Queen Elizabeth II is Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. And, as we watch S4 of The Crown, we realized that while the Queen enjoys some privileges that come with being a royal, there are some other unique and surprising perks she enjoys for being the ruling monarch.
Take a look.
1. The Queen needs no license to drive.
Sounds crazy but, the Queen of England is the only person in the UK and probably the entire world who can legally drive without a license. She doesn’t even need a license plate or a number plate.
2. She doesn’t even have to own a passport.
That’s because all UK passports are issued in the queen’s name. Though, other members of the royal family don’t get to enjoy this privilege.
3. She celebrates two birthdays.
Her official birthday is on 21st April and the second one is celebrated on the second Saturday in June as her “official” royal birthday.
4. She also gets to have her very own private poet.
This position is given to a poet whose work is well recognized and is of national significance. They are expected to write poems commemorating significant occasions. The current poet laureate is Simon Armitage who was announced in May 2019.
5. She has her own ATM machine.
Wow! Isn’t that something!? Provided by Coutts (one of Britain’s most exclusive banks), the private cash machine is installed in the basement of the Buckingham Palace. This is one perk that other members of the royal family can also enjoy.
6. She owns all the swans in the River Thames.
What does that even mean? All unmarked swans in open water belong to the Queen. However, her highness “exercises her ownership” only “on certain stretches of the Thames and its surrounding tributaries,” according to the official website of the Royal Family.
7. All the dolphins in British waters also belong to her.
As per a rule that dates back to a statute from 1324, during the reign of King Edward II, the Queen still technically owns all the sturgeons, whales, and dolphins in the waters around the UK.
8. No bill can be passed to form a law without her consent.
The Queen’s consent is of utmost importance. It’s necessary to turn any bill into an actual law. Once a proposed law has been passed in both houses of the Parliament, it makes its way to the Palace for approval, which is called “Royal Assent.”
9. She can opt out from paying taxes.
Though, she doesn’t. She voluntarily began paying her share in 1992.
10. The Queen has the power to VETO any ministerial advice/opinion.
The Queen can exercise her power if and when any “grave constitutional crisis” occurs.
11. She’s also the Queen of Australia.
While Australia’s head of state is the Queen, the functions of head of state are performed by the Governor-General.
12. She can never be arrested.
The Queen can never be persecuted as she enjoys Sovereign Immunity. That means, she is protected for life.
13. She and her entire family are spared from all Freedom of Information requests.
What does that mean? They don’t have to give anyone access to their information.
14. She holds the power to fire the entire Australian Government.
Basically, the Prime Minister of Australia is appointed by the Governor-General. The queen could instruct her representative to appoint a new PM at any time. She can appoint a new Governor-General too, if he does not comply.
15. She’s also the head of the Church of England.
How? Under her formal title “Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England”.
16. She also has dominion over all these commonwealth realms.
Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu. (A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state which has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state.)
17. She has the power to appoint Lords.
Lords are those who sit in the Parliament, the upper house in Britain’s legislative system. This power is exercised only “on the advice of” elected government ministers.
18. She also has knights.
Knighthoods are typically given to those figures who have made contributions to the British society, be it in any field. The individuals knighted are decided by ministers.