Think you know everything there is to know about the British royal family? Think again. While it seems as if the royal family members are often in the spotlight, they really aim to lead private lives away from the flashes of paparazzi photogs. Some of the lesser-known facts about Britain’s most-honored family are as interesting as they are curious.
The queen loves Scottish country dancing. When the queen pays her yearly visit to Balmoral Castle, she hosts the Gillies’ Ball for her staff members, neighbors, guests and members of the community, where she and her friends cut a rug with Scottish jigs. Charles, the Prince of Wales, is an avid water-colorist, organic gardener and “Doctor Who” fan. When he’s not painting, he’s hedge laying at Home Farm. Prince William joined the Royal Military Academy after graduating from St. Andrews University and earned his wings as a Royal Air Force Search and Rescue Pilot in 2010. Prince Harry is a huge rugby fan and plays polo competitively and to raise money for various charities.
4 Royal Stipends
The public in the United Kingdom provides the Crown Estate about £211 million per year. This amount doesn’t include the cost of the queen’s salary for her royal duties, security, upkeep of the palaces and estates, travel expenses and the queen’s Privy Purse. “The Independent” reports that the queen’s public purse is £36.2 million a year and Prince Philip receives £359,000 annually. The queen’s private funds pay for royal annual allowances, like £249,000 to the Duke of York, £141,000 to the Earl of Wessex and £228,000 to the Princess Royal. Since she was short on cash, Her Royal Highness opened the doors to Buckingham Palace to the public in 1993 to help pay for repairs to Windsor Castle, which suffered fire damage. To keep it real, Prince William and his wife Kate do not have any house servants, which will save the public some expenses.
Queen Victoria is the great-grandmother of Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. In addition to being third cousins, the two are also second cousins once removed because they share direct ancestry with Christian IX of Denmark. The two married Nov. 20, 1947 and had four children. While their marriage is long-lived, Her Royal Highness is the first British monarch to have three divorced children.
2 Royal Names
The Royal Family doesn’t have an official last name. Instead, they are usually known by a royal house. For example, Prince William, the queen’s grandson, is the Duke of Cambridge. Some members of the royal family didn’t even use their original names when they sat on the throne. Queen Victoria was born Princess Alexandrina of Kent and King George VI was born Prince Albert, Duke of York. Even Prince Harry’s real name isn’t Harry; it’s Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales.
1 The Queen’s Birthday
The world celebrates the queen’s birthday every year on a Saturday late in June, but her real birthday is on April 21, 1926. The reason for the late celebration is so the empire can enjoy the “Trooping the Color Parade,” or birthday parade, when there is good weather. After all, birthday parades and their following garden celebrations are no fun when it’s raining. In 2006, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 80th birthday and is the second British monarch after Queen Victoria to celebrate a diamond jubilee.