Do you ever snoop around your friends’ houses? The possessions of others are endlessly fascinating, especially when those others are rich and royal. Peaking inside palaces and getting the scoop on what princes and princess, kings and queens use to get by and spice up their lives helps us better understand the lifestyles we can barely comprehend.
Queen Elizabeth has ownership of a lot more than just England. As a consequence of centuries of royal decrees, she has claim over a slew of luxurious — and often odd — collection of items. In fact, some of her most prized possessions are so extravagant, it’s impossible for others to wrap their heads around!
1. A Priceless Art Collection: The Royal Collection of Art is one of the Queen Elizabeth’s many responsibilities. There’s over 1 million items in the collection, and about 150,000 of them are by master artists like Rembrandt and Raphael. Clearly, she has great taste.
2. A Gold Record: During her 50th Jubilee, a song was recorded with the help of Paul McCartney in her honor titled “Party at the Palace.” It sold over 100,000 copies, so the record company sent her a golden record of her own.
3. Two Dorgis: Queen Elizabeth is famous for her love of corgis. Recently, her final corgi passed away, so she now has two “dorgis”: a cross between corgi and dachshund. They are named Vulcan and Candy, and they are very good.
4. Over 200 Launer Handbags: The monarch is not known for being fashion forward, but she certainly has some brand loyalty. Her favorite Launer purse is her best accessory. At around $2,500 a piece, she has one to match every outfit.
5. The Shoreline of the United Kingdom: Queen Elizabeth is basically winning in the real-life Monopoly game that is real estate. She owns over half of the shoreline surrounding England, Ireland, and Wales, which helps her with the next item.
6. Every Dolphin in the United Kingdom: Because of a statute from 1324, she has claim to every dolphin in the waters within three miles of United Kingdom. Thankfully, she pretty much just leaves them be in the ocean, because what else do you do with a hoard of dolphins?
7. A Car Collection Worth 10 Million: Rappers around the world can brag all they want; they can’t keep up with Queen Elizabeth. Her car collection boasts multiple Bentleys and Rolls-Royces. Fun fact: she doesn’t have a license. She’s allowed to drive without one!
8. Her Own Personal ATM: It’s hard to imagine what exactly the Queen of England needs cash for, unless some marine mammals go on sale. However, if need arises, she has an ATM just for her in the basement of Buckingham Palace.
9. A Bat Colony: Balmoral Castle is more than just the summer home of Queen Elizabeth. She shares the place with a colony of bats! Just to add to her collection of various species. It is rumored she catches them with a butterfly net.
10. The Tower of London: No big deal, maybe you have heard of this important historical landmark? The tower was once a prison and the site where many were killed and tortured. Today, it is London’s most popular tourist attraction. Way to go, Queen E!
11. Private Box at Wimbledon: Although she doesn’t make every tennis match, her seat is always reserved. The Royal Box is by invitation only, and it’s said to be the best seat to watch the match from. Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle attend regularly.
12. Regent Street: As one of the busiest streets in London, Regent street is home to tons of retailers and shoppers, all of which walk on more property owned by Her Majesty. Add the famous area to the list of properties Queen Elizabeth keeps.
13. A Huge Collection of Faberge Eggs: One of the more peculiar things she owns is a massive collection of ornate Faberge eggs. Dating back to the turn of the century, the royal collection continues to grow.
14. Queen Victoria’s Sketchbook: This item is certainly unique and priceless. Along with Queen V’s art collection, Queen Elizabeth is the sole owner of the late queens’s original sketchbook. This artifact is a historical marvel.
15. Tiara Covered in Over 1,000 Diamonds: Having a fabulous tiara is practically a prerequisite to being royal. This particular design was created in 1821, and Queen Elizabeth has worn it to every State Opening of Parliament since 1952. The centerpiece is over four carats in size.
16. Westminster Abbey: This building is a historical hot spot for all royals affairs. Weddings, funerals and coronations are all held at the abbey, with the Queen’s blessing of course. It’s starting to look like she owns most of London.
17. Champion Race Horses: To add yet another animal to the Queen’s menagerie, she owns and breeds race horses. She knows how to pick them; her horses have won over $9 million in the last 30 years. More for the royal ATM!
18. Hyde Park: Not only does she own Hyde Park, but basically every other park in London, including The Regent’s Park, The Green Park and Primrose Hill. So much open space for one little old lady to roam.
