icke and others claim the royal family of the United Kingdom and all other countries are part of the Illuminati, and all of them earned their power because their human ancestor mated with reptilian aliens. He claims the theory explains why royal families are obsessed with keeping their bloodlines “clean” with other royals, and insists he’s talked to people who have seen people in power change into reptiles and back again.

The Prince and Princess of Wales, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, leave St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London with their new baby son on . Princess Diana carries new baby, Prince Harry who was born on Sept. 15

Charles and Diana had a secret daughter

Diana admitted she had to visit a gynecologist before marrying Prince Charles to make sure she could bear children, but some people took that fact and ran. The Globe ran an article in 2014 claiming that during the examination, the doctor took some of Diana’s eggs and used in vitro fertilization to combine it with Charles’ sperm. Without permission, one doctor snuck one of the embryos for his wife to carry, and the “royal baby Sarah” was born just after the royal wedding in 1981—even before William—and the royal family kept it hush-hush. Strangely close similarities between Diana and her supposed daughter (right down to eyeliner color), not to mention Sarah’s conspicuous silence, has led people to believe the photos of her are computer-generated images the Globe made based on photos of the late princess. It seems the publication based the story on a novel by Nancy Ryan, which had a similar storyline about the couple’s fictional long-lost daughter, Olivia. This is what really happened between Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

Princess Diana
STEVE WOOD/Shutterstock

The royal family killed Princess Diana

Leading up to her death, Princess Diana did seem to have some eerie premonitions. After she and Charles divorced and before he remarried, Diana wrote a letter that she felt in danger because someone was “planning ‘an accident’ in my car, brake failure and serious head injury in order to make the path clear for Charles to marry.” Despite Diana’s suspicions, though, evidence has consistently pointed to her driver’s drinking as the cause of the accident. Here are some real shocking feuds between royal families.

Princess Diana

Princess Diana was pregnant with another baby

Clearing Charles for remarriage isn’t the only motivation conspiracy theorists claim for the royal family wanting to off Diana. Egyptian businessman Mohamed al-Fayed, father of Diana’s boyfriend, spread rumors that Diana was pregnant with his son’s child and that Prince Philip couldn’t stand the fact that his grandson would have an Egyptian Muslim as a stepfather. But post-mortem examinations didn’t find any evidence that Diana was pregnant. Learn about the secrets no one knew about Princess Diana until after her death.

Prince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge with baby daughter Princess Charlotte of Cambridge
Rupert Hartley/Shutterstock

Kate Middleton used a surrogate

After Kate Middleton gave birth to Charlotte, rumors flew that she’d never actually carried the baby. Some claimed her belly didn’t seem big enough for a post-baby bump, while others said, “there is no special maternal look in her eyes.” Neither signs seem at all convincing. Don’t miss these other common myths about the royal family.

Elizabeth I (1533-1603) queen of England and Ireland from 1558. Hampden portrait. Full length portrait of the young queen. Oil on canvas mid to late 1660s.
Universal History Archive/Shutterstock

Queen Elizabeth I was a man

In the 16th century, King Henry VIII sent his young daughter, Elizabeth Tudor, to a small village to avoid the plague. Supposedly, she died while there, and her governess was terrified to tell the king (known for killing off his wives) that they’d failed to keep his daughter safe. Instead of fessing up, they tried to find a girl her age to take his place, but the small village didn’t have anyone suitable. Instead, they asked a farm boy named Neville to be the decoy. The plan worked, and the child swap explains why the Virgin Queen never married, according to conspiracy theorists. Sounds outlandish, but the theory had one famous supporter: Dracula author Bram Stoker, who popularized the idea in his “nonfiction” book Famous Imposters. Get the facts behind 18 more history lessons your teacher lied about.

Prince Harry

Prince Harry isn’t Prince Charles’s son

What royal family is complete without rumors of illegitimate children? For years, people have suspected that Prince Harry is actually the son of James Hewitt, who had an affair with Princess Diana. Though some say the affair didn’t start until after Harry was born, playwright Jon Conway claims Hewitt admitted it started 18 months before his birth. Conway even wrote a play about the fatherhood question that premiered in 2014. For some real scandals, check out the 11 biggest lies that made history.

Princess Margaret October 1956. Tour Of Africa - Kenya Princess Mararet Waves Goodbye As She Leaves Entebbe Uganda By Air Last Night At The End Of Her East African Tour. The Queen And Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Will Drive To London Airport At 4 P.m. Today To Welcome Her Home. Princess Margaret Begins A New Round Of Public Engagements Next Weeks. On November 6 She Accompanies The Queen To The Opening Of Parliament. Lp3d Princess Margaret 1956 Tour Of Africa - Kenya October 1956 ...royalty
Herbert Mason/Shutterstock

Princess Margaret had a love child

A man named Robert Brown spent £100,000 trying to prove he was the child of Princess Margaret (Queen Elizabeth II’s late sister) and her former flame Group Captain Peter Townsend. Brown claimed Margaret had given birth to him in January 1955 but kept the pregnancy a secret using body doubles, then sent the baby to Kenya to be raised by high-society parents. As an adult, he even won a lawsuit allowing him to see his supposed mom’s will, but it didn’t reveal the adoption like he’d hoped. Here’s how much the British Royal Family is worth.

Prince Charles
MICK TSIKAS/Shutterstock

Prince Charles is a vampire

Prince Charles really is related to Vlad the Impaler, the 15th-century ruler who might have inspired the story of Dracula and even has a house in Transylvania. Of course, despite the hoax claiming headlines that stated, Charles is Dracula’s heir, the vampire never really existed. You’ll be shocked by these 12 conspiracy theories that turned out to be true.

Prince Charles Camilla Duchess of Cornwall
Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

Prince Charles will never be King

He’s the least favorite royal, and rumors abound that he’ll never be King, but don’t count the Prince of Wales out of donning the crown when his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, passes on. According to Royal Household’s official website, successions are governed by Parliamentary acts (the latest from just 2013!), and one must be: Protestant; descended from Princess Sophia (Electress of Hanover and granddaughter of James I); in communion with the Church of England (and swear to preserve it and that of Scotland); eldest in line. Prince Charles meets all these requirements, and the royal website goes so far as to identify the next in line!

Prince Charles, during an evening reception at Villa Massena, Nice

Prince Charles will be denied the crown anyway

The rumors may be persistent, but Parliament won’t deny the throne to a “next-in-line” unless the heir is found guilty of “misgovernance.” There are no allegations against Prince Charles. He’s also a stickler for maintaining the best possible public image.

Prince Charles Camilla Duchess of Cornwall
Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

Duchess Camilla is Catholic

Camilla has been Prince Charles’s wife since 2005. Prior to that, she had been married to Andrew Parker Bowles, who was Catholic, and their children were raised as Catholics. She, however, is not Catholic, and her marriage to the Prince was made official in the Anglican church. But none of this even matters because the Succession to the Crown Act of 2013 overturned any previous law by which a next-in-line would be disqualified for having married a Roman Catholic. So, Prince Charles’s claim to the throne would stand regardless of Camilla’s religious affiliation. Here are some other things you didn’t know about Camilla.

Prince Charles and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall
Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

Duchess Camilla will never be Queen

The vast majority of Britain doesn’t want Camilla as their queen. The naysayers may have been relieved when Prince Charles announced on his website that Camilla would be known as “HRH The Princess Consort.” However: The announcement is gone from the Prince’s website, and commentator on the royals, Richard Fitzwilliams, told Express.co.uk that it is the Prince’s intention to make Camilla his Queen. While some continue to insist this will never happen, the final decision must come from Charles within one day of Queen Elizabeth II’s passing.

Anzac Day service at Westminster Abbey, London, UK - 25 Apr 2018
Eddie Mulholland For The Telegraph/Shutterstock

Meghan Markle is a political ploy

One theory making the rounds is that the marriage of Meghan Markle to Prince Harry is a political gambit that will allow the United Kingdom to reabsorb the United States. Because Prince Harry’s kids will be Americans as well as Brits, one could grow up to be president and king. “They want America back, and this is how they’ll do it,” according to a viral tweet reported on by TIME.

Queen Elizabeth II during the unveiling of a panel marking the walkway in Buckingham Palace gardens, London, in relation to the Commonwealth Walkway project.

The Queen is just a figurehead

Apologies to all the conspiracy theorists who insist that the British monarchy is powerless: The Queen (for starters) has a full set of powers, as well as rights and duties. For example, she can declare war. She can suspend or summon Parliament. She can override an act of Parliament. She can even overrule the election of a Prime Minister. Check out these other misconceptions about the British monarchy.

British royal couple visits France, Nice - 07 May 2018

Prince Charles is the son of a foreign con artist

You can blame Netflix for this one. In the series The Crown, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, is portrayed as a foreign outsider who weaseled his way inside the palace walls. However, Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth are not only distantly related to each other, but Prince Philip’s mother was even born at Windsor Castle.

Queen Elizabeth II smiles after she started the London Marathon from Windsor Castle

The Queen doesn’t pay taxes

It’s true that the Crown, itself, enjoys tax-exempt status, but the Queen must pay income taxes on her private income, as well as income from the Privy Purse—it refers to income that mostly comes from the Duchy of Lancaster.

Members of Britain's Royal family from left, Camilla, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Princess Eugenie, Queen Elizabeth II, background Tim Laurence, Princess Beatrice, Prince Philip, Kate, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte, Prince George and Prince William watch a fly past as they appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, after attending the annual Trooping the Colour Ceremony in London

The British Royal Family never worked a day in their lives

Actually, they’re pretty busy: The British royal family has duties that keep them very busy, such as attending thousands of engagements a year while leading charities, working in art galleries, and even making films. You probably know that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Kate) are college grads, but did you know the Queen is a trained mechanic? And Prince Charles is a filmmaker? And his sister, Princess Anne, attended 640 engagements in 2016 (more than any other royal) and also competed in the Olympics as an equestrian? Learn more about all the jobs the royal family has held throughout the years.