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ROYAL FAMILY

90 Facts About the British Royal Family

By Jonathan Mayer
Queen Elizabeth II in 2021.
Queen Elizabeth II in 2021. / Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images
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From how they became the Mountbatten-Windsors to the last person in line to the throne, here are some fascinating things you need to know about the British Royal Family, adapted from an episode of The List Show on YouTube.

1. The surname Mountbatten-Windsor is a product of relatively recent history.

These days, Queen Elizabeth II’s descendants use the surname Mountbatten-Windsor, even though her father was born neither a Mountbatten nor a Windsor. For most of us, our last name is a simple matter, but for the British Royal Family, why and how QEII arrived at Mountbatten-Windsor takes us through over a century of European history and reflects both sweeping geopolitical trends and more personal domestic matters—and it's going to take a few facts to get through it all.

2. The House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha succeeded the House of Hanover.

Queen Victoria.
Queen Victoria. / Photos.com/iStock via Getty Images

When Queen Victoria, from the House of Hanover, died in 1901, Britain’s royal house took the German name of her husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

3. and 4. Prince Albert was Queen Victoria’s first cousin, and their descendants occupied palaces across Europe.

Royal intermarriage was quite normal at that time. Albert was actually Victoria's first cousin. The couple’s descendants would go on to occupy palaces in Greece, Norway, Denmark, Russia, Sweden, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Spain, as well as Germany.

5. and 6. One of Albert and Victoria’s sons became King Edward VII, and his son, King George V, christened his royal house the House of Windsor.

Albert and Victoria had a son who became King Edward VII. Edward (or Bertie, as he was sometimes known) had a son who became King George V. He began his reign less than a decade before the onset of World War I. In 1917, with the war raging and a rising tide of anti-German sentiment in Britain, George abandoned the Germanic House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and christened his royal house The House of Windsor. George V announced that his family would adopt Windsor as its surname, when necessary. Until then, royals merely referred to their house, rather than a last name.

7. Even Prince William has used a last name on occasion.

Referring to a royal house rather than a last name is still the case for members of the family who are entitled to a royal style, such as His Royal Highness. But even Prince William has used a last name on occasion—including when he and his wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, took a tabloid to court for invading their privacy back in 2012.

8. German Gotha bombers contributed to the royal name change.

It wasn’t just a vague anti-German feeling that led to the royal name change. Just a month before the announcement, a German bombing on London’s East End had killed 18 British schoolchildren. The planes that carried out the attack, coincidentally, were known as German Gotha bombers, echoing the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha House of the royal family.

9. and 10. King George V had reigning first cousins in Germany and Russia.

Wilhelm II, Emperor of Germany and King of Prussia.
Wilhelm II, Emperor of Germany and King of Prussia. / The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images

The king's ties to Germany were very real. Kaiser Wilhelm II was actually King George’s first cousin, as was Tsar Nicholas the Second of Russia, incidentally.

11. The name Windsor came from a castle.

Windsor Castle has been an off-and-on home for British royalty since William the Conqueror founded it nearly a millennium ago.

12. Queen Elizabeth II has a long royal lineage.

It goes all the way back through William the Conqueror, the Norman Duke whose conquest of England was an important turning point in European history.

13. Mountbatten is an anglicization of the German Battenberg.

Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Philip, was born into the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg. In 1947, he renounced his rights to the Greek and Danish thrones and adopted the surname of his mother’s side of the family, Mountbatten. That name is an anglicization of the German Battenberg.

14. Elizabeth and Philip were cousins.

AFP/Getty Images

They were cousins through multiple familial ties, in fact. Depending on how you look at it, the husband and wife were either third cousins, or second cousins once removed.

15. and 16. The royal surname was a source of some contention, so a two-surname compromise was struck.

Apparently, the choice of surname caused some tension between the newlyweds. While Philip wanted his descendants to be known as Mountbattens, Elizabeth II initially sided with her mother and Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who wanted continuity in the royal family name. Philip is said to have complained that he was “the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his own children.” Apparently, there was a compromise, and the Queen and Duke announced in 1960 that their descendants would have the last name Mountbatten-Windsor.