19. All the Swans on the River Thames: This monarch simply can’t get enough of animals. Each year, the swans are counted during a special event so the queen knows just how many swans are technically hers.
20. Six Different Castles: Sure, there’s always good old Buckingham palace. But a Queen certainly deserves a summer home. And maybe a winter and spring home, too. Windsor Castle, Holyrood Palace, Hillsborough Castle, Balmoral and The Sandringham Estate are all properties of Her Majesty.
21. The Frugal Queen: You’d think that Queen Elizabeth would be willing to shell out a few bucks for a decent brand of nail polish. Well, you thought wrong, as Her Highness will only wear “Ballet Slippers” by Essie, which costs a cool $9/bottle.
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Despite a luxurious portfolio, being royal isn’t always simple for the Queen. She and her family have peculiar habits and traditional laws they’re stuck following that can complicate the every day. For instance? The Royal Family isn’t allowed to play Monopoly because it can turn vicious.
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Nothing Fishy Here: Royals are also forbidden from eating seafood, as one bad shrimp is all it takes to completely sideline them from their daily responsibilities. But, as you can see, not every member of the Royal Family takes the rule too seriously…
Heir Scare: No two heirs to the throne are allowed to travel together so the royal bloodline can’t end in a single fatal accident. Prince William has broken this rule several times, however, as he’s been known to travel with his son, Prince George.
Vampires Welcome: Of all the foods the Queen refuses to touch, garlic tops the list. Because she makes so many public appearances, garlic breath is out of the question. That’s why you won’t find any dishes with the pungent herb served in Buckingham.
The Urban List
The Queen Takes Hostages: In the days of bitter tensions between the British government and the crown, the royal house would take an MP hostage to ensure the monarch’s safe return following visits to Parliament. The tradition continues to this day, though the “hostages” are well taken care of.
Don’t Send a Raven: After being warned “if the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it,” Charles II mandated that at least six ravens live in the tower at all times. Descendants of these birds still call the tower home.
Historic Royal Palaces
A Born Actress: The Royal Family would be hard pressed to let a Christmas go by without their annual game of charades. There’s just one rule: never upstage the Queen. If she acts well, you applaud. If she tells a joke, you laugh.
The “Charlotte Effect”: Move over, Prince George — it’s Princess Charlotte that really brings home the bacon. Dubbed the “Charlotte Effect,” the young royal’s birth has generated a staggering $5 billion for the British economy, almost $2 billion more than her elder brother has.
Well-Dressed & Well-Prepared: Her Highness uses her handbag to give signals to her security team; in the event that she’s looking to get out of a conversation, she’ll typically switch the bag to her other hand.
Famous Flowers: For the Royal Family, no wedding is complete without one very special flower: the myrtle. Since the 1800s, every royal bride has carried a sprig in their bouquet, picked fresh from Queen Victoria’s 170-year-old garden.
Back in Black: Whenever the Royal Family leaves the country, each member is required to pack an all-black outfit in the event that someone close to the crown or country dies while they’re abroad. That’s totally not morbid at all…
Wakey Wakey: If you think the Queen rises every morning to the sound of “Slow Rise,” then you’re sadly mistaken. Her Majesty actually employs a member of the British military to stand beneath her window and play the bagpipes to gently ease her awake.
A Not-So-Slight Prick: When selecting a new High Sheriff for a county, the Queen uses a sewing needle. The practice of “pricking” goes back to Elizabeth I, who would pierce the name of her newest Sheriff while embroidering and usually didn’t have a pen on hand.
Team High Sheriff
The Name Game: Monarchs are still asked what name they’ll choose to take upon ascending the throne. Prince Charles is expected to take the name George VII when he becomes king to avoid association with King Charles I and II.
Grand Theft Grandma: Out of the 60 million people that live in the U.K., there’s only one that’s allowed to drive without a license: the Queen. The 92 year old maintains that her right to drive is granted under the “royal prerogative.”
Do As I Do: On the endless list of rules one must follow when dining with the Queen, the most important is to stop eating or drinking as soon as she does. This practice began with Queen Victoria, a notoriously fast eater.
The “Vow of the Peacock”: What Christmas feast is complete without skinning a peacock, roasting it whole, redressing it with gold leaf and its own feathers, and then swearing an oath upon it? This practice has long since died out, but the “Vow of the Peacock” was once a yearly tradition among the Royal Family.
