50 Things You Didn’t Know About the British Royal Family

Everyone in the British royal family has his or her own quirks, habits, and secrets that you didn’t know.

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Queen Elizabeth II travels with supplies of her own blood

The Queen travels with her royal Navy doctor everywhere, but not without her own bag of blood, too. This is typical if she travels to a place where the blood supply is questionable.

Find out how much the British royal family spends on travel.

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Prince Charles is the least favourite

Everyone has his or her own favourite royal, but according to this poll, Charles is the least favourite royal family member by far.

Here’s what the Queen doesn’t want you to know about Prince Charles.

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The family filmed a secret documentary

A documentary that aired in June of 1969 about the royal family will never be shown to the public again. Why? Queen Elizabeth and her advisers thought that showing the public the royals’ everyday life could be too dangerous. Find out more about this documentary the royal family didn’t want you to see.

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Every trip calls for an all-black outfit

When King George VI died while then-Princess Elizabeth was in Kenya in 1952, she didn’t have an all-black outfit handy to signify her mourning. A dress had to be delivered to her plane when she arrived back in the United Kingdom for her to change into before she came out. Don’t miss these rarely-seen photos of Queen Elizabeth with her father.

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The Queen never travels alone

Along with her royal doctor, the Queen travels with 34 people, including a private secretary, a hairdresser, press officers, eight bodyguards, and more.

Can you guess the one food the royal family can’t eat while travelling?

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No crust for the Queen

Queen Elizabeth II enjoys a tuna sandwich every now and then, but with the crust cut off, of course.

Get to know the surprising hobbies of the British royal family.

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Don’t forget the travel kettle

To make sure her favourite afternoon Earl Grey tea is made just right, the Queen takes her monogrammed kettle with her on worldwide trips. Sausages from Harrods are packed when travelling, too.

Find out why you should never call Queen Elizabeth by her name.

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The Queen’s skirt never flies up

As the Queen descends from any royal aircraft, you can be assured that the wind will never blow her skirt up. That’s because all of the Queen’s skirts are weighted, according to the Telegraph.

Here are the etiquette rules everyone in the royal family must follow.

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The royals BYOB

On trips abroad, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall have their police bodyguard carry a bag of their favourite drinks—gin and tonic for him, and red wine for her.

This is the reason Prince Charles didn’t marry Camilla in the first place.

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They work hard to preserve the lineage

Back when flying was risky, the royals never let two royal heirs travel together. In case of a fatal accident, the lineage was protected.

In case you’re confused, here’s a list of who’s next in the line of succession to the British throne.

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Princes Harry and William love American fast food

When Harry and William were young, Princess Diana asked their family chef to cancel lunch for her sons because they wanted to get McDonald’s.

Learn how Prince Harry coped with Princess Diana’s death.

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Fathers weren’t always in the delivery room

When the Queen gave birth to Prince Charles in 1948, Prince Philip was playing squash in the palace. It was customary then that a royal birth was an all-female event, but now fathers are often in the delivery room, too.

Don’t miss these vintage photos of Elizabeth before she became Queen.

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Kate Middleton honoured Princess Diana when Prince George was born

When the Duchess of Cambridge stepped out with newborn Prince George for their first appearance after his birth, her light blue, polka dot dress was a subtle tribute to the dress Princess Diana wore after Prince William was born.

Don’t miss these photos showing Kate Middleton’s stunning transformation since becoming a royal.

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The Queen’s birthday is celebrated twice

For over 260 years, over 1,400 soldiers, 200 horses, and 400 musicians gather to parade around for the official celebration of the sovereign’s birthday on the second Saturday in June. It’s called the Trooping of Colour.

Psst—Queen Elizabeth’s actual birthday is April 21.

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Seafood is off the menu

While travelling, the royal family isn’t allowed to eat seafood because shellfish has a high chance of giving someone food sickness.

Here are 10 royal etiquette rules everyone should follow.

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The Queen eats from to-go containers

Though many royal dinners are served on the most lavish diamond-encrusted plates, the Queen has eaten fruit and Kellogg’s from plastic containers.

If you eat dinner with the Queen, you must follow these two rules.

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The Queen likes having options

At Buckingham Palace, dinner entrees are hardly random. The Queen selects the meals she wants from a menu book.

Find out the surprising place where the Queen says she’s most happy. (Psst—it’s not Buckingham!)

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Everyone must dress up for dinner

Once, Prince Philip dressed too casually for dinner and the chef mistook him for the gardener.

Find out what will happen when Prince Philip dies.

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Kate Middleton sits the way Diana did

Royal ladies must never sit with their legs crossed at the knee. Instead, their legs and knees should be kept together. Sitting with their ankles crossed is also acceptable. That’s the way Princess Diana would sit, and it’s how Kate is usually seen sitting, too.

Here’s what we still don’t know about Princess Diana’s death.

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The Queen wears neon on purpose

In the documentary, The Queen at 90, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, explained the real reason the Queen wears bright colours. It’s so people can see her from far away in the crowds!

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Royal women always have a natural manicure

Despite the Queen’s loud outfits, you’ll never catch her with brightly painted nails. It’s custom for royal women to have their nails painted with a light colour.

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Royals don’t typically have a last name

In 1917, King George V assigned “Windsor” as the royal family’s official surname, and in 1960, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip proclaimed that their descendants not styled as a Royal Highness or titled a Prince or Princess would take the surname Mountbatten-Windsor.

Here’s what The Crown gets wrong about the British royal family.

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Royal boys don’t wear pants until they turn eight

You’ll always spot Prince George in shorts because it’s an English tradition that only older boys and men wear pants. What a young boy in the royal family wears dates back to a 16th-century tradition. Here are 14 more things you didn’t know about Prince George.

