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14 Things Queen Elizabeth II Doesn’t Want You to Know About Her Grandchildren

She might be Queen, but to them, she's still just Granny.

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queen elizabeth and grandchildrenTim Graham Photo Library/Getty Images

All about the grandchildren

Of course, you know all about William, cried when little Harry followed Princess Diana’s casket down the road, and stayed up late (or woke very early!) watching their fairy-tale weddings to Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle. But how much do you know about their first cousins, the Queen’s other grandchildren? With four children and eight grandkids total, there are quite a few royal secrets you might not be privy to…and which the Queen doesn’t necessarily want you to know.

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peter phillips and wife autumn kellyAnwar Hussein/Getty Images

Her eldest grandson has a history of selling access to the highest bidder

Last month, royal commentator tongues were set wagging when it was revealed that the Queen’s oldest grandchild, Princess Anne’s son Peter Phillips, had been paid to appear in an advertisement for milk on Chinese television. However, it wasn’t the first time Phillips had sold royal access: when he married Canadian Autumn Kelly in 2008, they sold the rights to their wedding photos to Hello! magazine for a reported nearly $1 million dollars. Wondering about other royals you might not know about? Here’s the line of succession to the British throne.

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 Lady Louise Windsor the queens favorite grandchildMax Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

The Queen plays favorites

In the past, it was always thought that Peter Phillips was her favorite grandchild. Things may have changed. According to a report last fall, after spending weeks together this summer at Balmoral Castle, the Queen’s favorite grandchild is Prince Edward and Sophie, the Countess of Wessex’s daughter Lady Louise Windsor. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise: steady Sophie has always been known as the Queen’s favorite daughter-in-law.

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prince harry and prince williamEddie Mulholland - WPA Pool/Getty Images

William and Harry’s rift goes deep

While the tabloids were feverishly speculating last year about Meghan Markle’s influence on Prince Harry, fewer newspaper inches were spent analyzing the decaying relationship between William and Harry. Although the brothers denied a feud earlier this year, it was reported last fall by the BBC that their relationship had been “irreparably changed” following Harry’s comments to Tom Bradby on the Harry and Meghan, An African Journey documentary, with William “furious” about Harry’s candor. Here are 18 tiny details you might have missed about Harry and Meghan’s wedding.

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zara phillips driving test Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Zara was recently banned from driving for six months

Her granddaughter Zara Tindall—Princess Anne’s daughter—is a brand ambassador for Land Rover… slightly ironic, considering she was banned in January from driving for six months after being caught speeding. In addition to the temporary ban, stemming from an accumulation of penalty points on her license, she was fined £666 plus costs, as well as a victim surcharge of £151 (a little over $1,000 combined).

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Princess Eugenie and her Sister Princess Beatrice of York world travelersEuropaNewswire/Gado/Getty Images

Beatrice and Eugenie love their vacations (and we mean love)

Known for their eye-catching fascinators, as well as strong family ties and deep loyalty, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie have also made a name for themselves as lovers of the leisure life. Although they’ve curbed their jet setting ways in recent years, in 2016 alone, Princess Eugenie took—count ’em—seven overseas vacations, while the previous year Beatrice reportedly embarked on a jawdropping 15 foreign trips to the tune of approximately £300,000 (about $386,490). Despite slowing down, they’re still fabulous: recently Beatrice attended the wedding of billionaires Dasha Zhukova and Stavros Niarchos in St. Moritz alongside such starry celebs as Kate Hudson, Karlie Kloss, Gayle King, and Orlando Bloom. Meanwhile, this is the surprising reason Eugenie wasn’t named a Duchess when she got married.

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casamigos Princess Eugenie of York and Jack Brooksbank Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images

Eugenie is married to an alcohol aficionado

Eugenie’s husband, Jack Brooksbank, knows his way around a bar. After years in hospitality, including managing royal favorite hotspot Mahiki, he was hired by George Clooney and Rande Gerber as the UK ambassador for their tequila brand Casamigos and is now the European brand manager. Eugenie and Jack served Casamigos at their wedding, and Eugenie’s mother Sarah has been known to knock back a shot or two with her son-in-law. Find out 14 other things you never knew about Princess Eugenie.

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lady louise windsorMax Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Lady Louise Windsor didn’t know her grandmother was Queen until she was at school

Sophie and Edward’s daughter Lady Louise Windsor was in school before she realized her granny was the Queen. According to Sophie, for Louise “it was much more of a shock to the system. It was only when she was coming home from school and saying, ‘Mummy, people keep on telling me that grandma is the queen,'” that she realized just how truly important her grandmother was. Prince William and Kate have kept a similar secret from their son George.

