11 Royals Who Showed Off Their Tattoos

11 Royals Who Showed Off Their Tattoos
Image: Pool/Max Mumby/Getty Images

amelia windsor
Pool/Max Mumby/Getty Images

What if the real reason that Queen Elizabeth never wears short sleeves is that under her coatdress, she has actual tattoo sleeves that she got back in her wild days -- before she buckled down to a queenly life of waving from balconies and visiting hospitals? (Can y'all imagine? Ha!) Fat chance of that, probably. However spotless the Queen's skin may be, though, there are royals who have gotten ink and are not afraid to show it. 

Surprised? Don't be. 

There are plenty of stories about male monarchs and their male relatives who have gotten tatted over the centuries, all over the world. It's one of those traditions that doesn't get talked about as much as, say, tiaras.

While in times past, royals may have hidden tattoos under layers and layers of clothes, these days, tattoos are widely accepted and normalized (thank heavens), and everyone -- from moms to celebrities -- show them off proudly. That means that royals young and older don't necessarily need to hide them in shame or to follow some royal rule -- even at their own royal wedding.

So what kind of tattoos do modern royals sport? Are they elaborate pieces that took days or weeks to make, with deep meaning and great beauty? Well, some of them are. The others are pretty much the kind regular folks pick from a wall at a tattoo parlor after stumbling out of a bar, tipsy and feeling uninhibited. 

Either way, we judge not. This is just more evidence that royals are regular people with money and titles. 

So without further ado, let's take a look at all the royals that we know for sure have a tattoo. We're still hoping that a few more come out of the tattoo closet or get new ink. In fact, in some cases, we're totally expecting it. 

(We're looking atcha, newly liberated Prince Harry!

  • Lady Amelia Windsor

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    David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images

    This is the granddaughter of one of the Queen's duke cousins, and that's the least interesting thing about her. Lady Amelia Windsor is royal but pretty normal by everyday standards. She works as a model and is an all-around "it" girl, aside from being a university student who is outspoken about environmental and social causes -- so it's no huge surprise that Lady Amelia has not one, but several tattoos, including this one of a tiger.

  • A Touching Tribute

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    There's a cool story behind Lady Amelia's tattoo of three bear cubs on her right forearm. As she explains, they represent her brother and sister. She revealed: "We saw three cubs in Canada when we were really little and thought they were us on the beach. It was a really magical moment." That's definitely an unusual and sweet reason to get some ink, in our humble opinion! 

  • Princess Sofia of Sweden

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    Andreas Rentz/Getty Image

    A former wild child turned royal, Princess Sofia of Sweden -- a one-time lad mag model -- has a tiny tattoo on an ankle and a big sunburst tattoo at the top of her spine. And guess what? She did not hide the sunburst for her wedding to Prince Carl Gustav. (Good for her!) It's a cute tattoo, and it was a strong signal that she was not ashamed of who she was. 

    Love it. 

  • Princess Stephanie of Monaco

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    Fabrice Lheritier/WireImage/Getty Images

    The original royal wild child is Princess Stephanie, Grace Kelly's daughter. From having children out of wedlock to joining the circus, she did it all before sliding into middle age. She has several tattoos on her body, including a tattooed ring and sun bracelet. Stephanie also has tattoos of -- not one, not two, but three -- dolphins leaping out of the water on her left foot. 

  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo ...

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    Alain Benainous/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

    ... is Princess Stephanie, of course. The tattoo is shaped like an "S," but if we look closely, we can see that it's definitely a very slim dragon -- complete with whiskers. It actually resembles the dragon in the Oscar-winning Japanese animated movie Spirited Away. Princess Stephanie, who once said that her rebellious youth was a way of coping with the death of her mother, sure didn't hold back when it comes to getting inked.

  • Pauline Ducruet

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    Francois Durand/Getty Images

    Like mama, like daughter! 

    Princess Stephanie's daughter, Pauline Ducruet, who is a fashion designer, may not have nearly as much ink as her mom, but she does have a couple of tattoos. Unlike mom, she went for simple ones on her right forearm: a phrase in cursive, and a flower-like one near it. 

    Very dainty and pretty.

  • Meghan Markle

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    Tim Rooke/PA Images via Getty Images

    On the other side of the rebel spectrum, when a then-pregnant Meghan visited Morocco on an official trip, she made a stop at an all-girls boarding school in the Atlas mountains. And like other royal ladies have done, she got a henna tattoo, which is made from natural plant dyes and does not contain chemicals. Yes, it fades after a while. (Hey, it's something!) One of the house mothers at the school made the design on her left arm and hand.