The “Royal We“: Also known as the “majestic plural,” the tradition of monarch’s using of we when referring to themselves originated in the days of the “divine right of kings.” Then, monarchs claimed to be speaking with both their own voice as well as God’s.
Queen in Name: Since the establishment of Parliament, the Queen now serves mainly as a figurehead. For this reason, the Royal Family maintains a neutral stance when it comes politics — at least publicly, anyway.
While the Royal Family has maintained traditions, they’ve certainly changed in other ways. Here we have future Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip along with their two eldest children, Charles and Anne, standing with King George VI in 1951.
1953: After the death of George VI a year earlier, his eldest daughter ascended to the throne and became Queen Elizabeth II. Philip, in turn, received the title of prince consort. Below, the couple waves to their subjects from Buckingham Palace.
1960: A third royal child, Prince Andrew, arrived. The newborn enjoys a picnic with his parents and siblings during a holiday in Balmoral, Scotland. That’s right — that castle in the background was only their vacation home.
1965: This Christmas photo depicts the Royal Family shortly after the birth of Elizabeth and Philip’s fourth and final child, Prince Edward. Their household grew livelier than ever, and the new generation of royals quickly endeared themselves to the British public.
1971: Coming up on twenty years as monarch, Elizabeth greets onlookers with Edward, Andrew, and her niece Lady Sarah. They are headed to meet the rest of their extended family for a winter holiday at Sandringham House.
1976: By this point, Elizabeth’s children are old enough to rebel a bit. Prince Andrew laughs at his mother from the second row as she nervously rides at the front of a cable car. Edward, seated next to her, looks a little bit more respectful.
1977: This year marks Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee of 25 years on the British throne. She celebrated by visiting 36 different countries in the span of a few months, followed by a massive procession through London.
1980: For Prince Charles, most of the 1970s were his “bachelor years.” He seemed more content to party and jump between girlfriends than seriously pursue marriage. Here, he sips a coconut drink in Bhubaneswar, India, but he wouldn’t stay a bachelor for long.
1981: Incredible hype built up once Prince Charles announced that he would marry Lady Diana Spencer. The press dubbed the event “The Wedding of the Century,” and the public followed every aspect of the ceremony with fervor.
1982: Diana and Charles had their first son, William. The new parents play with William in Kensington Palace, though they didn’t refer to him as William behind closed doors. Interestingly, their family nickname for the young prince was “Wombat.”
1988: Four years earlier, Diana gave birth to her second son, Prince Harry. Far from shy of the many cameras around him, Harry sticks his tongue out from the Buckingham Palace balcony while Diana tells him to stop.
1992: Below, Philip, Charles, Elizabeth, and the Queen Mother depart from Princess Anne’s wedding. However, 1992 was not an easy year for the family. In addition to a fire in Windsor castle, marital troubles sprung up for Elizabeth’s children.
1995: Hurt by extramarital affairs and a 13-year age gap, Charles and Diana were separated throughout the early 1990s. However, they still attended official events together. They divorced a year later, though the greatest tragedy was yet to come.
1997: The entire world went into shock with the news that Princess Diana died in a violent Paris car crash. Thousands of guests attended her funeral at Westminster Abbey, while millions more watched on television. Her sons were only 15 and 12 at the time.
2002: More loss followed the royal family into the new millennium, though this instance was admittedly less shocking. The Queen Mother passed away at age 101. On a happier note, Queen Elizabeth reached her Golden Jubilee on this same year.
2005: Prince Charles carried on an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles while still married to Diana, so Charles and Camila met controversy when they announced their engagement. As a result, they chose to marry in a civil ceremony instead of a royal wedding.
2006: Now all grown up, Prince Harry decided to follow William into the military. As a Cornet in the famed Blues and Royals regiment, he stands at attention with his saber as Queen Elizabeth walks by. Still, he cannot help but crack a smile at his grandmother.
2011: The Brits — and just about everyone else — went crazy for the next generation of royal weddings. Prince William married Kate Middleton, a classmate from the University of St. Andrews, and over 160 million people watched the lavish ceremony.
2017: The Royal family celebrates the 91st birthday of Queen Elizabeth, who also became the longest-reigning British monarch a couple years prior. William and Kate’s young children, George and Charlotte, watch the fanfare with excitement.
2018: Harry matched his brother’s fairytale wedding with one of his own. He married American actress Meghan Markle, best known from the TV show Suits. Meghan’s entry into the royal family is also notable because she is a woman of color.