Myths and Superstitions The Royal Family Doesn’t Dare Break
The British royal family has been around for centuries and with that comes lots of traditions, as well as a fair share of superstitions and myths. Some of them sound ridiculous, but woe to the royal who dare break them! We’ve collected some of the most interesting royal family habits that we could find, just for you. This list will also bust a few myths and locate the source of some of the strangest royal traditions. From magical crown jewels to haunted castles, this family has a curious belief tied to almost everything imaginable. Read on to find out about the most interesting myths and superstitions that surround the British royal family.
1. Coronation Day
The coronation of a monarch is the day a king or queen is officially crowned, but it’s also shrouded in superstition. The day is extremely extravagant and the entire world is watching, so it’s essential that nothing goes wrong.
If something does go wrong, it’s said to be a bad omen and mark the royal’s reign as cursed. Now that’s a lot of pressure. Careful not to let that crown fall off your head! But we guess being a royal, in general, is a lot of pressure to begin with.
2. The Queen Is a Binge Drinker?
A myth started swirling in 2017 that Queen Elizabeth II drank at least four cocktails a day. Apparently, it all started because her personal chef was misquoted. He was simply listing the queen’s favorite drinks, not necessarily what she drinks each day.
The chef quickly corrected the mistake. “I’m pretty confident she doesn’t have four drinks a day,” said Darren McGrady, the queen’s former personal chef, in an interview with Reader’s Digest. “She’d be pickled,” he added.
3. Prince Charles And Eggs
A book called On Royalty was published in 2006 and claimed that Prince Charles has seven eggs boiled for him each morning, then from which he would only choose one to eat, allowing him to choose the perfect egg.
This myth lasted for six years until he finally set the record straight on his website’s FAQ section. “Does The Prince of Wales have seven boiled eggs cooked for his breakfast but only eat one, as claimed in Jeremy Paxman’s book ‘On Royalty’?” the question asked. The answer? “No, he doesn’t and never has done, at breakfast or any other time.”
4. Shellfish Superstition
Another strongly held tradition that has become a superstition is about what the royals are and aren’t allowed to eat in public. No royal is allowed to eat shellfish in public out of the fear that someone will have a bad reaction or get food poisoning.
Queen Elizabeth II takes this rule very seriously as she wants to make sure that all of the royals are in good health and keep up appearances but some others don’t take the rule as seriously. Rebellious Prince Charles has been known to break this rule, as well as Kate Middleton.
5. Royal Wedding Dates
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle just recently broke this superstition. According to the royal family, marrying in the month of May is a terrible omen that the marriage will not last, or something terrible will happen to the couple.
The superstition goes, “Marry in May and rue the day.” Prince Harry and Meghan married on May 19th, so it looks like maybe this superstition has fallen to the wayside. Or maybe their marriage will be cursed… Guess we’ll have to wait and find out. Good luck, you two!
6. Royal Ghosts
In such an ancient family with so many castles, there are bound to be a few ghosts haunting the halls. One ghost that is commonly believed to be haunting both her childhood home and Windsor Castle is Queen Anne Boleyn.
Queen Anne Boleyn was supposedly executed for “adultery, incest and plotting to kill the king” but some say that she was really accused of witchcraft. Numerous people have reported seeing her ghost on the eve of the date she was executed, May 19th, the same date that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle married.
7. Can’t Fly Together
There is an unofficial rule that has become a superstition about how royals are allowed to travel, that being no two heirs to the throne should be on the same plane together, God forbid something were to happen.
The Queen, however, has been a bit lax about this rule. She has allowed Prince William and his family to travel together on a plane multiple times in the past few years, perhaps given that their children are so young.
8. Locking Of The Gates
The Ceremony of the Keys is a 700-year-old tradition that has been kept around due to the superstition that if the Tower of London, where the crown jewels are kept, isn’t locked every night before the clock strikes ten, something terrible will happen, despite modern security technology.
During the ceremony, a Chief Warder arrives at the tower and proclaims to the Sentry that he has Queen Elizabeth’s keys. Every evening around 40 to 50 people are admitted in to see the ceremony. Tickets are free but they are generally sold out for at least a year in advance.
9. Royal Ravens
The Tower of London is home not only to the crown jewels but also at least six captive ravens. The ravens are believed to protect the Crown and the tower. There is even an official Ravenmaster that tends to the birds.
The superstition goes, “if the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it.” Sounds pretty dramatic for just a few birds, but ok… The tradition is largely believed to have started during the reign of King Charles II (1660-1685).