17. Elizabeth II is the world’s longest-reigning living monarch.

Elizabeth II is now the world’s longest-reigning living monarch, having reigned over the UK and some of its commonwealth realms for 70 years. She’s got more than 15 years of experience on the current runner-up for longest-reigning living monarch, Hassanal Bolkiah, the sultan of Brunei.

18. and 19. Prince Charles is the longest waiting heir apparent to the throne in British history—and will be the oldest British monarch ever to be crowned.

That also makes Prince Charles the longest waiting heir apparent, first in line for the throne, in British history. He’s been one spot behind his mom for decades, and at 72 years old, he’ll be the oldest British monarch to be crowned, if and when that day should ever come.

20. Elizabeth II wasn't born an heir to the throne.

Elizabeth’s seven decades as Queen are especially notable since she wasn’t born an heir apparent to the throne. And she would have never become Queen if her parents had sons. It was only with the Succession to the Crown Act of 2013 that female heirs to the throne are no longer passed up in the line of succession by their younger brothers.

21. A number of events had to transpire for Elizabeth II to accede the throne.

It took the death of Elizabeth’s grandfather, King George V, the abdication of the throne by her uncle, Edward VII, and the eventual death of her father, King George VI, to install Elizabeth on the throne.

22. Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry Wallis Simpson.

Edward VIII giving his abdication broadcast on December 11, 1936.
Edward VIII giving his abdication broadcast on December 11, 1936. / The Print Collector/Getty Images

Edward VIII famously abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American who many powerful Brits and the Church of England considered an unfit wife to the King.

23. and 24. Edward’s visit to Nazi Germany raised questions about his sympathies—and he denied involvement in anti-British plots.

While that story has an undeniably romantic aspect, Edward is probably not the dashing hero that that one biographical detail might suggest. Before World War II, he visited Nazi Germany, met with Adolf Hitler, gave him the Nazi salute, and was generally viewed as sympathetic to the Germans, if not engaged in downright treasonous dealings with the Nazis with an eye towards being reinstated on the throne at the hands of the hypothetically victorious Germans.

Edward later denied ever having been involved in anti-British plots, but the former king was still effectively removed from the picture when he was appointed governor of the Bahamas in 1940.

25. George VI’s allies included Lionel Logue and the Queen Mother, his wife.

When Edward abdicated, his brother, George VI, ascended the throne. His stuttering problem was dramatized in the film The King’s Speech. And while the King himself thanked the speech therapist Lionel Logue for his “expert supervision and unfailing patience” in preparing the new King for his coronation speech, the “reluctant king” found another important ally closer to home: his wife, Queen Elizabeth, whom The New York Times called “the strength behind the throne” in their 2002 obituary of the Queen Mother.

26. Only ruling monarchs receive Roman numerals.

If you’re wondering why that Queen Elizabeth wasn’t known as QE2, making her daughter Queen Elizabeth III, it’s because the Queen Mother was never a queen regnant, or ruling monarch. She married into the royal family, and so was considered a queen consort. Only queens and kings regnant are given roman numerals.

27. The royal family chose to stay in England during World War II.

During World War II, some suggested the Queen Mother and her daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret, should leave Buckingham Palace for a safer country, such as Canada. She famously responded, “The children won't go without me. I won't leave the King. And the King will never leave.”

28. Buckingham Palace was bombed during World War II—and the royals were there.

The King and Queen survey bomb damage at Buckingham Palace. The bombing destroyed the palace chapel.
The King and Queen survey bomb damage at Buckingham Palace. The bombing destroyed the palace chapel. / The Print Collector/Getty Images

Even the royal family wasn’t entirely shielded from the tumult of war: Buckingham Palace was bombed in September 1940. The King wrote about the bombing in his diary:

“All of a sudden we heard an aircraft making a zooming noise above us, saw 2 bombs falling past the opposite side of the Palace, & then heard 2 resounding crashes as the bombs fell in the quadrangle about 30 yds away. We looked at each other, & then we were out into the passage as fast as we could get there. The whole thing happened in a matter of seconds…. “…6 bombs had been dropped. The aircraft was seem coming straight down the Mall below the clouds having dived through the clouds & had dropped 2 bombs in the forecourt, 2 in the quadrangle, 1 in the Chapel & the other in the garden.”

Afterward, the Queen said, "I am glad we have been bombed. Now we can look the East End in the eye." (Of a visit to the East End, she had written, "I felt as if I was walking in a dead city... all the houses evacuated, and yet through the broken windows one saw all the poor little possessions, photographs, beds, just as they were left.")

29. Elizabeth served as a truck driver and mechanic in the Auxiliary Territorial Service.

A few years later, Elizabeth’s daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth II, became the first female royal family member to enter the armed forces as a full-time active member, serving as a truck driver and mechanic in the Auxiliary Territorial Service.

30. The British monarch’s duties are essentially ceremonial.

But now that she’s the Queen, what does Elizabeth II actually do? The Crown’s power has been chipped away since King John issued the Magna Carta in 1215, and England’s Bill of Rights of 1689 created a constitutional monarchy in which the King or Queen’s power is strictly limited by the law. Over the years that power has been further circumscribed until reaching its essentially ceremonial role today.

31. and 32. The Queen presents a speech at the state opening of Parliament—and during her speech, a member of parliament is taken “hostage.”

Roughly once a year, the Queen presents a speech at the state opening of Parliament (though she doesn’t write the speech herself). While this is happening, a member of parliament is taken “hostage” in Buckingham Palace, a now-ceremonial holdover from Charles I’s tense relationship with his country’s governing body (so tense, in fact, that it ended up with him beheaded). Today, no one expects to actually hold onto the “hostage” in an emergency situation.

33. Someone once tried to kidnap Princess Anne.

Princess Anne leaving St. George's Hospital London after visiting journalist Brian McConnell and police officer Michael Hills, who were recovering from gunshot wounds they sustained when they tried to intervene her attempted kidnapping.
Princess Anne leaving St. George's Hospital London after visiting journalist Brian McConnell and police officer Michael Hills, who were recovering from gunshot wounds they sustained when they tried to intervene her attempted kidnapping. / Frank Barrett/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

On March 20, 1974, Ian Ball attempted to kidnap Princess Anne, Elizabeth’s daughter. The would-be kidnapper shot several men in his failed attempt, and was eventually arrested.

34. A man once climbed through a window at Buckingham Palace.

Less than a decade later, another royal security breach happened when a man successfully climbed through a window at Buckingham Palace and entered the Queen’s bedroom. The Queen was unharmed, and the man was eventually apprehended.

35. The Queen has sent thousands of birthday notes to centenarians.

When the Queen isn’t nervously chatting with drunken interlopers, her duties include sending out birthday notes to centenarians in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries. She has sent almost 200,000 such messages over the years.

36. Windsor Castle contains a unique dollhouse ...

The Queen is known to spend most of her private weekends at Windsor Castle. Maybe because she likes playing with the dollhouse that’s kept there, which The Royal Collection Trust calls “the largest, most beautiful and most famous dolls' house in the world.” It features electricity, running water, and working elevators.

37. ... and employs a fendersmith.

Windsor Castle reportedly requires a team of dozens of employees to maintain, including a fendersmith, a person who, according to The Guardian, "cleans and maintains fireplaces, and builds and tends the fires in them."

38. Buckingham Palace has an in-house ATM.

Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s primary residence, has its own unique features, including an in-house ATM accessible to the royal family. Convenient for when you want to take out money to look at pictures of yourself.

39. The Queen helped oversee 14 generations of corgis at Buckingham Palace.

Queen Elizabeth II with her corgis in Windsor Park in 1960.
Queen Elizabeth II with her corgis in Windsor Park in 1960. / Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

The Palace was also the location of the Queen’s famous corgi breeding program, which started with Elizabeth’s 18th birthday present, Susan, and led to 14 generations of pups at the palace.

40. The royal line of corgis ended in 2018.

When Willow the corgi died in 2018, it marked the end of the royal line of corgis. Monty Roberts, a horse trainer and adviser to the Queen, told Vanity Fair in 2012 that Elizabeth had once remarked that “she didn’t want to leave any young dog behind” after her passing.

41. Prince Charles received criticism for his relatively low tax rate.

Not everyone is a fan of the monarchy, of course. One criticism centers around the amount royals pay—or don’t pay—in taxes. Prince Charles, for example, was criticized back in 2013 when it became known that he was paying less than 24 percent in taxes on earnings from his estate. Separate reports suggested that the Prince pays less tax, as a percentage, on his multimillion-dollar income, than his servants pay on their (presumably much smaller) earnings.

42. Royal servants iron the Prince’s pajamas, amongst other odd jobs.

And those servants are earning their money. In addition to ironing the Prince’s pajamas and getting his bath temperature just right, Princess Diana’s former butler, Paul Burrell, said that the Prince’s valets “squeeze one inch of toothpaste onto his toothbrush every morning.”

43. The Queen has someone break in her shoes.

As her dresser, and unofficial shoe-breaker-inner, Angela Kelly, put it, “The Queen has very little time to herself and not time to wear in her own shoes, and as we share the same shoe size it makes the most sense this way.”

44. Young royal boys generally do not appear in public wearing long pants.

Princess Diana taking Prince William to his first day of school.
Princess Diana taking Prince William to his first day of school. / Georges De Keerle/Getty Images

The Windsors are quite opinionated when it comes to fashion, actually. Young boys, for example, never appear in public with long pants on. They wear shorts, perhaps because, in the words of British etiquette expert William Hanson, “A pair of trousers on a young boy is considered quite middle class.”

45. Prince William had sweat pads sewn into his wedding outfit.

That might seem pretty snobby, but there is a more relatable royal fashion choice: For his wedding day, Prince William’s tailors added custom sweat pads under his arms to absorb excess perspiration.

46. Tiaras are generally reserved for married royals.

Most unmarried royal women aren’t supposed to wear tiaras. Unless you were born a princess, tiaras are basically the headwear equivalent of a wedding ring, signifying a royal woman’s relationship status.

47. and 48. Black clothing is generally reserved for Remembrance Day—but traveling royals pack a black outfit in case of tragedy.

And while the royals don’t often don black clothing, since it’s reserved for Remembrance Day, members of the family are required to pack a black outfit for any trip, just in case they should need to appear after a moment of public tragedy. This norm came to the fore after Queen Elizabeth—then just a princess—was in Kenya when her father died back in 1952. When Elizabeth arrived back in England, she had to stay on the plane until an appropriately somber ensemble could be brought to her.

49. It's reported that the Queen sometimes travels with her own supply of blood.

And a black outfit isn’t the strangest thing royals have been known to travel with. The Telegraph’s Gordon Rayner reported that Queen Elizabeth will sometimes travel with her own supply of blood, in case of emergency, when traveling to a country with a “questionable” supply.

50. The Queen owns many wild animals ...

A man carries a Mute Swan from the River Thames to be weighed during the annual Swan Upping census—in which the Queen's swan marker counts the number of young cygnets on the river each year, checks the animals for injury or disease, and ensures that the swan population is maintained—in 2016.
A man carries a Mute Swan from the River Thames to be weighed during the annual Swan Upping census—in which the Queen's swan marker counts the number of young cygnets on the river each year, checks the animals for injury or disease, and ensures that the swan population is maintained—in 2016. / Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Among the animals that fall under her ownership are all the “unmarked mute swans” in England’s open waters, though, according to the official website of the British royal family, she mainly exercises this right “on certain stretches of the River Thames [tems].” Apparently, this tradition dates back to the 12th century, a time when swans were prized as a source of food for special meals. She also owns the sturgeon and whales taken in the waters around England and Wales.

51. ... And she owns a few other unusual things, too.

The monarch also technically owns the British seabed, and the rights to all of Scotland’s gold-mining activity.

52. A royal tradition makes use of leftover wedding cake.

The Royals are pretty big on tradition, obviously. One custom that’s simultaneously very sweet and pretty gross involves fruitcake. The British Royal family has often used fruitcake for their wedding cakes, dating back to Queen Victoria. Tradition dictates that they then save some of that cake to be eaten in celebration of their future children’s christenings.

53. Princess Diana didn’t promise to “obey” her husband in her wedding vows.

Lady Diana Spencer entering St. Paul's Cathedral with her father, Earl Spencer, ahead of her marriage to Prince Charles.
Lady Diana Spencer entering St. Paul's Cathedral with her father, Earl Spencer, ahead of her marriage to Prince Charles. / Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

Some traditions, of course, have fallen by the wayside over the years. When Lady Diana Spencer wed Prince Charles back in 1981, she chose to not vow to “obey” her husband, as the Book of Common Prayer and tradition would have it. In doing so, Princess Diana may have started a new tradition: neither Kate Middleton nor Meghan Markle mentioned “obeying” in their vows.

54. and 55. Diana’s said to be the first royal bride to have a paying job before her engagement—and that's not her only first.

Diana was an unorthodox royal in many ways. She’s said to be the first royal bride to have a paying job before her engagement, and was actually the first Englishwoman to marry the heir to the British throne in roughly 300 years, dating back to Anne Hyde, who married the man who would eventually become King James the Second.

56. Prince Charles dated his second wife before meeting his first wife.

Prince Charles famously dated his future second wife, Camilla Shand, now Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, years before meeting Diana.

57. He also briefly dated Diana’s sister before dating Diana.

Lady Sarah Spencer, in her own words, actually played Cupid and brought Charles and Diana together.

58. Lady Di and Prince Charles had a very brief courtship.

It’s estimated they might have only spent time together in person around a dozen times before their wedding.

59. Prince Charles had an affair during his first marriage.

During their marriage, Prince Charles had an affair with Camilla, who was also married at the time, and the royal couple eventually split.

60. He went on to marry Camilla after Diana’s death.

Charles, of course, would go on to marry Camilla nearly eight years after Diana’s death, and Camilla became Duchess of Cornwall. The Queen recently announced that "it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort" after Charles is crowned king. Camilla said that the announcement made her feel "very, very honored and very touched."

61. and 62. Edward VII was sometimes known as “Edward the caresser”—and he had a number of lovers.

King Edward VII.
King Edward VII. / The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images

Edward VII, Queen Elizabeth the Second’s great-grandfather, was sometimes known as “Edward the caresser,” a nickname he apparently earned. Edward’s purported lovers include the famous French actress Sarah Bernhardt and Jennie Churchill, mother of Winston.

63. Edward VII had a "love chair."

“Dirty Bertie,” another nickname Edward was given, even had a siege d’amour, or love chair, made for him. Author and expert Tracy Borman told Jezebel:

"There was room on it for two ladies, one on the top and one underneath—but exactly how he got to the one underneath we never managed to actually work out ... So what she was doing down there, whether it was like a queuing system, she was just lying down there to wait, I don’t know. But it’s quite a contraption. It looks a bit like a sleigh. It’s a weird looking thing. But apparently it worked! Bertie loved it. I love the fact that, despite its function, it is still made for a future king, and so it’s studded with gold, it’s padded. It’s all as you might expect. It’s all very decadent."

64. and 65. Alice Keppel was a relatively well-respected mistress to Edward—and a great-grandmother to a current royal.

She supposedly described the duties of a royal mistress thusly: “Curtsey first and then jump into bed.”

Keppel, by the way, was the great grandmother of Duchess Camilla of Cornwall, the eventual second wife of Edward’s great-great-grandson, Prince Charles.

66. Edward VII was caught up in the “royal baccarat scandal.”

Edward’s scandals weren’t limited to the bedroom, though. Before his accession, he was part of the “royal baccarat scandal,” an international disgrace that centered around accusations of cheating in a card game. Edward wasn’t accused of cheating, but it wasn’t a good look to be associated with such improper conduct. He was even called as a witness at the eventual trial, the first time the heir to the throne had been put in that position since 1411.

67. Pablo Picasso supposedly wanted to marry Princess Margaret.

According to his friend and biographer, John Richardson, Picasso wanted to marry Princess Margaret, despite the fact that the two had never met.

68. Richard Burton did not.

And while Margaret had many suitors, one man was apparently unimpressed: The actor Richard Burton wrote in a 1969 diary entry that “she is infinitely boringly uncomfortable to be around.”

69. Margaret’s love affair with Group Captain Peter Townsend was controversial.

Peter Townsend photographed during a weekend away at Allanbay Park with Princess Margaret in 1955.
Peter Townsend photographed during a weekend away at Allanbay Park with Princess Margaret in 1955. / Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Perhaps Margaret’s most notable love affair was with Group Captain Peter Townsend. Townsend was a divorcee and therefore considered an unfit pairing for the Princess in some corners of Britain. When Margaret was 23, Townsend was stationed at the British embassy in Brussels to buy time for Margaret to turn 25, at which point she would have more power to be able to choose her groom without approval from her sister, the Queen. After all that, she chose not to wed Townsend when she did turn 25, and instead ended up marrying a photographer named Anthony Armstrong-Jones.

70. Margaret and Anthony Armstrong-Jones had the first televised royal wedding.

Their nuptials reached around 300 million viewers worldwide, a number that would be dwarfed a couple decades later by the wedding of Charles and Diana, which drew an estimated 750 million viewers.

71. Margaret’s divorce was the first dissolution of a royal marriage since the 1500s.

When Margaret and Armstrong-Jones divorced, amidst rumors of infidelity on both sides of the marriage, she had the first dissolution of a royal marriage since Henry VIII. A fictionalized version of their story was brought to life in the third season of the addictive historical drama The Crown.

72. Queen Elizabeth II’s cousins were committed to Royal Earlswood Mental Hospital.

In the fourth season of The Crown, series creator Peter Morgan turned to a much sadder chapter of royal history: In 1941, two of Queen Elizabeth’s first cousins were secretly committed to Royal Earlswood Mental Hospital. Around 20 years later, their mother, Fenella Bowes-Lyon, let the publisher Burke’s Peerage believe that the girls were dead. It wasn’t until a 1987 exposé by The Sun that the truth came to light—one of the women, Katherine Bowes-Lyon, was still alive, and her sister, Nerissa, had died just a year earlier. Three of their cousins—Idonea, Etheldreda, and Rosemary Fane—had also been placed in Royal Earlswood on the same day back in 1941. All five of the girls suffered from a genetic disorder that affected their cognitive development, leading to public speculation that the royal family was covering up an unwanted part of their family tree.

73. Prince Edward’s formal title may owe a debt of gratitude to Colin Firth.

In 1999, a far less grim royal rumor took root. Prince Edward, the Queen’s youngest son, got married and chose the formal title the Earl of Wessex, which is a bit unusual since the region of Wessex no longer officially exists. It’s been said that Edward chose the name because he’s a fan of the movie Shakespeare in Love, and the character Colin Firth plays in the film, Lord Wessex.

74. Princess Anne is an equestrian enthusiast.

Princess Anne rides her horse in competition in September 1975.
Princess Anne rides her horse in competition in September 1975. / AFP/AFP via Getty Images

Her father once said, “If it doesn’t fart or eat hay, she’s not interested.”

75. Anne’s dogs got her in some legal trouble.

Anne had a bit less luck with dogs. When her English bull terrier, Dotty, bit two young boys, the Princess was ordered to pay a 500 pound fine and an additional 500 pounds in restitution to the boys’ families. In doing so she became the first senior member of the royal family to be convicted of a criminal offense.

76. Princess Anne was the Prime Warden of the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers.

Anne also had a brief stint as the Prime Warden of the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers, which, according to its website, is "one of the oldest and most ancient Livery Companies of the City of London, one of the ‘Great Twelve.’ For 700 years it has stood on the banks of the River Thames playing a leading role in upholding the standards in the trading of fish and shellfish. A role it continues today, as well as making a significant contribution to the UK fishing sector and other non-fishery areas through our Philanthropy and Grants projects."

77. In 2001, a woman named Karin Vogel was “last in line” for the throne.

You probably know that Prince William is second in line for the throne, but who’s last in line? Because there are strict rules on who can be crowned, there are a finite number of potential future monarchs at any given time. And while it seems it’s been a while since anyone cared to dig this deep, back in 2001, two separate genealogists determined that Karin Vogel, a German hospital therapist and distant descendant of Sophia of Hanover, held the title of “last in line.” She was 4973 in line, for the record, meaning we probably won’t see a Queen Karin any time soon.

78. The 7th Earl of Harewood’s second son toured with Frank Zappa.

There are some interesting characters a few thousand places up on the line of succession, too. James Lascelles is the second son of the 7th Earl of Harewood, and sits somewhere around 60th in line for the throne. Lascelles is a musician, and at one point toured with Frank Zappa.

79. Harald will never be the King (of England).

A little further down the line is a man named Harald, from Norway. While this second cousin of Elizabeth will almost certainly never become the King of the UK, he can take solace in the fact that he’s been the King of Norway for nearly three decades.

80. Prince Harry was said to sometimes travel as David Stevens—and Meghan Markle supposedly used Davina Scott.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex arrive at the airport in July 2018.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex arrive at the airport in July 2018. / Dominic Lipinski - Pool/Getty Images

A source told The Daily Star that Harry was sometimes referred to by this nondescript name, while his wife, Meghan Markle, had been given the codename Davina Scott. Those choices weren’t entirely arbitrary. The “D S” initials echo their titles, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

81. Kate and William have their own pseudonyms for traveling incognito.

Similarly, it’s been reported that Kate and William had sometimes traveled under the names Daphne Clark and Danny Collins. Checking into a hotel as Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would presumably invite unwanted attention.

82. The Queen’s codename is simple.

The Queen’s codename is designed to be even less intriguing: She’s reportedly referred to as Sharon, or just S.

83. Meghan Markle wrote the wedding invitations for Robin Thicke and Paula Patton.

The gig was part of her pre-fame side-hustle as a freelance calligraphy artist.

84. Prince Harry made ample use of the ghost emoji.

Here’s the dirt on Prince Harry you’ve been waiting for: According to a pair of royal experts who analyzed Prince Harry’s early texts with Meghan Markle, the Duke of Sussex’s favorite emoji is the ghost emoji—and “nobody knows” why.

85. Tacky gifts are said to be a Windsor-Mountbatten tradition.

Slightly less inscrutable is the gift Harry once reportedly chose for his regal grandmother: a shower cap emblazoned with the phrase “Ain’t Life a Bitch.” Intentionally tacky gifts are apparently something of a Windsor tradition, and the Queen was said to love her gift.

86. The monarchy cost British taxpayers at least 67 million pounds in 2019.

The monarchy cost British taxpayers at least 67 million pounds in 2019, and what they offer in return is hard to define.

87. Royalists argue that these costs are offset by revenue-generating activities.

While a consultancy called Brand Finance estimated in 2017 that the monarchy contributed at least 2 billion pounds to the UK economy, through enhanced tourism and other revenue-earning activities, those numbers are hard to pin down. Critics contend that tourists would still flock to Buckingham Palace and other royal points of interest even if the royals themselves were consigned to history.

88. Seventy percent of Britons consider themselves monarchists.

According to a 2018 YouGov poll, though, some 70 percent of Britons consider themselves monarchists and would like to see the royal family continue.

89. Prince William and the Queen are the most popular royals amongst Britons.

Queen Elizabeth celebrates the start of the Platinum Jubilee during a reception in the Ballroom of Sandringham House on February 5, 2022.
Queen Elizabeth celebrates the start of the Platinum Jubilee during a reception in the Ballroom of Sandringham House on February 5, 2022. / Joe Giddens - by WPA Pool/Getty Images

And according to YouGov, as of March 2021, 73 percent of Britons have a positive opinion of the Queen, making her the second most popular royal, after Prince William’s 75 percent.

90. A plurality of young Brits would prefer to leave the monarchy behind.

Given the current line of succession, with Princes Charles, William, and George possibly representing decades of future monarchs, could Queen Elizabeth be the very last Queen of the United Kingdom? A 2016 Ipsos Mori poll found that a plurality of 18-24-year-olds would prefer the country to become a republic and leave the monarchy behind.

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