20 Facts You Didn't Know About The British Royal Family

20 Facts You Didn't Know About The British Royal Family

Are you intrigued by the British royal family? Does their life confuse or possibly amaze you? Well, today we're about to spit out 20 fun facts about them so you can learn even more. Suddenly, this elusive, hard-to-reach family might seem a lot easier to understand.

1. Queen Elizabeth II's World War II Service

Back during World War II, Queen Elizabeth II set aside her royal position as princess to serve the nation. She joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service, also known as the ATS, and worked as both a driver and a mechanic. She was the first female member of the British royal family to be an active, serving member of the country's armed forces!

QueenJoel Rouse/ Ministry of Defence on Wikimedia Commons

2. The Royal Family's Name

While you may be familiar with the last name Windsor when it comes to the royal family, did you know that that wasn't always the case? The surname Windsor actually only came around during World War I! Before this, the royal family's surname was actually Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. That's a mouthful for sure.

1024Px-The Royal Family June 2013Carfax2 on Wikimedia Commons

3. The Queen's Private Wealth

Is it really that surprising learning that the Queen had her own private fortune? She was the head of the royal family after all! From art to jewels and real estate, let's just say Queen Elizabeth II never had to worry about things like money. And now that King Charles is in reign, we can only imagine how his personal collection looks.

Queen Elizabeth Ii In Blue 2013UK Government on Wikimedia Commons

4. The Royal Veto Power

What is the Royal Veto Power you might ask? It simply means that the head of the royal family (previously Queen Elizabeth II and currently King Charles) has the power to veto any legislation the Parliament is trying to pass into law. Though it hasn't happened in a very very long time, the right still technically exists.

1024Px-Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth Ii In Queen Street Mall, Brisbane City, C 1982Queensland State Archives, PDM-owner, via Wikimedia Commons


5. The Monarch Owned All Unmarked Swans

Here's something pretty random - did you know that the current monarch can claim full ownership over all unmarked mute swans? As long as they're swimming in open waters across England and Wales that is. It's a unique tradition that goes back as far as the 12th century.

Belinda-Fewings-9Fjklamd628-UnsplashPhoto by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash

6. The Monarch Does Not Need A Passport

How many times do you double check your bag for your passport before heading to the airport? Probably three times too many, right? Well, if you're the King or Queen of England, that's not something you ever have to be worried about. Because as the monarch, you don't need a passport to travel!

Nicole-Geri-Gmj3Tfolvna-UnsplashPhoto by Nicole Geri on Unsplash

7. Two Birthdays for the Monarch

If you love celebrating your birthday, you'll definitely wish you were the British monarch because that would mean you get two birthdays every year! While one is celebrated as usual, on their actual birth day, the second one is considered an "official celebration." Not only do you get an extra day, you get an entire parade celebrated in your honour too!

1024Px-Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth Ii At The Brisbane Airport, 1982Queensland State Archives, PDM-owner, via Wikimedia Commons

8. Prince Philip's Naval Career

Prince Philip has served very bravely and admirably for his country in previous years. He had quite the respectable career in the navy, joining when he was just a mere 18 years old. But he quickly grew in rank thanks to his skill and patriotism, rising up to First Lieutenant. However, after Queen Elizabeth II had to take the role upon the throne, he had to leave to fulfill his duties to her. He still maintained an ongoing interest and love for the army and navy though!

1024Px-Prince Philip, Titanic Belfast, 2012 (5)Titanic Belfast on Wikimedia Commons

9. The Royal Family’s Tax Volunteering

Although they aren't forced to, the since passed Queen Elizabeth II and now King Charles both agreed to voluntarily pay income taxes since 1993. The reason? They wanted to ease all the public criticism targeted at the royal family and their wealth during a time when the country's economy was unstable.

Charles, Prince Of Wales In 2021 (Cropped) (3)Adam Schultz, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

10. A Secret Speech Prepared for World War III

We pray this never happens, but it was revealed back in 2013 that Queen Elizabeth II had a speech prepared should World War III ever take place. The sad truth is that somehow, it still feels relevant despite having been written many years ago during the Cold War.

