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10 Surprising Hobbies the British Royal Family Does in Their Spare Time

Think the British royal Family is too busy for hobbies? Think again! Here's what they like to do to relax.

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Royal Hobbies

With so many royal duties, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the British royal family doesn’t have time for any hobbies. For example, at 92 years old, Queen Elizabeth undertook nearly 300 official engagements in 2017! But they do enjoy time off as well, and they have a wide variety of interests. Each member has their own particular hobbies, some of them quite unusual. For instance, can you guess who is president of several pigeon fancying clubs?

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Prince Charles

The Prince of Wales has tried his hand at a number of hobbies over the years. He’s a keen artist, and once wrote a children’s book The Legend of Lochnagar. But his real love is managing his gardens at his private residence, Highgrove House. He takes an active part in all aspects of the garden and has even had a go at the specialist art of hedge-laying, as part of his efforts to keep everything as traditional as possible at Highgrove. Though he might not be wearing jewelry while gardening, learn the real reason Prince Charles always wears a ring on his pinky.

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Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall

Like many others in the royal family, Camilla enjoys reading (she works hard to promote child literacy) and painting. But she’s also fond of outdoor pursuits, making the most of the beauty of the Cornish countryside, as well as the Scottish highlands when staying at Balmoral. There she loves horse riding, fishing, hiking and even cross-country skiing. We bet you never knew that this was the reason Camila didn’t marry Charles in the first place.


Prince William

Prince William loves flying helicopters! For several years he worked as a pilot for the British Air Ambulance Service in Norfolk. He’s also rumored to love watching movies and TV, with Downton Abbey ranking high on his list of must-see programs. But his great passion is sport. Over the years he’s taken part in rowing, horse-riding, hockey, tennis, and skiing, as well as the rather more elite sport of polo which combines elements of hockey and riding. These sports are typically played by royal men, but here are some unusual traditions of the royal family you’ve never heard of.

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

Every day the newspapers are filled with photos of the royals, but Kate Middleton has gained a reputation as a star photographer in her own right, even winning an award for her family photos. She regularly releases photos she’s taken of Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis on special occasions, rather than relying on official photographers. Check out 21 rarely seen, candid photos of the royal family captured on camera.

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Prince Harry

Like his brother William, Prince Harry also enjoys a good game of polo, as well as other sports like rugby (although he had to give that up after getting injured rather too often!). While on his gap year working in Lesotho, South Africa, Harry tried his hand at documentary filmmaking to highlight concerns about the plight of AIDs orphans, and ultimately set up his own charity to support children living with HIV/AIDS. More recently, he’s been enjoying the gentler pursuit of gardening, attending the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show. He quips that he’s getting good at planting trees after being asked to plant so many when on official royal engagements. Find out all the times he and the Duchess of Sussex have broken royal protocol.


Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

Many students wait tables or flip burgers to pay their way through college, but Meghan Markle had a more unusual side gig that helped her make ends meet. Calligraphy! She put her artistic skills to good use designing business cards and other artwork. She even designed the wedding invitations for the wedding of Paula Patton and Robin Thicke, although now there are probably official royal designers to take care of matters like that for her! In fact, here are the most bizarre royal jobs that actually exist.

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Prince Andrew

Like the Duchess of Cambridge, the Queen’s second son, Prince Andrew, has also made a name for himself in the world of photography, even publishing his own book of photos. He has a reputation as a keen photographer and has even been known to publish his family snaps on his official Facebook page! Here are 12 of the rarest photos ever taken of Buckingham Palace.


Zara Tindall

Like her mother, Anne, Princess Royal, Zara Tindall was a member of the British equestrian team, winning a silver medal at the 2012 Olympic Games. Her beloved mount Toytown became one of the best-known equestrian horses on the circuit, and together they won many events. Zara was reputedly heartbroken when Toytown died in 2017 at the age of 25, but she continues to indulge her passion for riding whenever she can.

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Prince Philip

The Queen’s husband is yet another royal with many strings to his bow. He enjoys landscape painting, outdoor pursuits like fishing and bird watching, and has even had a go at designing jewelry for the Queen. He was a keen polo player when younger, but when he gave it up at age 50, he decided to take up carriage driving instead. Despite sounding sedate, this is a fast and furious sport that involves driving a team of horses (plus carriage) around a field full of obstacles at some speed. It’s not for the fainthearted! Here are 50 more things you never knew about the British royal family.


Queen Elizabeth

Last but not least, the Queen herself. As well as outdoor pursuits, the Queen is renowned for breeding and racing horses. Some estimate this hobby has netted her more than $9 million over the years. And yes, it’s the Queen who has a love of racing pigeons, owning around 200 of them that are kept in a luxurious purpose-built loft at Sandringham. The loft cost around $60,000! She also loves reading crime fiction. Next, learn the most bizarre perks of being in the royal family.

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman

Elizabeth Manneh
Elizabeth is an experienced freelance writer, specializing in health & wellness, education & learning, family life & parenting, and women's issues. She's been published on Huffington Post, and was a regular contributor to Love Live Health and Daily Home Remedy. Elizabeth is a retired primary school principal and education consultant, with a continuing passion for education and learning. She's familiar with writing newsletters, reports to stakeholders, financial reports, business plans and evaluation reports.

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