The Ridiculous Foibles of Five Modern-Day Monarchies
We’re accustomed to the royals of history turning every flight of fancy into a fully-fledged Gulfstream, from becoming porn kingpins to revolutionizing pants. On the flip side, we mostly want today’s royals to smile pretty, wear the jewelry and otherwise shut up. The thing is, absolute power still corrupts absolutely. It’s just a little less “human rights violation” (for the most part) and more “using their connections to get on their favorite TV show.”
King Charles Loves Alternative Medicine
This isn’t going to be “kings” of minuscule islands with niche cartoon fetishes. This is the King of England, who, like most white dudes who think they’re smarter than everyone else, has a huge boner for alternative medicine. He created his own foundation in 1993 to promote unconventional therapies and lobby the government to relax regulations concerning them and include them in the NHS, which is a little like the president deciding the best method for mail delivery is unicycle and nicely asking the USPS to add them to their fleets.
We’re not talking just the harmless-to-beneficial stuff like acupuncture, either — the King has promoted Gerson therapy, which is illegal in the U.S. You know, the country where Walmart gives you a free AR-15 with every case of Sudafed. His organic food company (which is a whole other thing) even produced its very own royal-approved “Detox Tincture,” a combination of artichoke and dandelion extracts that even “Britain’s top complementary and alternative medicine expert” called “outright quackery.” Things are truly bleak when the the biggest “extracts are good” guy disses your extracts.
Oh, by the way, the King’s foundation closed in 2010 due to fraud. There’s that famous British irony.
A Norwegian Princess Believes She’s Clairvoyant
Norwegian Princess Märtha Louise is another alternative medicine enthusiast, to the point of stepping back from her royal duties in 2022 in favor of focusing on the hazily defined healing business she runs with her fiance, a “Hollywood spiritual guru” who believes cancer is caused by bad attitudes and sells “spirit optimizing” medallions that he claims cure COVID. If King Charles is Goop, this guy is Dr. Oz. Märtha Louise already gave up her royal titles 20 years earlier so she could sell her services as a clairvoyant, claiming to communicate with animals and angels but clarifying that she does not talk to the dead. That would just be silly.
This isn’t the first time the royal family of Norway has made international headlines for being silly little guys. In 2017, Märtha Louise’s nephew, 11-year-old Prince Sverre Magnus, went viral for dabbing on the palace balcony during an official celebration, and his father, Crown Prince Haakon, previously stirred up controversy with his choice of wife, a former “fixture” of the Oslo rave scene with a felon baby daddy. “It never gets dull with the Norwegian royal family” may not be a thought you’ve ever had, yet here we are.
The Dutch King Led a Wholesome Double Life
As we all know from watching The Crown, being one of the most powerful people in the world ironically means you can’t always do whatever you want. It’s hard to rule a country from, say, a Hollywood movie set or an archaeological dig halfway around the world, so those dreams just have to be deferred. For Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, that dream was flying, and although he managed to get his pilot license, we just can’t have the King ferrying passengers around like a common bus driver. Can we?
We can, so sayeth the King. In 2017, he revealed that, twice a month for the previous two decades, he’d been working as a co-pilot on government and commercial flights throughout Europe. “The advantage is that I can always say that I warmly welcome passengers on behalf of the captain and crew,” he explained. “Then I don’t have to give my name,” though some passengers did recognize his voice. It was the royal equivalent of the Bill Murray “Nobody will ever believe you” story.
The King of Jordan Is a Huge Trekkie
On the other hand, there are a lot of things you can make happen with the snap of your fingers when you’re the head of an entire country. When you’re, say, bingeing your favorite show, you can order nobody in particular through a wad of popcorn to get you on the set, and there’s a much better chance than usual that that will happen. If you’re King Abdullah II of Jordan, not only will your underlings make sure you get to meet your favorite characters, they’ll even arrange for you to share screen time.
That’s the future king on a 1996 episode of Star Trek: Voyager after being thrown into wardrobe and rehearsal, having previously believed he was only getting a tour. He was so overjoyed that he invited some of the cast members back to his country for the literal royal treatment, which ended up being not very different from the con life they’re used to. They toured some monuments, too, but hey, if the King wants to hold an impromptu mini Trek Con, that’s what he’s doing.
A Princess of Monaco Recorded a Hit Song With Michael Jackson
As the daughter of Grace Kelly, an Oscar winner who left Hollywood for royalty, Princess Stephanie of Monaco had showbusiness in her blood. And unlike many royals, whose vanity projects are barely humored, she was a successful singer in the late 1980s, with one of the best-selling singles in French history. Unfortunately, her follow-up efforts tanked, so in 1991, her manager cooked up one last publicity grab. She was told to drop everything and fly to L.A. to record what turned out to be a duet with Michael Jackson, his 1992 hit single/failure to prove his adult heterosexuality “In the Closet.”
If you’re watching that video and thinking, “Wow, Stephanie of Monaco sure looks a lot like Naomi Campbell,” you haven’t been misled about Grace Kelly and the Monaco royal family’s ethnic background. The idea was that Stephanie would be credited on the single as a “Mystery Girl” and then MTV would hold a contest for fans to guess her identity, which would be revealed with the premier of the music video, but due to what Stephanie cryptically described as “personal reasons,” none of that ever happened. As a result, Stephanie’s career failed to be revived; in fact, it was years before her involvement was confirmed. It’s been speculated that a romantic falling out was to blame, but whatever the case, she rarely sang professionally again.
You wouldn’t, either, if people kept getting disappointed that you weren’t Naomi Campbell.