  • A Special Purpose

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    meghan markle's hand with henna tattoo
    Pool/Samir Hussein/Wire Image/Getty Images

    Meghan's henna -- seen here before the product flakes off to reveal the tattoo -- consisted of three flowers and a geometric design on her forefinger. (It was meant to protect her during her pregnancy.) Henna "is for when we have a big party," one of the housemothers at the boarding school later told reporters. "Now she is pregnant we do the henna to keep her happy with the baby. For good luck."

  • Kate Middleton

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    Andy Commins/AFP via Getty Images

    The Duchess of Cambridge herself was pregnant when she got her own henna tattoo. At the time, she was carrying Louis and was on a royal visit. The teenage tattoo artist later talked about meeting the duchess

    "I said, 'Would you like a design?' and she was like, 'Yes, if you don't mind,'" she said. "She was saying that it was really pretty. I was just telling her how it works. I was telling her when she can wash it off -- I said, 'When it becomes flaky.'" 

  • Like Delicate Wrought Iron

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    kate middleton's hand with henna tattoo
    Andy Commins/AFP via Getty Images

    Here's a close-up of Kate's tattoo, which, like all henna tattoos, gradually fades after a couple of weeks. It's a delicate and small abstract pattern, featuring some elaborate curlicues. So pretty -- although, we wonder if Kate was a bit nervous handing over her hand to a total stranger to draw a design on it. What if the kid had turned out to be against the monarchy? 

    The horror!

  • The Queen's Grandfather, George V

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    Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    Well, well, well. It turns out that even higher up in the royal food chain, tattoos are not at all a foreign concept -- though they are still pretty rare. It turns out that Queen Elizabeth's granddad, King George V, had two tattoos. He and his brother traveled to Japan as teens and got tatted there, with the future king getting a dragon and tiger tattoos.

  • Prince William Reportedly Wanted One

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    John Sibley/AFP via Getty Images

    Now, this is surprising. Just when we thought that Prince William had no edge, we go and read about how he once considered getting some ink. At the time, he was serving on a Navy ship in the Caribbean. 

    "Lots of the guys on board sport tattoos ... it was obvious William was fascinated," one sailor told newspapers. "He asked how painful it was and wanted to know what they thought of his idea for a tattoo across his shoulders. We didn't think he was serious -- but he said he was keen to get a large tattoo like the one David Beckham has. He said the only thing stopping him was his girlfriend."

  • Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall

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    Samir Hussein/Getty Images

    Are those ... tears coming down from Prince Charles' wife's cheeks? Because, geez, lady, it's just a nice henna -- it's not permanent! (Hahaha.) Camilla really does look somewhat perturbed sitting there at a cafe table in Morocco getting a henna tattoo during an official trip. If it were us, we'd be thrilled (that's actually a really nice design). 

    Guess it's just not for everyone. 

  • Crown Prince Frederik

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    Antony Jones/UK Press via Getty Images

    The heir to the Danish throne, Crown Prince Frederik, is an active guy. He likes to sail and served in his country's navy. It was his service in the elite frogman corps -- a SEAL-like team trained to attack enemy ships -- that inspired one of his tattoos: a shark based on the elite unit's insignia

    Frederik also has a tattoo on his shoulder. 

  • Charlotte Casiraghi

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    Stephane Cardinale/Corbis via Getty Images

    Charlotte Casiraghi is the daughter of Princess Caroline of Monaco. When she recently attended an event and wore a cutoff shirt, her tattoo -- of a star with other stars around it -- was visible. Charlotte is 11th in line for the throne and is pretty much the most stylish royal in Europe since she is not forbidden to wear anything by any royal rules.  

  • Zara Phillips ... *Doesn't*

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    Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

    Surprise!

    Zara, Princess Anne's daughter, has a pretty un-royal life. Though she is the granddaughter of the Queen, Zara is not a working royal. She married a burly rugby player, and she's always been bold in her fashion choices. As a teen, Zara even had a tongue ring. Along with Harry, she'd be the royal family member that we'd most expect to have a tattoo tucked away somewhere, but she doesn't. In fact, she recently said she'd rather one of her daughters "came home with a piercing than a tattoo because at least a stud can be removed."

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