With the upcoming royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle this summer, all eyes are focussed on the strict life led by British royalty. Yet, you would also be surprised to know about some laws they simply are exempt from.
Here are 12 laws that the British royal family does not have to follow at all. Before proceeding, do subscribe to our channel for more amazing videos.
The royal family lives a life of luxury and it is pretty evident that money is not a concern in their household. Yet, did you know that as per law, the members of monarchy are not legally obliged to pay taxes? If a regular citizen did not pay, he could be arrested for tax avoidance. Yet, in the goodness of her heart, Queen Elizabeth has volunteered herself and the royal family to pay income tax and capital gains tax just like everyone else, thus proving why she is so popular and respected among her people.
It goes without saying that an overwhelming majority of people in the world have a first name and a last name which is also known as a surname. Yet, until very recently, members of the British royal household did not have a surname. Queen Elizabeth finally elected to use Mountbatten-Windsor as the last name for all members of the royal family. Yet, this is a mere formality as they still do not need a surname by law and can simply use their titles such as HRH or Prince before their first name.
Did you know that Queen Elizabeth does not need a passport to fly across the world? Yes, that’s right, she can simply hop onto a private charter and visit any country she likes. This is a truly unique law that applies to her alone. All the other members of the royal family including her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, her son Charles the Prince of Wales, Prince Harry, and Prince William need to have passports if they wish to visit another country. Hmm, this is one mighty royal privilege indeed.
9. Getting sued
Did you know that if anyone has a grievance against the queen, they cannot get their lawyer to raise a case against her? That’s right. The Queen is exempt, by law, from being sued in a court for any kind of wrongful doing on her part. This kind of immunity might seem unfair to most. Yet, there is very good reason behind it. One of the main reasons why the Queen cannot be sued in court is mainly because she is the head of a country and this kind of legal action would bring down the dignity of her office and cause much instability to the nation.
8. Driver’s licence
All of us require a driver’s license before hitting the road, but not the queen. British law states that the Queen is exempt from any laws that govern road rules. While it is common knowledge that Queen Elizabeth learned to drive when she was only a teenager, she now only drives on her private properties and avoid public roads. However, like the rule about the passport, this is another privilege that is enjoyed by the queen alone. Princes William and Harry as well as their father the Prince of Wales have all passed their official driving tests and hold driving licences just like the rest of us.
7. Speed limits
Seeing as the Queen is not obliged to follow any road rules, she is also exempt from getting a ticket for speeding. It is an entirely different matter that she does not go speeding down the national highways and has a driver to take her in decorum anywhere she needs to be. This rule is not solely reserved for Queen Elizabeth. The Prime Minister, other members of the royal family and vehicles such as ambulances and police cars do not need to adhere to the speed limit in times of emergency.
6. Dolphins and whales
This might seem like a strange one but hear it out. While it is quite rare for any regular person to try to capture a dolphin or a whale as a pet, if they did, it would be a crime. For the past several centuries, a law in England states that all dolphins, sturgeons, porpoises, whales, and swans in Britain’s waters belong to the Queen. Moreover, if any of these creatures washes ashore dead, it still belongs to the Crown. It is also because of this law that swans – which were once considered a delicacy – are not eaten today.
5. Freedom of information Act
In Britain, the Freedom of Information Act holds that any citizen can ask for information held by government and public bodies. However, the royal household is exempt from this act because it is not considered a public organization. Despite this, the Queen and the entire royal household have been known to always be fair and share all important information with the public. This system of transparency has indeed helped monarchy remain quite popular in Britain, even today, whereas it is outlawed in most other countries of the world.
4. Jury duty
Any person who is of legal voting age and on the British electoral roll can be called for jury service and they must obey. The only people who are exempt from jury duty are doctors, members of parliament, veterinarians, and judges. And, of course, the Queen. Until a few years ago, all members of the royal family were exempt from jury duty. Yet, in recent times, that archaic rule was changed. However, the Queen’s immediately family members such as her son the Prince of Wales and her grandchildren Princes William and Harry are still exempt from jury service.
3. Being prosecuted
Anywhere in the world, committing a crime is met with a trial and punishment. However, the Queen of England is exempt from getting prosecuted in court. Just like she cannot be sued, she cannot be brought to trial. The main reason for this is that the Queen is the sovereign head of the justice system. Another reason is to uphold the dignity of her office and her position. While some might oppose the archaic nature of these laws, one cannot deny that Queen Elizabeth has led a crime-free life and is indeed a role model for leaders everywhere.
2. Parliament laws
Every resident of Britain is obliged to obey the laws laid down by the Parliament. However, the Queen is exempt from this regulation. The reason behind this exemption is that the Queen gets the final say on any laws that the parliament wants to pass and enforce. So, for those who still believe that the Crown’s role is mainly ceremonial in today’s world, this is quite not true. The Queen still has to sign her approval on every Act of the parliament before it can be fully passed. In matters as sensitive as these, the monarchy has always shown itself to be as just and fair as possible.
And now, it’s time for our audience poll. Which royal family rule exemption do you find the most outrageous? Comment in the section below!
1. Guardianship of infants
This might come as a shock to most, but the Crown can take guardianship of any infant in the state as they please. If anyone else attempted the same with seeking permission of the authorities, they can be arrested for kidnapping. This ancient law held relevance in times gone by, but fortunately it is no longer practiced. A similar rule applied for people who were mentally unstable and the Queen could, at any time, choose to take guardianship over them without needing any kind of verbal or written permission. She is after all, the Head of State!