Arts & Culture

10 unusual facts about the Royal Family

To many, the private world of the British royals is a source of intrigue and fascination. However, behind this veil of privacy are some weird and wonderful facts you wouldn’t believe.

Intrigued? Find out why the Queen had not one but TWO birthdays, how she created a new breed of dog and other weird and wonderful facts about the royal family.

The Queen had TWO birthdays

Of course, even monarchs can only be born once. But that didn’t stop the Queen from celebrating two birthdays. She preferred to spend time with family members on her actual birthday, the 21st of April. Her “official” (not actual) birthday, which can vary throughout the commonwealth, usually took place on the second Monday of June and was marked by parades in the Capital.

The reason Her Majesty had 2 birthdays? The good old British weather. In 1748, King George II (born in October) decided to combine the annual summer military march with his own birthday celebrations. Since then, every monarch has followed suit.

You’re not supposed to touch them

It’s long been a rule that nobody but a royal should physically touch a member of the royal family, especially the Monarch. That rule, though, is often ignored nowadays. Michelle Obama famously hugged the Queen at Buckingham Palace in 2009. That’s supposed to be a big ‘no-no’, but the Queen seemingly embraced it – some even say she initiated it.

You can’t get to the Throne by marrying one

There’s no point in planning to marry a royal hoping you can mastermind a plot to take the throne. Nobody who marries royalty can ever ascend to the top. If you married a monarch, your title would be either queen- or king-consort.

The King sets the tone at dinners

Eating with kings and queens can seem like a bit of a race to guests, only because everybody must put down their knives and forks as soon as the monarch stops eating. Of course, royal dinners are pretty lavish, but if you don’t want anything going to waste, you’d better keep up.

They DO make their own money

Many people believe the royals only have money thanks to the taxpayer, but they actually have numerous sources of income. Their primary income is derived from the Duchy of Lancaster, a portfolio of residential, agricultural and commercial properties. And then, of course, plenty of people visit London just to see royal abodes, such as Kensington Palace and Clarence House.

The King doesn’t need a passport

Despite being a little-known fact, it makes sense when you think about it: all UK passports are issued in His Majesty’s name. Why would His Majesty need permission from himself to go abroad? King Charles III is one of the only people in the world that requires no passport for international travel.

They can’t play Monopoly

It may sound bizarre, but royal family members aren’t supposed to play Monopoly. It seems that like the rest of us, not even royalty is immune from the inevitable rifts and infighting. In 2008, the Duke of York revealed that the traditional Christmas game gets a bit too vicious in the Mountbatten-Windsor household.

A lot of them are buried in Westminster Abbey

Coronations, weddings and indeed royal funerals have taken place at Westminster Abbey. Seventeen British monarchs are buried within its grounds, the first being King Edward in the 13th century. All Tudor monarchs except Henry III are there too. Pay your respects by visiting the Royal Tombs on a tour of the abbey.

The Queen invented a breed of dog

The Queen famously loved corgis, and when one of hers mated with a Dachshund, she created the new mixed-breed Dorgi species of dog. Thanks to their loyalty, intelligence and friendliness, almost all Dorgis are said to be as adorable and loving as they are cute.

They own a LOT of property

The holdings of the Crown Estate are worth an estimated £14 billion and extend all over the UK into all sorts of niches including:

  • Royal palaces
  • Farming and agriculture
  • Forestry and parkland
  • Commercial and residential
  • Minerals including gold & silver

Plus much, much more. They also hold the rights to racecourses such as Royal Ascot and even shopping centres.

To learn even more about the Royal Family, make sure to take a look at our Royal London Tour. You’ll get to see the Changing of the Guard as well as some of London’s best landmarks whilst discovering the city’s fascinating history.