With too many rules and protocols guiding them, it becomes too daunting to keep up with the British royals and their way of life. By implication, one can hardly decipher between facts and misconceptions from the abundance of available information about them.
Several misconceptions about the British royal family have prevailed over the years, mostly going unchecked. Being one of the biggest institutions in the world, the royals can’t possibly address every myth that surfaces about them, especially when such belief could easily be disproved by a quick search through reliable sources.
Hence, the royal family is surrounded by false facts, which mostly arise from widespread rumors that went unchecked. Sadly, when these myths prevail for generations, even centuries, they become perceived as truth, no matter how questionable and irrational they may seem.
Many of such misconceptions about the royal family are downright hilarious, while the mere sound of others is absurd. This has not stopped them from gaining traction among the common folks.
From ages-old conspiracy theories to the extent of the Queen’s power, here are seven of the craziest and most-prevalent misconceptions about the British royal family.
1. The Mall In London Doubles As The Royal Family’s Emergency Airstrip
One prevailing myth surrounding the royal family is that they constructed the Mall in London back in the day as a backup plan when faced with threat to their security and safety.
Many believe The Mall in London, built out of the most sturdy concrete, was built as an emergency airstrip for the royals to safely vacate the premises in times of urgency.
This theory has been passed down for generations, so much that it’s become accepted dogma. However, the assertion holds no truth. Rather, it was simply birthed out of a need to explain away the vision behind the high resistance concrete building.
2. The Royals Are Among The World’s Richest People
One can’t dispute the influence of the British royal family in the world. However, being influential does not always translate to affluence. That said, one of the most prevailing misconceptions about the royal family is that they have more money than they could spend and rank among the world’s richest people.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. Granted, British royals are comfortable in their own rights and have enough money to sustain their seemingly lavish lifestyle.
However, even royals have to cut down on their spending sometimes and forego some expenses to avoid bankruptcy. Still unconvinced? Statistics show the British royal family does not even rank among the richest in England, let alone, the world.
In fact, the British monarch has an estimated net worth of $470 million, with only 25% of the Crown Estate Income adding to that wealth. The rest goes to the British treasury. By implication, even the estimated wealth of the British royals based on their annual income isn’t all theirs.
3. Prince Charles Will Never Become King
With Queen Elizabeth II still occupying the throne after several decades, Prince Charles has advanced in age so much that it’s attracted unpleasant rumors about his place as future king.
Theories that the Queen’s eldest son, Prince Charles, would never accede the throne after the Queen’s death have become widespread. This school of thought assumes the mantle would skip Charles and pass down to his son, Prince William who is much younger and deemed more capable of ruling.
However, this is clearly just a myth. The Prince of Wales remains the first in the line of succession no matter his age or health status. Therefore, he remains Queen Elizabeth II’s successor unless he decides willingly to relinquish his claim to the throne.
Only then can William, the second in line, rule in his stead. Notably, most perpetrators of this myth are those who have a not-so-great perception of Prince Charles due to his affair with Camila Parker Bowles while still married to Princess Diana.
4. The Queen Is A Big Drinker
Queen Elizabeth II’s longevity has left many wondering how the monarch manages to stay vibrant despite her progressing age. Hence, her habits and routines are aspects of her life many obsess over, in hopes of emulating the good stuff.
Hence, when the monarch’s former chef Darren McGrady revealed in a 2017 interview that the Queen drank a selection of four cocktails, fans believed they finally found the Holy Grail of longevity. Or something close.
Soon enough, reports that the Queen consumed four glasses of alcohol every day began to swirl, with many misquoting McGrady’s words. The former royal chef stepped forward to clarify his words, saying he simply listed the number of the Queen’s favorite drinks.
5. The Union Flag Indicates The Queen’s Presence
Another widely held theory surrounding the British royal family is that the flying of the Union Jack indicated the Queen’s presence in the palace.
An article on Londonist attempted to clarify this widely-held misconception which misleads many on the daily. The article referred to the theory as a myth. It went on to note that the Union Jack meant the opposite of the widely-held belief.
Hence, the Union Jack shows that the Queen isn’t home. In contrast, the flying of a second flag, the Royal Standard, indicated the monarch’s presence at home.
6. Queen Elizabeth I Was A Man
One of the most laughable, yet prevalent misconceptions surrounding the royal family is that the former Queen of England, Elizabeth I, was actually a male impostor. The myth is so prevalent that it earned her a reputation as “the Virgin Queen.”
The theory became widespread after “Dracula” author, Bram Stoker, wrote about the conspiracy theory in his 1910 book, “Famous Impostors.”
The author alleged that in her childhood, Elizabeth’s parents sent her to the countryside to protect her from the plague. However, she fell ill eventually and died from the plague.
Scared of King Henry III’s wrath, the caretakers replaced her with another child of the same age-grade and physical features. The best available candidate was a boy and he successfully fooled the King and all of England.
The imposter ended up ruling the country for decades, all the while, careful to keep his secret. The public ended up tagging Queen Elizabeth I as the Virgin Queen as she never had any known sexual relationship.
Many deem this her way of hiding her true identity, but the mere thought of a little boy pulling off the stunt impeccably is absurd.
7. The Monarchy Has No Power
For some reason, many consider the Queen as just a figurehead that bears the crown without having any real power to back it. This assertion couldn’t be more wrong.
Admittedly, most members of the royal family, however influential, do not have the power or authority to make decisions of states. However, senior royals, the Queen (or King in the future) specifically, have as much official power as leading government officials and political figures in a democratic setting.
Notably, the responsibility of opening the parliament each May falls on the monarch. Additionally, she has the power to appoint the prime minister and other cabinet officials following a general election. She plays a huge part in legitimizing laws, by putting her seal of approval, termed the royal assent, on bills before they become law.
The monarch is also in a position to command the army, award honors, and grant pardon to those accused of crimes.
There are several other crazy facts about the royal family that have proven to be untrue upon a thorough research. But these seven misconceptions have prevailed for generations, so much that many consider them as gospel, which shows just how dangerous rumors could become when left unchecked.
So next time you hear a questionable assertion about the royal family or their numerous protocols, consider doing a quick search on the web or other journals before biting into it.