10 Things British Royals Do That Might Be Confusing for the Rest of Us
Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom is in charge of running one of the most stable and oldest monarchies in history. She’s also one of the most talked-about people now that details about her and her family’s complex private life are coming to light thanks to Netflix’s The Crown, among other things. The members of the British monarchy are used to living according to a set of rules and habits that make their daily life a fascinating experience for any commoner.
That’s why Bright Side decided to tell you about 10 habits and traditions of the royal family that you might find a bit odd, unless you’re a Windsor too.
1. Bouquets at royal weddings
Regardless of their noble title or rank in the line of succession to the throne, all members of the royal family must obey one simple rule regarding bridal bouquets: it must contain at least one myrtle from the original bush that Queen Victoria herself planted at Osborne House in 1845. This particular flower is meant to symbolize love, fertility, and innocence.
2. Handbags as a means of communication
In addition to being an essential accessory in all the Queen’s outfits, handbags and purses also serve another fairly subtle purpose. They are used by the monarch to communicate with her bodyguards and staff in general. According to royal biographer Hugo Vickers, if the Queen decides to move her handbag from her left arm to her right or puts it on the floor, it means that she wants to leave the place.
3. Prince Charles travels with his own toilet and toilet paper everywhere.
According to English biographer Tom Bower, Prince Charles is a very eccentric person, to the point that, when he travels or has to stay somewhere away from home, he makes sure that a truck with his personal belongings follows him to his destination. Among the possessions that he brings with him are his bed, his sheets and blankets, as well as his toilet seat and rolls of toilet paper.
4. The Queen doesn’t have a passport.
Unlike all other members of the royal family, Queen Elizabeth does not use — nor does she need — a passport to travel. The reasoning behind this fun fact seems to be perfectly flawless: since she is the one who issues the documents of all British commoners and nobles, she does not consider it necessary to carry one in order to travel between countries.
5. She also doesn’t have a driver’s license, but she drives.
And it’s pretty much because of the same reason that the Queen does not have or use a driver’s license either. That is despite the fact that she actually does drive every now and then. What’s more, the monarch also doesn’t need to take a driving test, let alone pass it, and she doesn’t need to have license plates on the car she drives.
6. Prince Charles requires all his shoelaces to be ironed before wearing them.
According to royal biographer Anthony Holden, Prince Charles, also sometimes known as the “Rebel Prince,” has a pretty long list of eccentric demands. Some of them include hiring two assistants to help him get dressed every morning, iron his shoes and pajamas, and squeeze exactly an inch of toothpaste onto his toothbrush every morning. Apparently, he also has an aide deliver his own food when he visits a friend’s house.
7. The gown for royal christenings
It was the year 1841, when Queen Victoria baptized her daughter, Princess Victoria. For the occasion, she commissioned a beautiful gown, called the Honiton gown. Ever since that day, it was worn by 62 royal babies who were baptized wearing the exact same gown for 162 years. Eventually, the dress had to be retired, so it could be preserved; so, for the christening of Prince Edward’s son in 2008, the Queen had an exact replica made. Babies baptized after 2008 have worn this exact replica of the gown too.
8. The Queen has two birthdays.
Even though the Queen was born on April 21, 1926, a national decree requires her to celebrate her birthday (usually) on the second Saturday of June as well. That’s because, according to British traditions, monarchs must celebrate their birthdays in the summer, when the weather is good and the parade, known as Trooping the Color, can take place without any setbacks.
9. The Queen is not the richest person in the United Kingdom.
As opposed to what many people might think, the Queen’s fortune, while still being a substantial one, is far from being the highest, or even among the highest in her country. In a recent calculation, it was established that the Queen has a fortune estimated at £350 million ($474 million), which places her in 372nd place in the list of the richest people in the United Kingdom. In fact, Sir Paul McCartney, ex-member of The Beatles, is ranked higher than her, in 174th place, with a fortune of more or less £800 million ($1 billion).
10. Her husband must walk behind her.
Unlike other modern monarchies, Queen Elizabeth did not ascend to the throne because her husband was the rightful heir. On the contrary, she’s the authority figure in the family, which means her husband, Phillip, cannot be called king, but prince. This also means that he must walk behind her and bow to her, like all other members of the royal family.
Do you think you could trade your daily routine for a life full of royal “treats”? What would you demand if you were a royal?