An unavoidable part of being a royal is that you get photographed everywhere – even if you’re in a car.
Various members of the family have been snapped arriving at or leaving public events in vehicles over the years, and now some eagle-eyed royal watchers have spotted that they’re often not wearing a seat belt, even though it’s compulsory to do so by law.
However, speaking to HELLO! magazine, former royal protection officer Simon Morgan revealed that although it might sound strange, not wearing a seat belt is sometimes a matter of safety for public figures.
‘There are always anomalies,’ Simon explained. ‘In the threat and risk matrix it’s a matter of looking at each individual situation to decide what is the best way of achieving what needs to be achieved. For example, considering that a quick entry or exit to a vehicle is easier when people aren’t strapped into seat belts.’
He added that the occasion – and outfit – are also factor that need to be taken into account when making the decision.
‘What is significant about this event or situation? Is an individual’s look and appearance important? And also an individual’s choice,’ he noted. ‘Protection is a very unique area of policing and there are a lot grey areas, but you are always judging each situation to weigh up the risks and threats with the outcomes you are trying to achieve.’
There are two scenarios when not wearing a seat belt is technically permissible – the first being when ‘a person [is] involved in a procession organised by or on behalf of the Crown or which is commonly or customarily held’, which obviously is applicable to this instance.
The second is when a car does not have seat belts in the first place, such as the classic cars both Prince William and Kate and Prince Harry and Meghan were seen leaving their respective wedding parties in.
Otherwise, the royals are not exempt from the law about seat belts – but as Simon says, sometimes there are exceptional circumstances to take into account. And if you search through the archives, there are also plenty of pictures of the royals, mostly on longer journeys, strapped in as we all would be. Mystery solved!