The Tallest and Shortest British Royals
Royals loom large in our imagination, but are they less-than-imposing in real life? Which royals really do tower over the rest of us in more than just wealth and privilege? The history of British royalty features some real giants and some who were really "down-to-earth." Even in the modern era, kings and queens, princes and princesses, keep us guessing as to who actually reigns over other people and who is on our level. Here's a list, in no particular order, of the highs and lows of royal size.
The longest-reigning British monarch until Elizabeth, Queen Victoria, had staying power despite her short stature. She stood at just over one and a half meters, or just under 5', but her small size did not keep her from imposing her will. Rather than being a shrinking violet, Queen Victoria proposed to her husband, survived several attacks, and gave birth to nine children in a time when childbirth was very dangerous.
From one of the shortest British royals to one of the tallest, Henry VIII was a kingly six feet tall when he assumed the throne after the death of his brother, Henry VII. Henry VIII was also only eighteen-years-old, making him one of the youngest people to assume the monarchy (his uncle, Henry VI, was only nine-months-old when he became king). Henry VIII is famous for his larger-than-life personality, six wives, and the creation of the Church of England. He was also the first monarch to write a book so he wasn't just a pretty face.
A veritable tower of power, Prince William got real tall, real fast, hitting a growth spurt in his twenties that just didn't stop until he passed 6' tall. The Prince, aka Duke of Cambridge, aka second-in-line to the British throne, holds the record as the tallest British royal ever, standing at a whopping 6'3" or 1.92 meters. There is one suspect in the Prince's family that may hold the secret as to why he dominates all other royals in the present and past.
Prince Philip, seen here still as Philip Mountbatten before his marriage to Queen Elizabeth, is only a few centimeters shorter than his grandson, Prince William. The elder Prince stands at a stately 1.83 meters or an even 6' tall. The Prince's large stature can perhaps be attributed to his mixed Hellenic (father) and Slavic (mother) background. It is also something he passed on to his children, as his three sons (Charles, Edward, and Andrew) all measure close to six feet.
Prince Andrew may be the second son and third child born to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip but he does stand out from his parents and siblings. The Duke of York is a strapping 6'0" or 1.82m, which is at least an inch above his closest competitor, the next-in-line to the throne, Prince Charles, but at the same level as the next entry on this list.
The youngest child of the Windsors, Edward, Earl of Sussex stands at an even 1.80m, or 6'0", like his big brother, Andrew. Edward was near to the line-of-succession when he was born, but the rules governing who inherits the British crown have now put his nephews William and Harry as the most likely successors of their grandmother, and Edward's mother.
The only daughter born to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Princess Royal, one of Princess Anne's official titles, does not stand as tall as the men in her family, but she does have a slight edge over her mother, as she measures 1.67m or 5'4". Princess Anne was also near the line of succession when she was born but has since been surpassed by the newest members of the Royal Family.
Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex
Speaking of the newest members of the royal family, Princess Anne does have something in common with one of them. While she did hit it big in the marriage department, Meghan Markle, aka the Duchess of Sussex, did get the short-end of the stick when it came to the height department. The American-born royal, and wife to Prince Harry, stands at a meager 5'4" like her aunt-in-law, Princess Anne, but a bit taller than Harry's grandmother, The Queen.
Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York
Like Meghan Markle, Sarah Ferguson also married into the Royal Family by marrying Prince Andrew in 1986. She became the Duchess of York and still is, despite divorcing Prince Andrew in 1996. While she does not perform any duties on behalf of the Royal Family, she still holds her Duchy, and her two children, Eugenie and Beatrice, are also both in the line of succession behind their cousins.
The eldest daughter of the Duke and Duchess of York, the recently-married Princess Beatrice, is not the tallest of the York princesses. She stands at a respectable 1.62m or 5'3", which puts her just a smidge above her mother, much less than her father and a few centimeters shorter than her sister, Eugenie who stands at 1.65m.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Although nowhere near as tall as her husband, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is not overshadowed by her sizable husband in any way. The Duchess, previously Kate Middleton, stands at just two centimeters below Princess Diana, at 1.75 meters tall or a respectable 5'7", which is only a few inches shorter than William.
The late Princess Diana was of above-average height, standing at only a little more than her future daughter-in-law, Catherine, at 1.78 meters tall. The Princess of Wales perhaps seemed taller to the public given her penchant for long gowns and showing off her legs. She famously never wore heels so as not to stand over her ex-husband, Charles, the Prince of Wales, even though the two were about the same height. Needless to say, after her divorce, England's Rose started wearing heels again.
The Prince and Princess of Wales were nearly the same height, with Charles standing at roughly 5'10" while Diana was only a few centimeters shorter. Despite the negligible height difference, for much of their fraught marriage, Charles was almost always, like in the photo above, pictured as standing over or above his wife. It is not clear if Charles was the architect behind all these staged photos, but he and his current wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, are photographed at the same height.
The second son of Charles and Diana, Prince Harry, who has "stepped back" from his duties as a royal, is still in the line of succession to ascend to the British throne - he is sixth-in-line. Even though the Prince has distanced himself from his family, he is still, unmistakably, his father's and mother's son given his tall, regal stature. The Prince, aka King of All Gingers, stands at close to 1.86 meters tall or at 6'1", which is just a shave shorter than his 6'3" brother.
Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II has already surpassed her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria's, record for the longest-serving British monarch. She has been at the helm of the British Empire and Commonwealth since 1952 and is showing no signs of giving up her reign even as she approaches 94 years old. Like Queen Victoria, though, Queen Elizabeth II stands at a little over 1.63, which is less than all the men in her family, even though she is the one in charge.
Are there any overly tall or overly short royals that we missed? Does a royal's height play a role in how you perceive them? Let us know by leaving a comment in the section below. Royals are born into an advantageous life that most of us can only dream of, but they too can also be blessed or cursed with tall or short statures. But as this list has shown, a royal's physical size has no significance on the impact they can make on the world.