Top 10 things to know about the royals
With the biggest wedding of 2018 in the books, the British Royals have captured the imagination of the public once more.
Want to learn a few facts about the world’s most famous family? Read on below…
1) They shun shellfish at dinners
Many jump at the opportunity to tuck into a lobster. Its meat, when combined with a side dipper of melted, garlicky butter, is nothing short of heavenly. Just don’t mention this to a royal – chances are, they won’t have any idea what you’re talking about.
Due to food poisoning risks, members of the Royal Family are advised not to consume it, as any resultant illness may interfere with their jam-packed schedule.
2) They are required to travel with one black outfit
State visits, ceremonies, and official tours of countries are just a few of the obligations which lead the British royals to keep a busy travel schedule.
However, their high degree of public visibility poses interesting challenges. One of the biggest: how to deal with the death of a prominent local figure.
To avoid controversy, members of the Royal Family never leave home without at least one black outfit in their bag. This way, they can show respect for the dead from the moment they step off the plane.
3) Everyone must stand when the Queen stands
We probably don’t need to tell you this, but as the monarch of the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II is a pretty big deal.
The solemn importance of this office has been cemented over the years via an unspoken rule: when the Queen stands, you should stand as well.
Viewed as representing all that is great in Britain, it is a show of respect for what this monarch – and all who have come before her – have done for this nation and the Commonwealth.
4) The board game Monopoly cannot be played
In 2008, a well-meaning commoner presented Prince Andrew with a board game as a gift. Taken aback at the seemingly normal gesture, he politely refused to accept this token of gratitude. Why?
The gift offered was Monopoly, a highly competitive board game. At some point in the past, a game sparked a great deal of acrimony among members of the Royal Family.
Since then, a rule prohibiting any member from playing it was instituted to preserve harmony and cordiality.
5) When the Queen switches her purse from one hand to the other – conversation’s over
Speaking with the Queen can be a stressful endeavour – after all, what does one say to the most powerful woman in the world?
Most people get it right and end up in Elizabeth’s good books. However, should she shift per purse from one hand to the other, look out – it’s a signal to her staff to swoop in and shuttle her away from you.
Respect her time and avoid causing offence, and this fate can be avoided.
6) No one can continue eating after the Queen has finished her meal
Have the good fortune of attending a state dinner with the Queen? Don’t dawdle when eating your Beef Wellington – the second Elizabeth has had her fill, everyone else is done as well.
That isn’t all – when she pauses mid-meal, you must also do the same. This rule, like standing for Her Majesty when she rises, is meant to highlight the respect her office is to be afforded.
7) They are forbidden to sign autographs
In the minds of most commoners, the Royals are celebrities, much like Adele or David Beckham. However, the Royals don’t think of themselves in this light, and they are forbidden from acting in that manner.
This includes granting autographs – like other common celebrity behaviours, such acts devalue the haughty position of the Royal Family, so they are prohibited.
8) They have no last name (technically)
Don’t bother trying to look up Prince Harry’s name in the phone book. While he can’t be found there for obvious reasons, there’s another snag to consider – he and every member of the Royal Family lack a last name.
Officially, at least.
Because they have long been the most recognizable figures in the Commonwealth, there had never been a need for anyone of noble blood to have a surname.
These days, though, when a member of the Royal Family needs a surname to complete certain functions, they use Montbatten-Windsor, a surname which combines their Royal House with the pre-royal surname of Prince Phillip, Elizabeth II’s husband.
9) All members must get the Queen’s approval before proposing marriage
Before Prince Harry could proclaim his intention to take Meghan Markle’s hand in marriage last year, he had one massive hurdle to jump first.
He had to ask the Queen for permission.
Occupying one of the six spots in line to the throne, he did so to comply with a centuries-old tradition.
Furious at who his brothers married, King George III compelled Parliament to pass an act in 1772 which compelled future royals to seek the permission of the reigning monarch before proposing.
Given who Meghan Markle is (an American and a person of colour), the need to ask the Queen came as a surprise to many, but in reality, the act simply honoured a law on the books and what has become a time-honoured tradition.
10) Public displays of affection between members are not permitted
Can’t wait to see Harry and Meghan holding hands on their honeymoon, or even stealing a quick smooch? Prepare to be disappointed.
While they broke protocol during their wedding by holding hands, it is not likely to happen again any time soon. As a royal, such public displays of affection are frowned upon, as they are behaviours unbecoming of a person of their stature.
That said, Prince Harry has developed a reputation for being a different breed of royal over the years, so keep watching – you might get to witness a cheeky kiss between them after all.