Queen Elizabeth Ii Official Portrait For 1959 TourDonald McKague, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


11. Prince Harry's Military Service

Serving in the British Army runs throughout the family! Prince Harry, also known as The Duke of Sussex, served for a lengthy 10 years where he even rose in rank to be Captain. He did tours in Afghanistan where he served as an Apache helicopter co-pilot and gunner, a very serious role which he has expressed experiencing PTSD for.

1024Px-Prince Harry Arlington Visit 130510-A-Vs818-145Sgt. Laura Buchta, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

12. The First Royal Christmas Broadcast

Let's run it back all the way to the 1930s to talk about the very first ever royal Christmas broadcast. Back then, King George V was the monarch and head of state. Ever since he introduced it, this Christmas Broadcast has continued on with every passing monarch, and has become a rather important part of the country's yearly Christmas traditions.

King George V 1911 Color-CropLuke Fildes, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

13. The Royal Train

Imagine being so wealthy and having such a high position as to have your own train. Not just any train, a royal train. First used by Queen Victoria back around the 1840s, it's since been used by many royals. Of course, it's as grand as you'd expect - complete with bedrooms, dining rooms, offices, and comfortable spaces.

1024Px-Queen Victoria By Jje Mayall, 1860John Jabez Edwin Mayal, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

14. A King Who Competed at the Olympics

A cousin to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, King Constantine II of Greece wasn't just a royal figure, he was an athlete too, as it turns out. Having a passion for sailing, he competed in the 1960 Rome Olympics! The even more shocking fact? He won the gold medal for it!

King ConstantineDaffy123on Wikimedia Commons

15. Prince William's University Education

Following the footsteps of King Charles III, who was the first royal to go to university, Prince William decided to enroll at University of St. Andrews where he at first studied art history before switching to geography. This would turn out to be a major decision in his life, because this is where he met his future wife, Kate Middleton.

1024Px-Prince William (9874180764)AD Vedder on Wikimedia Commons

16. Royal Nicknames

Here's a cute and lighthearted fact - Queen Elizabeth II, who was always seen as a rather stoic, calm, and respectable woman, had a cute and fun side too. Since she was little, her father gave her the nickname, Lilibet, which passed on to other family members who continued to call her that till her passing. Queen Lilibet!

1024Px-Queen Elizabeth Ii In December 1953Archives New Zealand on Wikimedia Commons


17. The Hidden Residents of Buckingham Palace

The esteemed Buckingham Palace which is known as the monarch's official place of residence, isn't as lonely and uninhabited as people may think. Turns out it's hosting a great many living things, though they aren't exactly humans. Apparently, it's been reported to be the home of many bats, which the Queen supposedly did not mind during her time.

Sung-Shin-Omldgyftuhy-UnsplashPhoto by Sung Shin on Unsplash

18. The Windsor's Adoption of Welsh Corgis

It's common knowledge that the adorable Welsh Corgis have been a favourite of Queen Elizabeth's for years. Supposedly, she's owned over 30 during the entirety of her reign! That's a lot of corgis to deal with. Here's a bonus fun fact: her first corgi was named Susan and was a gift for her 18th birthday. Here's to hoping King Charles continues this tradition and we continue to see these cute pups around!

Florencia-Potter-Yxmnwxi3Wco-UnsplashPhoto by Florencia Potter on Unsplash

19. Prince Harry's Invictus Games

10 years ago, Prince Harry first founded the Invictus Games, a sporting event that was inspired by the American Warrior Games. This international tournament is dedicated to and is in support of wounded and injured veterans and active soldiers. It's meant to to be a safe, fun, and comforting space for those having trouble to help them find their footing again.

1024Px-Prince Harry During The Road Cycling Events Of The 2018 Invictus Games In Sydney, Australia 03Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Wikimedia Commons

20. King Charles' Linguistic Skills

King Charles has always been respected for his amazing linguistic abilities. He's able to speak pretty fluently in Welsh, French, and even German (of course English too). He has since been able to display his talent for learning languages many times during public events and speeches. It's a nice way to pay respect to the country and people he's speaking to.

512Px-Charles Prince Of WalesMark Jones on Wikimedia Commons