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The Queen Mother tended to be late

It’s true. The family would tell her that dinner was 15 minutes earlier than it was just so she would arrive on time.

On the other hand, here are 10 royal family myths you should never believe.

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Princess Diana’s sister made a special wedding appearance

Lady Jane Fellowes, Prince Harry’s aunt, attended and read the Song of Solomon at his wedding as a way of “helping to celebrate the memory of the late Princess.”

Find out the real reason Princess Diana gave that infamous interview to Martin Bashir.

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Harry and Meghan were the first to invite an American speaker to a royal wedding

Bishop Michael Bruce Curry sparked a historic moment by being the first American to speak at a royal wedding.

Find out what it’s like inside Harry and Meghan’s new Windsor home.

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Meghan Markle wears department store clothes

In her first official outing with Prince Harry in 2018, Meghan wore a black wool sweater from Marks & Spencer.

Don’t miss these photos showing Meghan Markle’s stunning transformation since becoming a royal.

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The Queen has a sweet tooth

After a lavish royal dinner, Queen Elizabeth likes to indulge in chocolate. Dark chocolate to be exact.

Find out 13 foods the Queen eats every day.

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Meghan wasn’t the first to wear her wedding tiara

The tiara Meghan wore down the aisle belonged to Queen Elizabeth II’s grandmother, Queen Mary. Other royal family members who have worn it used a sapphire gem in the middle, while Meghan used a diamond.

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Santa delivers Christmas gifts early for the royal family

Following a German tradition, the royal family opens presents during teatime on Christmas Eve.

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Queen Elizabeth signs Christmas cards “Lilibet”

The royal family sends out 800 Christmas cards during the holidays. The Queen’s cousins have their cards signed with her nickname, “Lilibet,” while politicians and other heads of states have their cards signed “Elizabeth R.” (The “R” stands for “Regina” the Latin word for queen.)

Find out 13 reasons why the Queen will never give up the throne.

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Garlic will never be on the royal menu

Queen Elizabeth II hates the taste and smell of garlic. Here are more fascinating facts about the Queen you probably didn’t know.

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Princess Diana’s engagement ring was called the “commoner’s sapphire”

Princess Diana selected her engagement ring from a Garrad jewelry collection catalog instead of custom making it like many royal brides have in the past.

This is what really happened between Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

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Prince William was the first royal not to start school in the palace

Princess Diana sent her son to Mrs. Jane Mynor’s nursery school at age three, making him the first British royal heir not to start his education in the royal palace. Here are more facts about Prince William you probably didn’t know.

Don’t miss these rarely-seen photos of Princess Diana and Prince William.

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Princess Diana’s first love was ballet

The people’s princess began dancing in Norfolk, England and generously supported the English National Ballet after entering the royal family.

Here are seven fascinating facts you never knew about Princess Diana.

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Kate Middleton broke royal protocol in Germany

Kate Middleton greeted a group of children warm hugs while visiting a charity in Germany. Typically, there is a “handshake” only rule.

Find out the royal record Prince Louis broke the day he was born.

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The royals are outfit repeaters

Repeating outfits is just one of the surprising frugal habits of the royal family.

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The Queen owns gloves from 40 years ago

Each pair of the Queen’s gloves cost around £110 ($140), so she often gets them washed and repaired instead of buying new ones. Her glove maker has been the same since her honeymoon in 1947.

Find out the real reason the Queen always wears gloves.

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The royal family member with the highest net worth isn’t the Queen

The tiny, adorable Princess Charlotte actually holds the crown for the royal family member with the highest net worth with an estimated worth of $5 billion.

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Kate Middleton did her own wedding makeup

She probably chose her own perfume, too.

Find out more tiny details you probably missed at William and Kate’s wedding.

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The royal family doesn’t waste food

Prince Charles and Princess Diana were known to keep leftover food to be included in their next meal.

Here’s what you didn’t know about Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s honeymoon.

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Queen Elizabeth’s purses have a secret meaning

Her Majesty is nearly always photographed with a purse to match her outfit. But instead of just using it to hold personal belongings, the way the Queen holds her purse sends a secret message to her staff.

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The royal family never says these words

To remain proper and not seem like a commoner, the royal family never says these eight words—some include common terms like “pardon,” and “tea!”

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Fruitcake is a royal wedding tradition

Since Queen Victoria was married in 1840 until Prince William and Kate’s wedding in 2011, a traditional English wedding fruitcake has always been served at the celebration. Here are more facts about Queen Victoria that you probably didn’t know.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle broke the wedding cake tradition

The couple served a lemon elderflower cake with buttercream frosting at their royal wedding. Check out more fascinating royal wedding facts.

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There are six to seven ravens living in the Tower of London

King Charles II believed that keeping the ravens protected in the tower would preserve the monarchy.

Check out more unusual royal family traditions you’ve never heard of.

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Prince Charles has people to iron his shoelaces

Prince Charles has three personal valets who are in charge of maintaining his wardrobe. This just happens to include ironing the shoelaces of every shoe he owns.

Find out more bizarre royal jobs that actually exist!

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A bagpipe player wakes the Queen each morning

Every morning from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., a Scottish piper plays under Queen Elizabeth II’s window, per her request.

Check out more surprising things you didn’t know about the Queen.

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Royal luggage is colour coded

To keep the royal luggage secure and organized, the Queen always has a yellow tag, Prince Charles and Prince William will get red, and Princess Anne typically gets green.

Don’t miss the funniest royal family moments in pictures!

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The Queen owns the most swans in the United Kingdom

On the River Thames, Queen Elizabeth has shared ownership of most of the swans that reside there—other swans are owned by the Vintners or Dyers livery companies.

Next, check out the surprising things the Queen actually has the power to do.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest