The royal family has enjoyed some weird and wonderful traditions for centuries, but there are a few myths and rumours about them that are widely believed by people across the world even now – and they’re simply untrue.
From Prince Charles’ apparent ‘secret plan’ to abdicate the throne, to his bizarre breakfast requests and even claims Prince George must wear shorts in public, there are some myths that have left people scratching their heads.
However, others are incredibly believable. It’s long been rumoured that seeing the Union Jack flag flying above Buckingham Palace signals that the Queen is home – but the myth has now been busted.
Here’s a look at some of the most believable and more bizarre myths and rumours that are completely false:
It’s long been the belief of many families across the world – including in England – that seeing the Union Jack flag flying above Buckingham Palace is a sign the Queen is at home.
In actual fact, the flag means she is away and travelling elsewhere. Instead, the Royal Standard flag is the sign you need to look for to confirm that she’s inside. You can identify it by its red, gold, and blue colours and distinctive patterns and images.
As Her Majesty is still as busy as ever with royal engagements, as well as enjoying regular trips to Sandringham, it can be quite rare to spot it on a visit to London.
There have been rumours circulating for years over Prince Charles becoming king and taking over the reins from his mother the Queen. In fact, many have claimed it’s likely he will pass the reins down to his son Prince William instead – effectively skipping an entire generation.
Adding fuel to the rumours, Princess Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell recently told Now To Love he doesn’t think Charles will ever step up, adding: “It’s a very controversial prediction but we will never see King Charles and Queen Camilla sat on the throne of England. Watch that space.”
However, historian and author of Queen Victoria’s Descendants, Marlene Koenig, disagrees – telling news.com.au: “The Queen has shed a number of patronages, she has cut back on events. William and Charles do a lot more investitures now… we’re already seeing Charles taking on more responsibilities in preparation.”
Indeed, Charles has never spoken out or expressed any wish to abdicate in public and as it stands, the Queen does not have the power to choose her successor, with her eldest son set to take over when she dies. It is entirely Charles’ choice whether he abdicates – but some find it unlikely following the scandal that followed the abdication of Edward VIII.
The famous Mall is huge strip of road stretching down towards Buckingham Palace in the centre of London, with some of the biggest events in royal history taking place there.
But there have been rumours that the Mall was actually originally designed as an emergency airstrip for the royal family, should a disaster happen and they need to get out of the city quickly.
However, with trees and lamp posts lining the street, tourists crowding on to it every day, and the fact it’s 0.58 miles (0.9 kilometres) long – around a mile too short for modern aircraft to safely take off and land – it’s actually impossible for the claims to be true.
As Meghan, now Duchess of Sussex, prepared to marry Prince Harry in May, there were streams of false rumours and claims doing the rounds as the world prepared to see royalty tie the knot with a world-famous actress.
One of the rumours was that she must curtsy to any senior royal she passes in the Palace. However, while there are some members of the family she must always curtsy to – including the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Camilla, Prince William, and Catherine – the list doesn’t extend much further than that.
“Whether or not the Duchess of Sussex must curtsy totally depends on formality and setting,” royal expert Myka Meier told news.com.au.
“If it’s in Buckingham Palace at a formal event, yes, she would curtsy. If she’s just passing Prince Charles in their private home on a typical day, I don’t think she would be expected to curtsy every time to his Royal Highness. He is, after all, family.”
While everyone has their little quirks in the comfort of their own homes, whether it’s a small everyday habit they can’t shake or a simple meal preference, Prince Charles was the subject of a very unusual claim previously when it came to his own breakfast routine.
Jeremy Paxman famously wrote in his 2006 book On Royalty that the Queen’s son has seven boiled eggs cooked for him every morning – but only eats one.
However, nipping that one in the bud immediately, the palace actually addressed the rumour head on in an FAQ section of the official website, answering the question: “Does the Prince of Wales have seven boiled eggs cooked for his breakfast but only eat one, as claimed in Jeremy Paxman’s On Royalty?”
The website replied: “No, he doesn’t and never has done, at breakfast or any other time.”
He’s been seen out in public in adorable shorts more times that he has trousers over the last few years, but despite claims otherwise, there is no set rule that Prince George must always wear the cut-offs outside.
In fact, an etiquette expert previously revealed shorts are simply preferred by some members of the royal family for a young son, as they’re traditional in ‘higher classes’.
“Trousers are for older boys and men, whereas shorts on young boys is one of those silent class markers that we have in England,” etiquette expert William Hanson previously told Harper’s Bazaar. “Although times are (slowly) changing, a pair of trousers on a young boy is considered quite middle class – quite suburban. And no self-respecting aristo or royal would want to be considered suburban. Even the Duchess of Cambridge.”
However, there’s no rule and it’s down to each individual royal family to decide whether to follow tradition.
There was excitement among royal fans in 2017 when the Queen’s former chef Darren McGrady was misquoted in the media as saying Her Majesty enjoys four alcoholic drinks per day.
However, he soon cleared up the error – explaining 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 at the time. “She’d be pickled.”