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10 Myths About the Royal Family That Are Totally False

From the silly (Prince Charles needs seven eggs each morning) to the scary (a rare species of venomous spiders lives at Windsor Castle), these myths have thousands fooled.

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Union Jack flags lining the Mall towards Buckingham Palace for state occasion, London, England, BritainPhoto: ALEX SEGRE/SHUTTERSTOCK

The Mall in London was Intended as an Emergency Airstrip

The royal family takes its security seriously, but that doesn’t mean every landscaping feature has an ulterior use. According to this theory, the 0.93-kilometre road leading to Buckingham Palace was intended as an airstrip. That way, the royal family could be evacuated via plane in case of emergency. It’s an interesting idea, but unfortunately, the Mall would make a lousy runway. The road is about a mile too short for any modern aircraft, and is lined by lampposts and buildings that would make takeoff impossible. However, helicopters can, and do, land on the Palace’s lawn.

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Queen Elizabeth I (1533 - 1603) Queen of Great BritainPhoto: HISTORIA/SHUTTERSTOCK

Queen Elizabeth I was a Man

Queen Elizabeth I—also referred to as the Virgin Queen, due to the fact that she never married—is remembered as one of the greatest leaders of England. And because of her strong leadership qualities, some misogynists of the time decided the Virgin Queen must have been a man in disguise. The myth was first printed by Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula, in his 1910 book Famous Imposters. Stoker believed that at some point in Elizabeth’s childhood, she was sent to the countryside to escape the plague. Unfortunately, the young princess fell ill and died. When the feared King Henry VIII came to visit her, Elizabeth’s caretakers decided to replace her with a similarly aged child, rather than anger the king. Because there were no girls to choose from, the governess found a young boy and dressed him in Elizabeth’s clothes. The king was never the wiser, and according to Stoker’s belief, the young farm boy went on to rule the country. And before you assume Stoker was just trying to stir the pot, History Answers notes that the novelist was totally certain he had the story right.

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Catherine Duchess of Cambridge takes part in a Commonwealth Quiz in which athletes, coaches and supporters are questioned on their knowledge of the Commonwealth, during their visit to the Copperbox Arena, StratfordPhoto: REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

Kate Middleton Loves Almond Milk

The Duchess of Cambridge shut this one down herself. At one afternoon tea event at a charity cafe, volunteers served Kate almond milk after hearing a rumour that’s what she liked. “Don’t believe everything you read,” said the Duchess. “I don’t even like almond milk.”

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Queen Elizabeth visits Royal Academy of Arts, London, United Kingdom - 20 Mar 2018Photo: WILL OLIVER/EPA-EFE/SHUTTERSTOCK

The Queen Has No Actual Power

Obviously, the United Kingdom operates as a parliamentary democracy—but that doesn’t mean the sovereign is a powerless figurehead. In times of crisis, it wouldn’t be out of bounds for the Queen to declare war. Similarly, the Queen creates orders of knighthood and appoints the prime minister after a general election or resignation.

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King George Vi (1895 - 1952) with His Wife and Consort Queen Elizabeth Outside Buckingham Palace at the Time of Their Silver Wedding Anniversary in 1948 1948Photo: HISTORIA/SHUTTERSTOCK

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stayed in London During WWII

In order to show citizens that the royal family was taking on the same dangers and rations as the rest of the country, King George VI and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, officially spent World War II at Buckingham Palace in London, despite near-constant German bombings. In fact, the family spent the majority of their nights and weekends at Windsor Castle in Berkshire. Talk about a rough commute: the residences are about an hour and a half drive apart. The couple’s daughters, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, lived full-time at Windsor Castle during the war.

These are the 17 secrets you never knew about Windsor Castle.

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Prince Charles arrives at Dearne Community Fire StationPhoto: REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

Prince Charles Requires Seven Hard-Boiled Eggs for Breakfast

According to this rampant rumour, which was first published by Jeremy Paxman in his book On Royalty in 2006, Prince Charles has seven boiled eggs cooked for him each morning, but only eats one. That way, he can choose the precise level of cooked-ness he’d like that day. The Palace chose to set the record straight. In 2012, the Prince of Wales published an FAQ on his website. “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‘?” one question asks. The answer: “No, he doesn’t and never has done, at breakfast or any other time.”

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The Queen's Awards for Enterprise, Reception, London, UK - 11 Jul 2017Photo: REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

The Queen Has Four Drinks a Day

In the summer of 2017, Queen Elizabeth’s former personal chef Darren McGrady was misquoted as saying the Queen drinks four cocktails each day. That means she’d be a binge drinker by government standards. When several other tabloids picked up the story, McGrady reached out to make a correction. It turns out, he had been listing the Queen’s favourite drinks, not the ones she has each day. “I’m pretty confident she doesn’t have four drinks a day,” McGrady told Reader’s Digest. “She’d be pickled.”

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Windsor castle near London, United KingdomPhoto: SLOUKAM/SHUTTERSTOCK

There is an Infestation of Rare Spiders Under Windsor Castle

In 2001, British tabloids went wild over reports that engineers at Windsor Castle found swarms of spiders in the utility tunnels underneath the residence. According to some not-so-reliable sources, the spiders were thought to be either a new species or a species that had thought to have been extinct for thousands of years. The spiders were supposedly nine centimetres, venomous, and had jaws strong enough to penetrate human skin. Scary stuff! Fortunately for everyone who visits the castle, the rumour was quickly dispelled. The spiders were a totally ordinary species, harmless, and only about four centimetres.

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The Royal Standard of the United Kingdom is the flag used by Elizabeth II in her capacity as Sovereign of the United Kingdom.Photo: REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

If the Union Flag is Flying, the Queen Must Be Home

We understand the confusion on this one; flags are a confusing way to communicate. But it’s not the Union Jack that you’re looking for to signify the queen’s presence, it’s the Royal Standard. If the Union flag (the national flag of the United Kingdom) is flying, the queen is away. Instead, look for the Royal Standard. You can identify it by its red, gold, and blue colours.

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Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, Prince George, Prince William watch the flypast from tha balcony of Buckingaham PalacePhoto: TIM ROOKE/SHUTTERSTOCK

Prince Charles Will Never Be King

Because Prince William (and his adorable family) are so popular, there’s a widespread belief that Queen Elizabeth could skip Prince Charles in the line of succession and name Prince William and Kate Middleton the next king and queen. According to People, this will never happen. The Queen doesn’t have the power to choose her successor and Prince Charles is unlikely to abdicate—and if there’s one thing the royal family hates doing, it’s breaking with tradition.

Plus: 14 Etiquette Rules Everyone in the Royal Family Must Follow

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest