When Prince Charles celebrated his 70th birthday earlier this week, the banquet at Buckingham Palace was a private affair, meaning only one photo from inside the party was released to the press.
To much great bemoaning on Twitter, there were no full-length photos of Meghan and Kate in their formal dresses; we had to settle for shots of the two Duchesses through car windows, as they made their way to Buckingham Palace.
The photos showed off the two women's up-dos and statement earrings, but they also begged the question, if they royals have access to a driver (which of course they do), why would Princes William and Harry choose to get behind the wheel in London traffic?
According to Duncan Larcombe, a biographer of Prince Harry who previously served as royal correspondent for The Sun, William, Harry, and Duchess Kate see driving as a way to add a little normalcy to their exceedingly unusual lives.
"If I had access 24 hours a day to chauffeurs-which they do, their royal protection officers drive them around in bullet-proof vehicles-I’d think that was heaven," he tells T&C.
"But for them, they’re funny. They try and be as normal as they can. For them, it’s quite nice to be able to drive themselves and to be independent."
But that said, those pictures of the fab four heading over to Charles's birthday party don't show the whole story. The royals aren't exactly out on the open road by themselves.
"They’ll still have their protection officers in tow." Larcombe says. "They would have had at least two vehicles driving with them and a protection officer in the vehicle with them, all armed."
And it isn't just the younger members of the royal family who use driving as a way to maintain a sense of independence. Even at 92, Queen Elizabeth is known to get behind the wheel on occasion.
"The Queen in her 90s is still driving. She’s been photographed driving a very old Landrover around her estate in Scotland in the summer," Larcombe said. "Again, it’s probably that sense of freedom. "
Prince Philip, too, has been seen driving as well in recent years, but when the royals are on official business, they do use a driver.
"The 70th birthday reception at Buckingham Palace was not an official occasion-it was a big family occasion, but it wasn’t what they class as an official royal job," Larcombe explains. So that's why Harry and William were able to drive themselves. Similarly, we saw Harry drive to the reception on his wedding day.
"When they're on official royal business, as far as I can remember-they are always driven to and from their appointments. But I suppose this is just them driving to their gran’s house to celebrate their dad’s birthday."
Indeed, just a casual gathering at a palace with royals from across Europe to celebration Pa's birthday. Puts a whole new perspective on that Thanksgiving holiday drive so many of us are about to undertake.
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