The obsession with the British royal family is intoxicating and ever-present. Rumors run rampant, we live in an absurdist generation, photos circulate within seconds, and suddenly we've descended down an internet rabbit hole in which Meghan Markle is a robot and Queen Elizabeth II is a cannibal. A conspiracy theorist is within us all—which is how the 15 theories ahead, ranging from silly to outright outlandish, came to be. Click through to read some of the ridiculous things people have speculated about the royals throughout history.
A video recently circulated showing Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in the audience of the Britain's Got Talent finale, in which the Duchess of Sussex does not blink or show facial expressions at all.
Harper's Bazaar unpacked and dissected this conspiracy theory—and the Twitter firestorm that accompanied it. (One Twitter user wrote: "Sophia the robot got herself a wig and has infiltrated the royal family.") In truth, the "Meghan and Harry" in the video were actually two audience members wearing masks of the royal couple in an effort to promote Madame Tussads' new Live Figures exhibit.
American writer and political critic Greg Pollowitz tweeted a theory this November about the revered royal marriage: "Prince Harry's kids will be Americans," he wrote. "What if one grows up to be president and is in line for the throne at the same time? Brits are playing long-ball here, but it's a smart move. They want America back and this is how they'll do it."
Some genealogy records state that Prince Charles is a descendant of 15th-century Romanian prince, Vlad the Impaler—the man who inspired Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, Dracula. That would also make Princess Charlotte a vampire; this, at least, we cannot handle.
Vlad the Impaler is famous for impaling so many men on stakes and poles that their bodies covered an entire mountainside. Charles jokingly boasted that his apparent relationship to Vlad gives him a claim to Transylvania.
According to this conspiracy theory, as a child, young Lady Elizabeth fell ill and died while playing at her family’s lodge in Bisley, England, just hours before her father, King Henry VIII, was scheduled to pay a visit...
...Fearful that the King would behead them, the servants dressed a neighborhood boy as young Elizabeth herself. People say the boy grew up continuing the charade, and that Queen Elizabeth’s wardrobe and pledge to virginity during her reign were all tools to hide her true identity as a farm boy.
Some theorists believe that Charles and Diana had a daughter before William—and that she is named Sarah, and lives incognito in a small New England town.
The rumor states that before Diana could marry Charles, the Queen ordered her to undergo fertility tests to verify that she could have children. During the tests, her eggs were fertilized and a doctor secretly stole the embryo and implanted it into his wife.
Conspiracy theorist and former BBC sports reporter David Icke claims that certain members of the elite—like Queen Elizabeth II—are “Annunaki,” a band of reptile humanoids. The lizard-people are world leaders and public figures, and they are responsible, he claims, for 9/11 and the Holocaust.
In a BBC interview captioned "Lizards in Buckingham Palace," Icke claims his theories are backed up "by hard factual information."
Some speculate that Prince Harry is actually the son of James Hewitt—Diana and James both admitted to having a five-year affair during Diana and Charles' marriage. James is a redhead, like Harry. Charles is not. Cosmopolitan placed parallel photos of Harry and James alongside each other and they do look a lot alike.
However, it seems like Harry gets his looks from Princess Diana's brother, Charles Spencer—pictured here with Diana.
Rumors about a sexual relationship between Queen Elizabeth and her childhood friend, Dudley, ran rampant around England during Elizabeth’s reign. Elizabeth apparently appointed Dudley as “master of the horse,” which meant they would have personal contact daily.
Mohamed al-Fayed—father of Dodi al-Fayed, Diana’s boyfriend at the time of her death—claims that Diana was pregnant with Dodi’s child. Mohamed al-Fayed is an Egyptian Muslim, and claims that the Windsors found that problematic, arranging Diana's death to cover up the pregnancy. That is another rather expensive conspiracy theory (see next slide).
Mohamed al-Fayed has been so outspoken about his theories that it led to a multi-million pound investigation into the car crash that killed Diana and Dodi. Al-Fayed, millionaire and business owner of Harrods’ and Ritz Carlton locations, believed that the car crash was the royal family’s ploy to prevent Diana from marrying Dodi, an Egyptian Muslim, and giving birth to his child.
One philosopher tried to figure out how the Queen maintained her unrelenting youthful energy. The explanation? She must have human flesh and blood running through her body.
Some theorists and gossip magazines claim that Kate must have used a surrogate, because she looked too good leaving the hospital to have just delivered a baby herself.
Some scholars claim Prince Albert Victor, grandson of Queen Victoria and son of King Edward VII, was "Jack the Ripper"—the anonymous and infamous serial killer who committed five murders in London in 1888.
Jack the Ripper's victims were often impoverished female prostitutes, and writers and researchers continue to investigate his identity. Some suspect Prince Albert Victor committed the murderers in sporadic, illness-induced bouts of violence.
A letter from Diana to former butler Paul Burrell apparently implies that Diana suspected her husband was planning to kill her—with an “accident in my car,” with “brake failure” and “serious head injury”—so that he could marry someone else. She wrote the letter ten months before she died in the Paris car crash.
Unlike most women at the time, Queen Elizabeth received a formal, extensive education, and some claim her insider understanding of royal life meant she could have written the plays credited to Shakespeare. There is little evidence for this, but it would be fantastic.