Regardless of what city, country or continent you live in, you have no doubt heard about the Royal Family. From scandals to tragedy, fabrications to amusing anecdotes, they have made headlines and tabloids the world round. Yet even with the amount of media coverage, there are still things we don’t know about them, which, honestly, is probably for the better. Even royalty deserve their privacy. Plus, if movies have taught me anything, it’s that rich families tend to have at least one or two eccentrics among them.
Thankfully nothing truly disturbing has been brought to light. In fact, for the most part they seem rather humble. Princes Harry and William both served time with the military, as well as dedicating their time to volunteer in other countries. Queen Elizabeth takes ‘royal walkabouts’ not in any official capacity, but in fact to meet as many people as possible. Like, real people. Like you or me.
Not only that, they are keeping up with the times. They now have their own website, Twitter, and YouTube channel. Just a shame we never got a Royal Family Harlem Shake… But you already knew that about the Royal Family.
From peculiar royal decrees to pretty neat genealogical ties to famous people across the Atlantic Ocean, here’s 12 Things You Need To Know About The Royal Family.
12 Rich, But Not That Rich
You may think royalty means you can have whatever you want and do whatever you want, not only because of your status, but because of your bulging wallet. Well, this is kind of true, but the royal family is far from the richest in the UK. In fact, with a rough net worth of $550 million, the Queen is about 257th on the list of richest people in the UK. Okay, so that’s still a lot of money, but most of it is from assets she can’t technically sell, such as land belonging to the royal family and other assets.
11 The Royal Fish Decree
According to law, any ‘royal fish’ - whales, sturgeon or dolphin - caught within the waters surrounding the UK automatically belong to the Royal Family. Enacted by Edward II sometime during his reign in the 13th century, it declared just that.
Should you be out fishing on the Bristol Channel, and you land yourself a nice hearty sturgeon, get ready to not eat or profit from it, as when you dock, it will be taken by the Receiver of Wreck and taken to… wherever the family wants.
10 Double Birthday Fun
There are some people who have a birthday right near Christmas, and to them, sometimes it’s almost like having two birthdays. However Queen Elizabeth actually does have two birthdays. No, she wasn’t born twice, that’s impossible. In fact, she celebrates one on her actual birth date - on April 21st - and another ‘official birthday’ held sometime in May or June. The second is a more public celebration for everyone, which also coincides with a parade known as Trooping the Colour.
9 Long Live The Queen
Queen Elizabeth II is the longest reigning monarch of the UK to date, having served the role for nearly 64 years. She is followed closely by Queen Victoria, who ruled for 63 years and 216 days, and King George III, who reigned for 59 years and 96 days. Man, I know people who have a hard enough time keeping a job for a few weeks, let alone for over 60 years.
It doesn’t look like she is going to stop anytime soon either. She’s now 89 years old and has more life in her than most teens these days.
8 Smart Cookie
In 2001, Prince William enrolled at the University of St. Andrew’s in Scotland after taking a tour of Belize, Chile and multiple countries in Africa, volunteering his time to help those in need.
When he graduated in 2005, he received a Scottish Master of Arts degree, as well as an upper second-class honours in geography. This means the the Prince holds the highest degree to ever be given to an heir of the throne.
7 Another Smart Cookie
And William isn’t the only one to hold high academic honours within the family. His wife Kate Middleton also attended the University of St. Andrew’s at the same time as him - in fact, it’s where they met.
She studied Art History and graduated with a degree in the subject, thus making her the first Royal Bride to earn a university degree. With parents like this, I’d expect the youngest additions to the family to have a good head on their shoulders.
6 A Progressive Family
In 2013, it was agreed that the UK would adopt a more progressive approach to the usual male-preference primogeniture, thus making it an absolute primogeniture. Basically what that means is that now, regardless of gender, if you are in line to inherit the throne, you very well could.
“But wait, then how do we have a Queen?” Easy. Queen Elizabeth’s father did not have any sons, therefore she inherited his throne upon his passing. That being said, once the Queen passes, her son Prince Charles is in line to inherit the throne.
5 No Real Last Name
To be honest, I have always wondered what the Queen’s last name is. When I was younger I just assumed it was “The Second.” Well, turns out that with being Queen, you can pretty much make your last name whatever. It started when her father changed it from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Windsor.
After the passing of Queen Mary, she decided to hold onto the Windsor name, but decreed any descendants lacking that style and title would take the last name of Mountbatten-Windsor. Or, if style and title are given, they are recognized as such. That is why both Prince William and Kate don the titles of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
4 Hefty Staff
If you’ve ever seen Buckingham palace close up, or even in the movies, you’ll know that it’s freaking huge. Boasting over 830,000 sq. ft. of floor space, 775 rooms, and roughly 800 staff members to keep it all in line, it lives up to its status as a palace.
Of the staffers, there are cooks, maids, butlers, security, and even two gents to make sure every single one of the 350 clocks and watches within the palace are on time and up to date. That's a whole lot of personnel for a rather small family.
3 She’s Seen Them Come, She’s Seen Them Go
Not only has Queen Elizabeth II been the longest reigning monarch of the UK, she has also lived to see six different Popes elected to the papacy. Now that may not seem like much considering there have been 266 popes since 33. Yes, the year 33.
However, taking into consideration that two of them had some of the longest reigns in the papacy, one with 27 years and the other at 15, it’s impressive to think she has outlasted them. Long Live The Queen.
2 If That Is Your Real Name…
Sometimes people change their names because they aren’t happy with what they were given. Some people change it because it’s related to some heinous acts of the past. Well, the royal family is no different. In fact, many of the monarchs of the UK have used names other than their own.
Once they become King or Queen, they have a choice to what name they would like to rule with. Queen Victoria was originally Princess Alexandrina; King George was Prince Albert, and numerous other have taken up a different moniker.
1 Ties to America
This was actually discovered quite recently. Other than the fact that America claimed independence from England in 1776, there is evidence pointing towards the Duchess of Cambridge being distantly related to the founder of the United States, George Washington, as well as Francis Scott Key, the man who wrote the Star Spangled Banner.
Oh, also that awesome woman who does that talk show thing, with all the guests. You know the one. Um…right! Ellen DeGeneres!