Myths and rumors are funny things. Although their origins are often quickly forgotten, they persist, year after year, decade after decade. And while most families are unlikely to find themselves impacted by persistent myths, Britain's royal family just can't seem to escape them. In fact, myths about the royal family range from truly bizarre to downright silly.
Although Britain's royal family spend much of their lives in the public eye, myths and rumors regarding their past, behaviors, rules, and homes continue to survive. Whether about silly things like what members of the royal family like to eat or drink or more serious matters such as the order of succession, royal family myths remain popular topics of debate both online and in person.
Perhaps it's the history, intrigue, and tradition that surrounds the royal family that propels these myths' continued existence? Or perhaps it's just the fact that everybody loves a good story now and again. Whatever the reason, myths about the royal family are likely to continue to mislead thousands of people year after year.
From who's got the power to rules about pantyhose, here are 12 myths about the royal family — and what makes them myth instead of fact:
Queen Elizabeth I Wasn't Really A Woman
While it's unclear how the claim first began, a myth arguing Queen Elizabeth I had been replaced by a village boy at a young age — thus making the infamous queen actually a man in disguise — were perpetuated by one famous author. According to Historic Mysteries, Irish author Bram Stoker not only believed that Elizabeth I was actually an illegitimate grandson of Henry VIII, but also wrote up the myth as fact in his book Famous Imposters.
The Queen Tosses Back 4 Drinks Every Day
Two years ago, the myth that Queen Elizabeth II was a heavy, daily drinker was spurred after Darren McGrady, the queen's former chef, was misquoted in an article as saying she drank four cocktails everyday. In an effort to bust the myth he'd accidentally started, McGrady later told Reader's Digest that he'd been discussing cocktails the queen was known to like, not detailing her daily drinks. "I'm pretty confident she doesn't have four drinks a day," he told the magazine. "She'd be pickled."
Queen Elizabeth II Will Prevent Prince Charles From Taking The Throne
For years, the current royal family has been plagued with rumor that Queen Elizabeth II would prevent her eldest son from sitting on the throne. In recent years, however, the royal family have worked especially hard to put that rumor to rest once and for all, clarifying that no reigning monarch has the power to choose their successor. Instead, Britain's 1701 Act of Settlement specifies that the throne passes to a monarch's direct successor and cannot in fact, skip a generation. What's more, People has reported that it's "highly unlikely" that Prince Charles would opt to abdicate the throne to his eldest son, Prince William, in the event of the queen's death.
Venomous Spiders Live Under Windsor Castle
In 2001, a number of British papers and tabloids reported that hoards of large, venomous spiders "with jaws strong enough to puncture human skin" had been found living under Windsor Castle. Although the spiders weren't a complete myth, Reader's Digest later reported that the spiders discovered under Windsor Castle were "a totally ordinary species, harmless, and only about four centimeters."
The Queen Doesn't Allow Kate Or Meghan To Wear Wedges In Her Presence
In 2015, Vanity Fair had reported that Queen Elizabeth II forbade her granddaughter-in-laws from wearing wedges in her presence, claiming the queen reportedly thought them to be "clumsy looking" and was known not the be a fan of the style. Although it took a few years, MSN was finally able to dispel this royal family myth after spotting Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, wearing a pair of Castañer wedge sandals in front of the queen.
Prince Charles Starts The Day With Seven Eggs
The official website for the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall sought to clear up a series of quandaries in 2012, including rumors regarding Charles' breakfast habits. According to NPR, Jeremy Paxman claimed in 2006 that Prince Charles ordered seven eggs every morning but ate only one. "Prince Charles has not asked that seven eggs be boiled for his breakfast, only to eat just the one that pleases him most," the prince's official website reportedly detailed, adding that he had never made such a request "at breakfast or any other time."
The Queen Has No Power
Although it's not clear exactly how or when rumors regarding Queen Elizabeth's supposed lack of power started, they remain unsubstantiated as the queen does in fact have powers — royal prerogative powers, in fact. The queen retains "a collection of executive powers and privileges" as the reigning monarch, according to The Culture Trip. These include things like the power to summon or suspend parliament, appoint the prime minister following a general election, remove or appoint ministers, or issue a royal veto on legislation approved by parliament, to name only a few.
Kate Middleton Absolutely Loves Almond Milk
In 2018, multiple media outlets, including People, TODAY, and Delish, noted that the Duchess of Cambridge was finally putting rumors regarding her supposed love of almond milk to rest after a cafe specifically set the beverage out for her. "Don’t believe everything you read, I don't even like almond milk," a woman involved with the charity that operates the cafe told People magazine Middleton said when presented with almond milk.
Baby Archie Could Be The First U.S. President Who Is Also A Royal
The birth of baby Archie, son of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, spurred rumors that the young royal could ultimately grow up to become the first U.S. president to also be a member of Britain's royal family. And while it's true that baby Archie was more than likely born a U.S. citizen due to his mother's citizenship status, The Washington Post explained that he'd need more than just an election victory to become the first royal U.S. president; Archie would need to receive an exemption from Congress or risk violating the Constitution's foreign emoluments clause, which states that "no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State."
The Mall In London Is Actually An Emergency Airstrip For Royals
In covering royal myths, Reader's Digest reported that some believe The Mall, a road leading from (or to) Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square, in London was built as an emergency airstrip capable of speedily evacuating members of the royal family by aircraft if ever needed. But both Readers' Digest and The Guardian have dispelled this myth, noting that The Mall makes a poor runway as it's "about a mile too short for any modern aircraft, and is lined by lampposts and buildings that would make takeoff impossible," according to Reader's Digest.
Pantyhose Are A Job Requirement
While a number of women within the royal family are often spotted wearing pantyhose, the nude or tan-colored tights are not actually a requirement for women of the royal family, as has often been reported. "There are no rules for royal women regarding pantyhose," Marlene Koenig, a royal expert and founder of the Royal Musings blog, told Harper's Bazaar in 2018 after the Duchess of Sussex was spotted without pantyhose.
A Union Jack Flag At Buckingham Palace Means The Queen Is Home
Although many believe that a Union Jack flag flying over Buckingham Palace is a signal that the queen is home, this tidbit is actually a myth. In fact, Buckingham Palace has said that the queen's absence from the palace is marked by the Union Jack flying in place of the Royal Standard. "The Royal Standard is flown only when the Sovereign is present," the royal family's official webpage explains. "If the Union Jack is flying above Buckingham Palace instead of the Standard, The Queen is not in residence." The Royal Standard is flown whenever and wherever the queen (or current sovereign) is in residence.