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5 Lesser-Known Stories About the British Monarchy

The British Royal family leads quite a public life, yet their private world remains a source of intrigue and fascination. Every once in a while, a story comes out that allows the public to get a glimpse of that mysterious private world. Some of these stories are funny and some are just plain strange. In the article below, we rounded up 5 rumors about the royal family that are so fascinating you wouldn’t want to miss them!

1. Queen Victoria’s grandson was suspected of being Jack the RipperStrange Lesser Known Stories About the British Monarchy, Prince Albert Victor

In November 1970, an article was published in the British magazine, The Criminologist, by an octogenarian surgeon named Dr. Thomas Stowell. In the piece, Dr. Stowell laid his theory about the identity of Jack the Ripper. In his youth, Stowell was friends with Caroline Acland, the daughter of a royal family physician named William Gull.

According to Acland, her father had treated a young man with syphilis, which he possibly contracted from a sex worker during a trip to the West Indies. Over time, the disease progressed and started affecting his brain. Now mentally ill, the patient decided to take revenge on the sex workers of London, according to Gull. The royal family physician started to believe that this patient was Jack the Ripper.

Stowell never named the suspect in his article, but it was clear to everyone which royal he was hinting at  - Queen Victoria’s grandson, Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale. Prince Albert Victor did pass away of disease when he was only 28 years old, but it was influenza, not syphilis. The story blew up in the media and Stowell was even interviewed on the BBC to discuss his theory. The suspicions were never officially confirmed. 

2. The Royal Family is not allowed to play monopolyStrange Lesser Known Stories About the British Monarchy monopoly

You probably know that the British Royal Family has to live by some pretty strange rules. But one of the lesser-known and quite amusing restrictions on the list includes playing monopoly. In 2008, Prince Andrew, the Queen’s second son visited the Leeds Building Society headquarters. When the Duke of York was presented with a set of Monopoly to mark the occasion, he had to politely decline the gift. According to The Telegraph, Andrew revealed that the real-estate board game was forbidden in the royal household. Why? The only explanation he offered was, “it gets too vicious.”

Andrew didn’t elaborate any further or explain whether or not it’s okay for royal family members to play Monopoly when the Queen herself isn’t around, but he didn’t seem to be joking. Apparently, Monopoly was not one of the ways the Royals passed their time in quarantine, or ever.

Related: Which Foods the British Royal Family Avoids and Why?

3. Queen Victoria may have had a secret second husbandStrange Lesser Known Stories About the British Monarchy Queen Victoria

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

After the sudden and tragic death of Prince Albert in 1861, the devastated Queen Victoria announced an unprecedented two-year royal mourning period. According to certain excerpts from her diary, in 1863, Queen Victoria may have begun a close personal relationship with one of her servants, John Brown, that ended up lasting 20 years. 

One diary entry from October 7, 1863, tells how Victoria spent the day riding with her daughters, Princesses Alice and Helena. Unfortunately, the Queen lost control of her horse and crashed to the ground. In the following days, she lay in bed “helpless,” and it was during that time that she had realized how much she enjoyed the company of John Brown. It was Brown who was the Queen’s guide when she began riding again after her recovery. 

As their relationship deepened, Victoria began treating Brown as a member of the family and even gifted him a house. Her affection for Brown was so apparent that her children started referring to him as ‘Mama’s Lover’ and the public referred to the Queen as 'Mrs. Brown'. Queen Victoria’s final wish was to be buried with mementos of both Albert and John. 

4. It’s customary to eat 7-year-old cake at royal christeningsStrange Lesser Known Stories About the British Monarchy wedding cake

At the christening of Prince Louis, the Son of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, the Royal Family served the guests with a seven-year-old cake. It was the same cake that was served at the couple’s wedding in 2011 and the christenings of their older children Prince George and Princess Charlotte. 

While this may sound strange, it is actually a known British custom. Non-royal British couples often save the top tier of their wedding cake for the same reason. The top tier of the fruit cake served at the Royal wedding is laced with brandy, which allows it to last for so many years.

Related: 20 Historical Royal Wedding Photos

5. Queen Elizabeth I was suspected of being a murderessStrange Lesser Known Stories About the British Monarchy Queen Elizabeth I

Before being crowned Queen in 1558, Elizabeth I was involved with Robert Dudley, who was her master of horse. Dudley remained the Queen’s favorite and it was suggested that the two would have been well suited to marry, but there was one problem. Dudley was already married to Amy Robsart. 

On September 9, 1560, Amy Robsart was found dead at the bottom of a staircase in the couple’s home. Rumors quickly spread that it was the Queen who ordered the murder of Amy. Whether or not that is true remains unknown. Some historians believe Amy was suicidal or that she was suffering from bone cancer, which made her more likely to gravely injure herself.

Despite Amy’s death, any plans for Queen Elizabeth I and Dudley to get married were stopped in their tracks by the Queen’s advisors because the murder suspicions were too much of a scandal for the new Queen to be embroiled in.

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