12 Little-Known Facts About Queen Elizabeth II’s Grandchildren

She might be Queen, but to them, she's still just Granny.

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queen elizabeth and grandchildren
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All about the grandchildren

Of course, you know all about Prince William and Prince Harry, and stayed up late (or woke very early!) watching their fairy-tale weddings to Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle. But how much do you know about their first cousins, the Queen’s other grandchildren? With four children and eight grandkids total, there are quite a few royal secrets you might not be privy to… and which the Queen doesn’t necessarily want you to know.

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peter phillips and wife autumn kelly
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Her eldest grandson is remarkably open with the media

In January 2020, royal commentator tongues were set wagging when it was revealed that the Queen’s oldest grandchild, Princess Anne’s son Peter Phillips, had been paid to appear in an advertisement for milk on Chinese television. However, it wasn’t the first time Phillips had sold royal access: when he married Canadian Autumn Kelly in 2008, they sold the rights to their wedding photos to Hello! magazine for a reported nearly $1 million dollars.

Here are the times when the royal family was brutally honest with the media.

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Lady Louise Windsor the queens favorite grandchild
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The Queen plays favourites

In the past, it was always thought that Peter Phillips was her favourite grandchild. Things may have changed. According to a report in the fall of 2019, after spending weeks together at Balmoral Castle, the Queen’s favourite grandchild is Lady Louise Windsor, daughter of Prince Edward and Sophie, the Countess of Wessex. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise: steady Sophie has always been known as the Queen’s favourite daughter-in-law.

These are the everyday things Queen Elizabeth has never done in her lifetime.

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prince harry and prince william
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William and Harry’s rift goes deep

While the tabloids were feverishly speculating about Meghan Markle’s influence on Prince Harry—which came to a head in the spring of 2020 with the couple stepping down as senior royals—the decaying relationship between William and Harry took a back seat. Although the brothers denied a feud earlier this year, it was reported last fall by the BBC that their relationship had been “irreparably changed” following Harry’s comments to Tom Bradby on the Harry and Meghan, An African Journey documentary, with William “furious” about Harry’s candor.

Learn the real story of how Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met.

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zara phillips driving test
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Zara was recently banned from driving for six months

The Queen’s granddaughter Zara Tindall—Princess Anne’s daughter—is a brand ambassador for Land Rover… slightly ironic, considering she was banned from driving for six months after being caught speeding in January 2020. In addition to the temporary ban, stemming from an accumulation of penalty points on her license, she was fined £666 plus costs, as well as a victim surcharge of £151 (a little over $1,000 combined).

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Princess Eugenie and her Sister Princess Beatrice of York world travelers
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Beatrice and Eugenie love their vacations

Known for their eye-catching fascinators, as well as strong family ties and deep loyalty, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie have also made a name for themselves as lovers of the leisure life. Although they’ve curbed their jet setting ways in recent years, in 2016 alone, Princess Eugenie took—count ’em—seven overseas vacations, while the previous year Beatrice reportedly embarked on a jaw-dropping 15 foreign trips to the tune of approximately £300,000 (about $515,000 CAD). Despite slowing down, they’re still fabulous: Beatrice recently got married to her longtime boyfriend Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in a private ceremony in Windsor.

Find out more fascinating facts about Princess Beatrice.

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casamigos Princess Eugenie of York and Jack Brooksbank
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Eugenie is married to a wine merchant

Eugenie’s husband, Jack Brooksbank, knows his way around a bar. After years in hospitality, including managing royal favourite hotspot Mahiki, he was hired by George Clooney and Rande Gerber as the UK ambassador for their tequila brand Casamigos and is now the European brand manager. Eugenie and Jack served Casamigos at their wedding, and Eugenie’s mother Sarah has been known to knock back a shot or two with her son-in-law.

Read on for more interesting facts about Princess Eugenie.

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lady louise windsor
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Lady Louise Windsor didn’t know her grandmother was Queen until she was at school

Sophie and Edward’s daughter Lady Louise Windsor was in school before she realized her granny was the Queen. According to Sophie, for Louise “it was much more of a shock to the system. It was only when she was coming home from school and saying, ‘Mummy, people keep on telling me that grandma is the Queen,'” that she realized just how truly important her grandmother was. Prince William and Kate have kept a similar secret from their son George.

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Prince harry and Prince Charles
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Prince Harry has been to rehab

After getting caught with marijuana, a then-17-year-old Prince Harry was dragged by Prince Charles to rehab, where he spent a day at London’s Featherstone Lodge rehabilitation centre. According to the royal family, Harry agreed to the visit “to learn about the possible consequences of starting to take cannabis.”

Find out how Prince Harry coped with Princess Diana’s death.

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James, Viscount Severn
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Her grandson James has a talent for flipping burgers

One of the royal family’s favourite traditions involves summer barbecuing in the garden at their Scottish residence Balmoral. For years, Prince Phillip was in charge of the grill, but with his recently diminishing health, Edward and Sophie’s 12-year-old son James, Viscount Severn, has reportedly stepped up to the plate (er, grill). Little is known about James, Edward and Sophie’s only son, who is currently 12th in line for the throne but mostly stays out of the spotlight. Although he was eligible to be named Prince upon birth, Edward and Sophie chose to give him the courtesy title afforded to an Earl’s child, reportedly to help him have a more normal life.

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Princess Beatrice d’York and her fiance Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi wedding
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British TV stations planned to skip Princess Beatrice’s wedding—even before COVID-19

When Princess Eugenie married Jack Brooksbank at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle in late 2018, the ceremony was televised by ITV, received three million viewers, and culminated in an open-air carriage ride around Windsor (just like Harry and Meghan). However, Eugenie’s sister Princess Beatrice wasn’t going to be afforded the same respect: both ITV and the BBC planned not to cover Beatrice’s wedding live, reportedly over public reaction to her father Prince Andrew’s universally panned BBC Newsnight interview and personal involvement with Jeffery Epstein. What they couldn’t have known at the time, however, was that COVID-19 would throw Princess Beatrice’s wedding plans into disarray, and that she’d go forward with the ceremony—in private—in Windsor on July, 17, 2020.

Don’t miss these fascinating facts about royal weddings.

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princess beatrice and sarah ferguson curtsy
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Her grandchildren have to curtsy to her

Protocol dictates that women curtsy and men bow when first seeing the Queen, and then again when she leaves, which means that grandchildren—yes, even Prince William!—are expected to pay their respects, at least in public. But it’s not all pomp and circumstance: Princess Eugenie has a habit of publicly calling the Queen “Granny,” instead of referring to her as “Her Majesty” like William and Harry.

Check out these cute photos of next-generation royals!

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prince harry
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Harry is already worth a lot of money

Much has been made of Harry and Meghan’s desire to strike out on their own and step back from royal duties, with naysayers particularly focused on how they will make money. What many don’t realize is that Harry is already independently wealthy, with a net worth of approximately $40 million thanks to money left by both Princess Diana—reportedly $10 million—and the Queen Mother, who is said to have left him substantially more than William. Harry also has his salary invested from his days in the British Army as a captain. And for good measure, the couple also have Meghan’s wealth from her days on Suits: she’s reportedly worth somewhere between $2.2 and $5 million. Still, all that money pales in comparison to the Queen, who as the monarch is worth a staggering $88 billion. And, yes, when William eventually becomes King, he will inherit it all (at least, on paper).

Next, find out 50 facts about the British royal family most people don’t know.

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Originally Published on Reader's Digest