But now they've become something altogether more sinister: a Mafia mob.
The Queen is evidently capo di tutti capi, and this organized crime boss knows no limits, if this week's tabloids are to be believed.
"Royals Put Hit on Epstein Madam!" screams the 'Globe' cover story, claiming that The Queen has marked for death pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein's lieutenant Ghislaine Maxwell.
"They killed Andrew's pervert pal in prison too!" the 'Globe' reminds readers about Epstein's jail cell "suicide."
And if the Queen is the putative Godfather of this mob, let's not forget that her consigliere Prince Charles has long been accused by the tabloids of murdering Princess Diana.
Could this be the real reason Prince Harry moved to America – to be the Queen's hit-man in the States?
Apparently not, because the Queen has her own private team of contract killers, and the Globe reveals "a hit team from Britain's MI6 spy agency has been green-lighted to silence Ghislaine."
The tabloids, with their typical lack of understanding of the exceedingly limited real powers of the British Royal Family, seems to imagine that James Bond is at the beck and call of Buckingham Palace. The way that the Epstein sex ring scandal has entangled Prince Andrew, the Queen might be wishing that she did have 007 on her speed dial, but that's not how it works outside Hollywood.
But that doesn't stop the 'Globe' from going full Mario Puzo in its report: "Royals put murder contract on Epstein's accused madam who knows about Andrew."
According to unnamed sources, "US spies have top-secret phone intercepts indicating Queen Elizabeth – or someone in her inner circle – has ordered a hit on the British socialite to keep her from exposing details of Prince Andrew's friendship with convicted pedophile Epstein."
Epstein was allegedly murdered – despite the coroner ruling his death a suicide – "to prevent him from ratting out Andrew and destroying the British monarchy with a shameful sex scandal."
This is the same British monarchy that has seen Henry VIII behead two wives, Elizabeth I execute her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, Edward V murdered in the Tower of London by Richard III, Edward VIII relinquish the crown for love, and Princess Diana divorce her unfeeling husband, heir to the throne Prince Charles.
If the monarchy can survive all that and more, it can certainly survive whatever happens to Prince Andrew, who has long been relegated to the Royal minor leagues as a relief pitcher and who has served little useful purpose in years.
If the 'Globe' report were indeed accurate – as if – the true story would be that the US Department of Justice would be pursuing an arrest warrant and extradition order for The Queen for conspiracy to murder. But even that would be for appearances' sake only, as the Queen is above the law in Britain thanks to sovereign immunity, and can claim diplomatic immunity elsewhere in the world, so that she could literally get away with murder anywhere on the planet.
Ghislaine might want to think twice before accepting the invitation if the Queen offers to visit her Brooklyn jail cell.
"Maxwell Sex Tape Shocker!" roars the headline across a spread in the 'National Enquirer.' Yet the real shock is that this interview with self-professed jewel thief-turned-author William Steel actually first appeared in British tabloid the Sun more than two weeks ago and last week in the 'Globe' under the headline: "Epstein & Ghislaine's Kinky Secrets Exposed!" Late to the scene, the rag brazenly brands its piece an "Enquirer Exclusive."
Are the Royals obsessed with their hair, or is it the tabloids that are obsessed with the Royals' crowning glory?
"Harry's Hair-Loss Horror!" screams the headline in the 'Enquirer.'
"Horror" seems inadequate to describe the follicle Armageddon happening on top of Prince Harry's head.
The photographic evidence is clear: 35-year-old Harry has a rapidly-expanding bald-spot opening up like a monk's tonsure, just like his brother Prince William and father Prince Charles – perhaps the strongest evidence yet to counter allegations that Harry was the result of Princess Diana enjoying an extramarital affair.
But the Meghan-bashing tabloids could not let the sad saga of Harry's vanishing hair end there. The 'Enquirer' reports that "Image-obsessed Meghan" is "pushing him to get it back."
Not picking stray hairs out of the shower drain, apparently, but rather getting "transplants or plugs to save his mane."
It's all Meghan's fault, apparently, because "Meghan's all about appearances."
As if in vocal agreement, the 'Globe' reports: "Obsessed Meghan Spends $54G A Year Just On Her Hair!" The story quotes an unnamed "insider" who reveals that "She's very vain and proud of her looks and doles out at least $2,000 a week to maintain them."
Meghan reportedly uses a clarifying shampoo, daily conditioner and cold water rinse, organic argan oil, a cool blow dry, and a weekly visit from a stylist for keratin protein treatments, plus a masseuse for a scalp massage.
"No wonder jobless Harry is going bald," the Globe concludes, charitably.
Still on the subject of British Princes, the 'Globe' reports: "Andrew Erased!"
Not rubbed out in a hit ordered by the Queen, but the next best thing: Prince Andrew "was the invisible man at daughter Beatrice's secret wedding." This "invisible man" walked his daughter down the aisle, presumably unseen by all the Royal guests. He was also left out of official wedding photos – at least, those released to the public.
Harry, Meghan and son Archie are now evidently sharing now their rented Beverly Hills home with her mother, Doria Ragland, as the 'Enquirer' reports: "Harry's Got A Full House With Meghan's Live-In Mom!"
You might recall that the 'Enquirer' first reported on this six weeks ago, but they are so flabbergasted that the story was actually true that they couldn't resist running it again with the tag: "You read it here first."
'Us' magazine reports on the Royal mob boss ordering a sit-down of all the major crime families to hash out their beefs and presumably divide up mob territory: "Queen Orders Emergency Summit."
It's warring crime bosses Prince William and Prince Harry who are being ordered to the table as the "Queen demands the brothers make peace," reports the mag. Doesn't the Queen know that all travel from America to the UK has been banned during the pandemic, and a face-to-face summit meeting simply won't be happening? Maybe it's an inconvenient truth that 'Us' mag simply decided to ignore.
American music royalty also manages to squeeze its way into this week's royal-obsessed tabloids.
"Kanye's Psycho Ward meltdown!" screams the cover of the 'Enquirer.' "Accuses blindsided Kim of cheating! Vicious attacks on mom-in-law Kris Jenner! Rants family is trying to lock him away!"
He sounds sane to me.
The disgraced King of Pop's son is making news in the 'Enquirer,' which reports: "Jackson Kid Making Michael's Dream Movie!"
No, he's not. Jacko's eldest son Prince is a videographer who wishes he could make a feature film, and "if I could direct one movie" it would be the script his father had a gloved hand in writing. Prince is not making anyone's dream come true; not his father's, and not his own.
Thankfully we have the crack investigative team at 'Us' mag to tell us that MJ Rodriguez wore it best, that Melissa Gilbert "absolutely cannot stand the taste of saffron," and that the stars are just like us: they ride bicycles, feed their pets, and pump gas.
Trust the 'Globe' to bring us the up-to-the-minute news that popular soda 7 Up when launched in 1929 originally contained lithium citrate, a mood stabilizer used in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. Initially named Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda – a catchy name that makes you wonder why they ever changed it to 7Up – and marketed as a hangover cure during the Prohibition, 7 Up removed the chemical after the government banned the use of lithium citrate in 1948.
I'll drink to that.
Onwards and downwards . . .