Many of us not living in the United Kingdom find the Royal Family to be mysterious and fascinating. Because of this, it can be easy to fall for untrue stories and facts about the lives they lead. Here are the top ten myths about the British Royal Family.
10. The Queen is a figurehead with no real power
Great Britain is classified as a parliamentary democracy, and it is effectively led by a Prime Minister chosen by voter turnout. However, the Queen does have the power to declare war, distribute orders of knighthood, and appoint the Prime Minister following an election or resignation.
9. The Union flag signals that the Queen must be home
This is close to the truth, but still incorrect. In fact, it is the red, blue, and gold Royal Standard flag that announces her presence at Buckingham Palace. Conversely, if the Union Flag is flying, the Queen is away from the Palace.
8. The Queen doesn’t have to pay taxes
Unfortunately for her, this is not true. While the Crown has a legal tax-exempt status, she has volunteered to pay income taxes on her private income and income from the Privy Purse.
7. Prince Charles will never be King
Many believe that Prince William will be next in line to reign as King, due to his widespread popularity and much younger age. However, the truth is that the Queen has no choice over her successor. Due to royal protocol and long standing tradition, the line of power won’t be changing any time soon!
6. The guards at Buckingham Palace aren’t real soldiers
Not true, and probably a little insulting! All of the guards are indeed British Army soldiers and are from one of the 5 regiments of foot guards. Not only are the guards real – so are their weapons, which are also loaded with very real live ammunition.
5. The Queen has a driver’s license
The Queen is actually the only person in the UK who is not required to have a drivers licence in order to drive a car. She also needs no licence plates on her many vehicles. A crown visible on the sun screen on the car identifies it as part of the Royal fleet.
4. The queen has four cocktails a day
This myth stems from a statement that was misquoted from her former chef, Darren McGrady. He had intended to list out her favorite drinks, and unknowingly implied that the drinks are in her daily routine. He corrected himself after several news sites picked up the story. Four drinks a day would have made her a binge-drinker by her own government standards!
3. The “Queen of England”
There hasn’t been a “Queen of England” in over 400 years! Ever since the Acts of Union, which united Scotland and England, there has only been the Queen of Great Britain and Queen of the United Kingdom.
2. It drives up tourism
While many believe that the royal wedding and jubilee bring together the citizens of England, it doesn’t take long to realize that this simply isn’t true. Most residents do not participate in these events, and even tend to resent the tax dollars spend on the lavish affair. In fact, the UK is among the top 3 European countries with the most active separatist movements, proving that it will take more than a crown to unite it’s people.
Although Americans ousted the British government to establish freedom and democracy, we still have a close bond with their nation today. With that bond comes an intense curiosity about the seemingly medieval practice of having a reigning monarch. With the amount of outlandish tabloid stories and the nonstop flow of questionable information, it can be hard to discern fact from fiction when it comes to this famous family from across the pond. Not everything that you read is as it seems!