The British royal family has always been a subject of approbation. The family personifies grace, grandeur and greatness.
Everyone in the family from Her Majesty, the queen to the adorable princess Charlotte are keenly observed by the media. However like any other family, the regality too has its traditions and hole-and-corner ceremonies.
So, here we are, letting the cat out of the bag and sharing with you a few fun facts about the Royal Family gathered with a lot of avidity.
1.) The Flying Soldier
The famous Tower of London is also home to some of the most perplexing customs in the world. Thanks to a decree by King Charles II, at least 6 ravens must be kept at the Tower of London – a move made by the King when he considered doing away with the Tower ravens and was warned by a courtier, “if the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it.”
The ravens however, are more than mere residents at the Tower. They are officially enlisted as soldiers!
2.) The ‘Pricking’ ceremony
Every year, during a meeting of the Privy Council, The Queen will choose High Sheriffs in a ceremony called ‘pricking’, during which she will choose names off the list by piercing it with a bodkin – an implement used for sewing.
This unusual tradition is believed to have started by the first Queen Elizabeth who, when asked to mark her choice for High Sheriffs whilst she was doing embroidery, decided to use a bodkin to mark the names as she didn’t have a pen in hand. It’s a tradition that continues to this day!
3.) Holding Hostage
Prior to The Queen arriving at the State Opening, the Royal Household traditionally takes a Member of Parliament as a hostage in exchange for The Queen’s safe return.
This tradition dates back to the days when the Monarch and Parliament didn’t get on so well and in order to ensure the well being of the Sovereign whilst in Parliament, the Royal Household insisted on taking a hostage. The hostage, who is usually a Government official, is taken to Buckingham Palace for the duration of the ceremony where he or she is well looked after by Palace staff.
4.) Dine Whine
The Palace steward stands behind the Queen. As soon as she put down her knife and fork from the first course, he would hit the button for the lights to signal the footmen to come in. The course was over and they’d start clearing — even if you hadn’t finished.
5.) Whats in the name?
Prince Harry’s full name is Henry Charles Albert David Mountbatten Windsor (Phew!). Harry is just a simpler nickname.
6.) No voting rights
The reason the royal family can’t have a say in these kinds of matters is because their vote could easily influence public opinion in an unfair way. Instead, they get in front of scandals and focus on cooperating with the ruling party and keeping political matters running smoothly.
7.) They cannot play Monopoly.
This was hinted at by Prince Andrew, Duke of York, while he was making a public appearance several years ago and was presented with the property trading game. He admitted they were not allowed to play it at home as it could get a little too vicious at times.
8.) They cannot eat shellfish.
This is more of a precaution rather than an actual rule. Some royals, including the Queen, choose not to eat shellfish and some other types of seafood whatsoever to avoid allergic reactions or food poisoning. Others, like Prince Charles, will gladly slurp an oyster.
9.) The canine connection
During her reign as queen, Elizabeth II has owned more than 30 Welsh corgis.
According to the monarchy’s official website, “For her eighteenth birthday, The Queen was given a Corgi named Susan from whom numerous successive dogs were bred.”
10.) Short and sweet
There’s a tradition among the upper class, aristocracy and royals to dress young boys in shorts.
Although times are (slowly) changing, a pair of trousers on a young boy is considered quite middle class – quite suburban. And no self-respecting royal would want to be considered suburban. So now you know why prince George, the little royal always wears shorts.
Feel free to add on to this list of these rather interesting facts!!
Till then stay tuned to TMN for your daily dose of nothingness!