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Ironed Shoelaces, Catching Bats & 18 Other Surprising Facts About The Royal Family

There are always a lot of odd rumors that float around about anyone who is famous — and the British royal family is certainly no exception. Remember the one that went around in 2018 about how Prince Charles travels with his own personal toilet seat? That one turned out to be false, but it didn’t really matter. There are still plenty of surprising facts about the royal family that have been proven to be true that the mystery of this great family remains intact.

There are so many rules and regulations about appearing in public that it can be difficult to know if the way someone is behaving is because it’s their preference, or because they’ve been told that’s the royal code. For the royal family, there are definitely some strange traditions. From traveling with one’s own supply of blood to catching bats in a castle, the Queen is the one who wins in any test to determine who the most fascinating family member might be.

But the Queen certainly isn’t alone. Read on to learn 20 wild and surprising facts about the royal family across the pond that never fails to fascinate people from all across the globe.

Private Clubs

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In 1937, a special club of the Girl Guides — similar to the Girl Scouts — was formed at Buckingham Palace just for then-Princess Elizabeth, according to Southern Living, adding that the club was re-established from 1959 to 1963 for Princess Anne.

Christmas Gags

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They royals are apparently encouraged to give one another gag gifts at Christmas since, you know, they can pretty much just buy or get anything they want. One year, for example, Prince Charles reportedly received a white leather toilet seat from his sister Princess Anne, and Sarah Ferguson received a leopard print bath mat from Princess Diana, according to Town & Country.

Free To Move About The Country

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You might be surprised to learn that the Queen doesn’t have a driver’s license, according to The Daily Express. Though other members of the family are still required to earn theirs, the Queen doesn’t have to have a license or even a passport, the New York Post reported. The logic is simple: the documents are issued in the name of the Queen, so it wouldn’t really make sense for her to give them to herself.

No Autographs

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Despite being some of the most popular people in the world, royals are not allowed to sign autographs, according to Reader's Digest. That’s to keep someone from using the signature for forgery. Meghan Markle dodged around this rule for some school girls, whose autograph book she signed “Hi Kaitlin,” leaving off her own name, as TIME reported.

The Queen's Cute Nickname

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The sovereign goes by, or used to go by, the sweet nickname Lilibet, according to Business Insider. As with so many nicknames, this one came about because she couldn’t pronounce her name, Elizabeth, as a child.

Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip Are Actually Related

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Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are actually third cousins, according to The Daily Express. Both of them are great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Catching Bats?

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When staying at her Scottish home, Balmoral Castle, the Queen apparently likes to make a game of catching the bats that live in the lofty heights of the great hall, according to Latin Times. The bats are protected under law as that is their natural habitat, so she just does it for fun. She supposedly uses a net on a long pole and ropes a footman in to help her, the Latin Times reported.

Wedding Cake Rules

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The traditional cake served at royal weddings is fruitcake (yes, really!), according to Food & Wine, but some people like to sneak around that interesting choice. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle broke the rule when they ordered up a lemon elderflower cake with buttercream frosting, Town & Country reported.

Princess Diana's First Love

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It wasn’t a man, it was dance. The people’s princess fell hard for ballet when she was just a child and dreamed of one day dancing with the Royal Ballet, according to Reader’s Digest. At 5’11” tall, she grew too tall for the style but never lost her love for it; according to Town & Country, she was a patron of the English National Ballet.

Never Too Old To Be Young

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Kate Middleton may be the Duchess of Cambridge, but that doesn’t stop her from enjoying a bit of relaxation now and then. In an interview with the Press Association, illustrator Johanna Basford said Prince William told her that his wife enjoyed coloring in adult coloring books from time to time, according to Southern Living.

Not A Teetotaler

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One would think the staid matriarch of this great family might abstain from drinking, but that’s far from the case. The Queen reportedly partakes in gin and Dubbonet before lunch and drinks wine with her lunch meal, according to The Independent, and in the evening she may enjoy a glass of champagne and a dry martini.

The Young Royals' Impact On The Economy

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Even the littlest of royals have a big impact on the economy, primarily as families rush out to buy the same outfits they’ve seen their favorite little royals wearing. According to Reader’s Digest, Princess Charlotte’s impact on the economy weighs in at $5 billion while Prince George’s mark lands at $3.6 billion. Thank all those adorable outfits her mom dresses her in.

Earned With Honors

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Prince William is perhaps the most educated heir to the throne ever. He holds a Scottish Master of Arts degree — the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree — in geography from St. Andrews University, and he matriculated with honors, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Well-Educated Women

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Although Princess Diana worked as a teacher prior to her marriage to Prince Charles, she never earned a college degree. That honor went to Kate Middleton, the first bride in the family to graduate college, according to O Magazine, which reported that she earned a masters in art history from the University of St. Andrews.

Birthdays Are Twice As Nice

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The Queen was born on April 21, 1926 and celebrates the day with friends and family. But a lavish celebration to mark the birthday of the monarch has been going on since the days of King George II in 1748. That happens on the second Saturday of June and it comes with a military parade called Trooping the Colour, according to the BBC. King George started the tradition because he wanted a big public affair on his birthday and the real month, November, didn’t have suitable weather, the BBC explained.

Ironed Shoelaces & More

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Prince Charles is a man accustomed to a certain standard in life, according to the documentary Serving the Royals: Inside the Firm. A former butler shared that he apparently has his pajamas pressed every morning, his shoelaces are ironed, and his valets place exactly one inch of toothpaste on his toothbrush every morning, the Daily Mail reported.

A Bizarre Christmas Tradition

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If someone told most of us to get on a scale at Christmas dinner there might be a family fight. But the royals all have to weigh themselves both before and after the meal, according to The Sun. It’s a tradition dating back to King Edward VII, according to INSIDER, who worried that guests weren’t eating well enough.

Have Royal Blood, Will Travel

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The Queen often travels with a supply of blood, according to The Telegraph. That sounds macabre, perhaps, but it’s a reasonable accommodation for a head of state when traveling to somewhere that might have a problem with the safety or availability of their blood supply. She also takes a Royal Navy doctor with her, according to Hello! Magazine.

No Sore Feet

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Those colorful but sensible heels that the queen is often spotted wearing? She’s not the first person to have worn them. The monarch has someone who breaks in new shoes for her so she doesn’t have to suffer blisters or sore feet, according to Reader’s Digest.

They're Well Trained…

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… And not just in the ways of decorum and diplomacy. Scenario training in the case of an abduction comes with a position in the family. Meghan Markle recently underwent a course conducted by the British Royal Army’s Special Air Service to learn what to do in the event of a kidnapping, according to Newsweek.

Actually when you think about the reasons behind these facts they prove that this legendary family isn't all that surprising or bizarre after all. Well, some of them...