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Prince Andrew princesses Beatrice EugenieMax Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Prince Andrew paid Beatrice and Eugenie’s (discounted) rent

In 2012, it was agreed that Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie—done with university and not working royals—would have to start paying rent to stay in their lavish royal apartments at St. James Palace. Prince Andrew stepped in, agreeing to pay £20,000 per year for his daughters (close to $28,000)…however, the actual market value of the four-bedroom apartment was estimated by London estate agents Savills at between £100,000 and £150,000 per year ($130,000 to $193,000), five to seven times the price. Nice discount, if you can get it! Here are 12 times the royal family broke their own protocol.

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Prince harry and Prince CharlesTim Graham Photo Library/Getty Images

Prince Harry has been to rehab

After getting caught with marijuana, a then-17-year-old Prince Harry was dragged by Prince Charles to rehab, where he spent a day at London’s Featherstone Lodge rehabilitation center. According to the royal family, Harry agreed to the visit “to learn about the possible consequences of starting to take cannabis.” By the way—did you know Prince Harry’s real name isn’t “Harry”?

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James, Viscount SevernMax Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Her grandson James has a talent for flipping burgers

One of the royal family’s favorite traditions involves summer barbecuing in the garden at their Scottish residence Balmoral. For years, Prince Phillip was in charge of the grill, but with his recently diminishing health, Edward and Sophie’s 12-year-old son James, Viscount Severn has reportedly stepped up to the plate (er, grill). Little is known about James, Edward and Sophie’s only son, who is currently 12th in line for the throne but mostly stays out of the spotlight. Although he was eligible to be named Prince upon birth, Edward and Sophie chose to give him the courtesy title afforded to an Earl’s child, reportedly to help him have a more normal life. Find out all the things the Queen would rather you not know about Prince Charles.

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Princess Beatrice d’York and her fiance Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi weddingLuc Castel/Getty Images

British TV stations plan to skip Princess Beatrice’s wedding

When Princess Eugenie married Jack Brooksbank at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle in late 2018, the ceremony was televised by ITV, received 3 million viewers, and culminated in an open-air carriage ride around Windsor (just like Harry and Meghan). However, Eugenie’s sister Princess Beatrice won’t be afforded the same respect: both ITV and the BBC have declined to cover Beatrice’s wedding live, reportedly over public reaction to her father Prince Andrew’s universally panned BBC Newsnight interview and personal involvement with Jeffery Epstein. Wondering why Eugenie is the only royal with her own official Instagram account? Here’s the surprising reason.

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princess beatrice and sarah ferguson curtsyMax Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Her grandchildren have to curtsy to her

Protocol dictates that women curtsy and men bow when first seeing the Queen, and then again when she leaves, which means that grandchildren—yes, even Prince William!—are expected to pay their respects, at least in public. But it’s not all pomp and circumstance: Princess Eugenie has a habit of publicly calling the Queen “Granny,” instead of referring to her as “Her Majesty” like William and Harry. Here’s what you should do—and not do—if you ever met a royal.

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prince harry Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Harry is worth a lot of money

Much has been made of Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s desire to strike out on their own and step back from royal duties, with naysayers particularly focused on how they will make money. What many don’t realize is that Harry is already independently wealthy, with a net worth of approximately $40 million thanks to money left by both Princess Diana—reportedly $10 million—and the Queen Mother, who is said to have left him substantially more than William. Like William, Harry also receives money from his father Prince Charles’s Duchy of Cornwall revenues, worth about $1.3 billion, plus has his salary invested from his days in the British Army as a captain. And for good measure, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex also have Meghan’s wealth from her days on Suits: she’s reportedly worth somewhere between $2.2 and $5 million. Still, all that money pales in comparison to the Queen, who as the monarch is worth a staggering $88 billion. And, yes, when William eventually becomes King, he will inherit it all (at least, on paper). Still worried about Harry? Here’s the scoop on what really happens when a royal gets fired.

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Balmoral Castle royal family Gim42/Getty Images

You (yes, you!) can rent a cottage at Balmoral

Want to play like a royal grandchild and partake in the magic of Balmoral Castle yourself? A select few holiday cottages are available for rent on the estate. Time your stay between April and August, when the grounds, gardens, exhibitions, gift shop, and cafe are open to the public—or visit in August when the Queen and Prince Philip make their annual retreat. Who knows—you just might encounter the Queen and Lady Louise horseback riding across the grounds. Ever wondered where the royal family really lives? Here’s a quick peek at all of the royal residences around Great Britain.

Nadine Jolie Courtney
Nadine Jolie Courtney is a Virtuoso travel advisor and regular contributor to Reader's Digest, covering travel, culture, and health. A former magazine editor based in Santa Monica, she also covers lifestyle and parenting, with regular outlets including The Healthy, Oprah Mag, Town & Country, Business Insider, and many other publications. Courtney is the author of four books, including ALL-AMERICAN MUSLIM GIRL, a Kirkus Best Book of 2019. Follow her on Instagram @nadinejoliecourtney

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