10. A Royal Hostage
One superstition that you might find odd takes place during the State Opening of Parliament ceremony. The Queen or King arrives to parliament in their bejeweled crown for an extravagant ceremony, but before that happens, they take a “hostage.”
The hostage is a Member of Parliament and the practice started during the days when the parliament and the monarch weren’t on the best of terms. So they took a hostage to ensure the Crown’s protection. The practice is still kept today out of tradition and the hostage is kept at Buckingham Palace until the meeting is over.
11. The Royal Touch
Since the inception of the British Royal Family, it was commonly believed that the King or Queen was appointed by God and due to their close relationship, had magical healing powers, meaning that they could heal the sick or ailing by a mere touch.
The practice of “the royal touch” is believed to have started back in 1042 under the rule of King Edward the Confessor, who was canonized as a saint by Pope Alexander III in the year 1161. But don’t go trying to touch a royal! It’s strictly forbidden.
12. An Emergency Airstrip
There are lots of security protocols in place to make sure that the Queen and royal family are protected. But one myth about Buckingham Palace just isn’t true. That’s the myth that the 0.58-mile road leading up to the palace can double as an airstrip.
That would certainly be cool, but unfortunately it isn’t true. The road is far too short for any modern aircraft to land or take off and the street is lined with obstacles, such as trees and light posts. Helicopters, however, do sometimes land on the palace lawn.
13. A Morbid Superstition
This superstition has to do with what clothes a royal must travel with, which includes a black outfit for mourning. Every member of the royal family must travel with such an outfit just in case someone dies and they have to return to the country in mourning.
This tradition started in 1952. King George VI died and Queen Elizabeth II (who wasn’t queen yet) had no mourning outfit with her, so she was forced to return to the UK in the clothes she brought for the trip. She did, however, stay on the plane until proper mourning clothes were brought to her. Today, there is a superstition that if a royal doesn’t travel with mourning clothes, someone will surely die.
14. Queen Elizabeth I
A huge myth surrounding the British royal family is that Queen Elizabeth I, also known as the Virgin Queen, who reigned from 1558 to 1603, was actually a man. Rumor has it that during her childhood she fell ill in the countryside and passed away.
Then, not wanting to anger King Henry VIII, she was replaced by her caretakers with a boy around the same age because there were no girls available. The myth was even published by author Bram Stoker, which he believed to be true.
15. The Queen Has No Power
A common misconception about the Crown is that the Queen is just a figurehead and doesn’t hold any actual power but that isn’t true. In fact, she is Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and can even declare war on another country.
The Queen also appoints the Prime Minister in the event of a general election or a resignation. Oh, and she is above the law. She can’t be prosecuted under British law, she can drive without a license and can issue pardons.
16. Is The Queen Home?
Many people believe that if the Union Jack is flying above the palace then the queen is home. But that isn’t the case. The Union Jack does not signify that the queen is present. The flag that signifies this is actually the Royal Standard.
If the Union Jack is flying then that means that the queen is away, while if the Royal Standard is flying then the queen is present. The Royal Standard can be identified by its red, gold and blue colors.
17. Never Prince Charles
There is a popular belief that Prince Charles could be skipped over in the line of succession to the throne because of Prince William’s popularity. But, as it turns out, Queen Elizabeth II doesn’t actually have the power to choose her successor.
Prince Charles is next in line to the throne and is unlikely to abdicate, which would go against royal tradition. And if there is anything we know that the royals love, it’s sticking with tradition whether rain or shine.
18. The Royal Quarters
Many people assume that the queen stays at Buckingham Palace while she is in London, but that’s actually a misconception. There is a superstition surrounding a monarch that stays at the lavish palace that says its ‘bad form.’
That’s because the palace is so extravagant and a tourist hot spot. So the queen, when in London, usually stays at another residence nearby called St. James Place. Read on for more interesting royal family myths and superstitions.
19. The Queen and Taxes
Lots of people think that the queen doesn’t pay taxes, but in fact, the opposite is true. The queen has voluntarily paid income tax and capital gains tax since 1993. She pays taxes just like any other regular citizen would.
She even pays property taxes on Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Balmoral Castle and Sandringham Estate. While the queen isn’t legally required to pay taxes, she does. The royal finances are also some of the most scrutinized in the UK, going through at least three forms of audits.
20. Wearing the Crown
No, the queen doesn’t wear her crown all the time. Some people would suspect that she would wear it at every given opportunity, but that’s not the case. The only time Queen Elizabeth II wears her crown is during the annual State Opening Of Parliament.
The queen actually avoids wearing her crown as much as possible due to its weight. She says that wearing the crown for extended periods of time actually makes her neck ache. It might be beautiful and jewel-encrusted, but it only gets worn once a year.
21. Buckingham Palace Guards
Lots of people believe the myth that the Buckingham Palace guards are actually actors, which couldn’t be further from the truth. All the guards are soldiers in Her Majesty’s Royal Army and come from one of the five infantry regiments.
They actually only spend half of their time doing ceremonial guard duty. The other half is spent being regular infantry soldiers. So theoretically, one week they could be guarding Buckingham Palace and the next week they could be shipped off to war.
22. The Queen of England
It might surprise you to hear, but there hasn’t been a “Queen of England” in almost 400 years. That’s because Queen Elizabeth II isn’t just the queen of England but also of the United Kingdom and the other countries in the Commonwealth.
So, in fact, calling her the queen of England can be taken as an insult to Her Majesty’s non-English subjects all around the world and in the United Kingdom itself, such as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
23. Their Gemstones
Royals always seem to be dripping in jewels but you might be interested to know that it’s not all for show. Royal jewels are said to have magical and mysterious powers, a belief that has been held since medieval times.
Royal jewels are kept in the royal family for generations and sapphires particularly are said to increase devotion and loyalty as well as increase prosperity and stability. Read on for some more interesting royal superstitions and myths.
Emeralds are a stone that is precious to the Crown for many reasons, not just because it’s a precious jewel. The green stones are said to bring prosperity, love and foresight to a ruler that wears them.
Queen Elizabeth II has numerous crowns and jewels that feature the stone. She even has a tiara lined with teardrop emeralds. Read on to find out more interesting myths and superstitions about the British royal family.
25. Don’t Touch Them
If you ever meet the Queen or another one of the royals, you should know NEVER to touch them. A polite handshake is acceptable but only if they offer their hand first. Numerous minor scandals have occurred due to people breaking or not being aware of this rule.
One such media storm was ignited when basketball player LeBron James put his arm around Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. ”From medieval times, monarchs were divinely appointed to rule by God, so they were kind of seen as gods, so they demanded to be treated as gods,” one royal scholar pointed out.
26. The Pricking
The Pricking is an unusual ceremony where the Queen or King chooses high sheriffs, a ceremonial role that is chosen for each county in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Crown chooses the high sheriffs by pricking names off a piece of paper with a sewing needle.
The practice is believed to be an ancient custom started by Queen Elizabeth I when she didn’t have a pen, so instead, she just pricked the name with a sewing needle. The practice is still upheld to this very day.
27. Rare spiders under Windsor Castle
There is a superstition that swarms of rare spiders live under Windsor Castle. But these rumored spiders aren’t just your normal garden spider. They are said to be nine centimeters wide, highly venomous and have jaws capable of piercing human flesh.
The rumor started back in 2001 when engineers were inspecting the utility tunnels under the massive castle. Apparently though, the rumors were found to be false, but they had the media in a frenzy for a while. But who knows what really lies under the ancient castle…
28. Paying The Rent
None of the royals actually pay rent, but one of them symbolically pays the rent in an annual ceremony held at Windsor Castle every June. That royal is the Duke of Wellington, currently Arthur Charles Valerian Wellesley. This is done because the house was originally bought by the people of the United Kingdom as a gift.
The people purchased the house for him in return for his victory at the Battle of Waterloo. Every year he presents the queen with an embroidered French flag as payment for the Stratfield Saye House, which has been home to the Duke of Wellington since 1817.
29. The ‘Royal We’
For hundreds of years, the subjects of the Crown have believed that the monarch was appointed by God himself and would speak with the voice of God. It’s from this superstition that we get the Majestic Plural, also known as the “Royal We”.
But the times have changed and the Sovereign no longer consider themselves connected directly to God like in the olden days. Nowadays, the “Royal We” is used only in formal circumstances, such as in Parliament and official letters.
30. St. Edward’s Crown
There is no jewel more precious than the royal crown itself and it is shrouded in superstition. The St. Edward’s Crown weighs almost five pounds and is encrusted with 444 precious and semi-precious stones. Queen Elizabeth II wore the crown on her coronation day.
The crown worn by the monarch after her coronation is the Imperial State Crown which is encrusted with 2,901 precious stones. The Imperial State Crown is used during the annual state opening of parliament. The crown is said to bring great power to the king or queen who wears it.
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