What Are The Royal Family's Hidden Talents?

When seeing pictures of the royal family attending official events and waving demurely, it can be pretty easy to forget that the royals are people, too. But don't be fooled: Behind their curated public personas, many members of Queen Elizabeth II's family have prized hobbies. For a number of the royals, these hobbies indicate rather impressive hidden talents for various disciplines — and the queen herself is no exception.

Some of the more senior royals must limit their passions to their spare time. Others are able to practice theirs as part of their actual professions, relatively away from the limelight. In any event, many of the Windsor clan have opened up about their hidden talents over the years, and they have even applied some of their skills towards good causes on several occasions. Here's everything you need to know about what these multi-talented family members love to do when they finally get a second to themselves.

Kate Middleton is into beekeeping

When it comes to finding out fun little details about the royals' lives, you really have to keep an eye out for seemingly benign revelations. Exhibit A with Kate Middleton, who never let on that she had a special place in her heart for beekeeping until she showed up for an engagement at the Natural History Museum in London in June 2021. For this occasion, the duchess brought with her a jar of homemade honey from the Cambridges' Anmer Hall residence. "Would you like to try some?" she reportedly asked the kids at NHM (via Twitter). "This came specially from my beehive. Does it taste like honey from the shops? Does it taste like flowers?"

But beekeeping isn't Middleton's only talent — far from it. The royal can also draw beautifully, as she demonstrated in a sketch of St. Andrews, Scotland (where she and Prince William went to university), created in 2002 and shared on Instagram in May 2021. Middleton, who would give a Jane Austen heroine a run for her money, can also garden. She played the flute "throughout [her] school years until the age of 18," and she once tried conducting an orchestra for a few moments in Germany, per the Daily Mail. Last but not least, she is a keen photographer, regularly sharing family pictures on Instagram. She even created a photography project called "Hold Still" during the pandemic, according to Town & Country.

Meghan Markle knows her calligraphy

Here's a job not many royals can claim to have done: Paper Source employee. Meghan Markle isn't your average royal, though. "It was her part-time job as she was going through auditions," Paper Source CEO Winnie Park told People in 2018, referring to Markle's stint at the chain in Beverly Hills from 2004 to 2005. "She taught calligraphy and hosted a group of customers and instructed them during a two-hour class on how to do calligraphy." So the duchess' penmanship skills are totally immaculate, as evidenced by a handwritten note she sent to Luminary Bakery in 2019, which they then shared on Instagram.

When it comes to writing, it's not just form that interests the duchess; she also cares about the content. Markle has honed her writing skills in various ways over the years: Notably, she used to have her very own blog called The Tig. Cosmopolitan examined its archives since the blog ended in 2017, perhaps when royal life meant Meghan Markle could no longer be so open about her personal life. Thankfully, she still has opportunities to continue writing. Meghan Markle penned a children's book, "The Bench," according to the BBC. She will write a "wellness book" as part of Prince Harry's four-book deal with Random House, per the Daily Mail. Markle also guest-edited British Vogue in September 2019, helping create a special issue titled "Forces for Change," featuring some of the figures that inspire her the most.

Her talents don't stop there: As well as being a seasoned actor, she can also cook and speak Spanish. She contains multitudes!

Prince Harry can juggle

In a viral video released for Meghan Markle's 40th birthday on Archewell, in which she details her latest charity initiative, fans were surprised and delighted to spot Prince Harry juggling in the background as part of the bloopers. Melissa McCarthy, who also appeared in the video, subsequently claimed (via Metro) that Harry had asked, "Is it going to be weird if I stand outside and juggle?" We're glad he decided to go for it.

Prince Harry is a man of many talents and, as it happens, he can also sing proficiently. According to ITV News, he participated in the recording of a charity track with Jon Bon Jovi at the world-famous Abbey Road Studios in London in 2020, although it's unclear whether he can actually be heard on the final song or not (via Vanity Fair). He also started to sing a "Hamilton" song during a speech he made at a gala performance of the show on London's West End in 2018, but he cut the performance quite short, as shown in a YouTube video posted by The Royal Family Channel

Finally, like many upper-class British people, Prince Harry is an experienced polo player. He used to play in many charity games, raising money for worthy causes, but he's been seen less frequently on the pitch after taking a step back from the sport in 2018, per Vanity Fair.

Prince William speaks Swahili

Members of the royal family typically receive elite educations, meaning they have all the resources at their fingertips for learning special skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. As such, Prince William has picked up conversational Swahili, which he put to good use during a 2019 celebration of the Diana Awards, honoring 20 young changemakers. Chief Executive of the Diana Award, Tessy Ojo, told People, "One of the young people is from Tanzania, and he started talking to him in Swahili — and this young boy was gobsmacked! It wasn't just one sentence. This was not something he had just read out of a book. It was truly special."

When he isn't honing his language skills, the Duke of Cambridge has a soft spot for more physical activities. Like his younger brother Harry, the future king very much enjoys a spot of polo. In July 2021, he returned to the pitch after a long absence to raise money for charities that mean a lot to him, including "Centrepoint, East Anglia Children's Hospices, Family Action, Fields in Trust, The Forward Trust, London Air Ambulance, Mountain Rescue England and Wales, and Tusk," according to Vanity Fair. Also like Prince Harry, Prince William can juggle, as he demonstrated at an event in Galway. The senior royal also loves soccer — or "football," as he would know it.

Prince George is a ballet dancer-in-training

Unlike his father, Prince George isn't really into playing soccer (per People), though he does practice tennis, according to a source for Hello! magazine. Prince George is apparently really enjoying his ballet lessons. Speaking at a BBC Radio 1 event honoring "Teen Heroes" at Kensington Palace, Prince William said, "George is doing dancing as well, loves it. And it's kind of... I... my mother always used to dance, loved dancing. If it's something you love, you do what you love. It's very important. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise." 

Unfortunately, not everyone has been kind about Prince George's passion. Upon learning about George's affinity for ballet, TV host Lara Spencer said on "Good Morning America," "We'll see how long that lasts." After facing backlash, Spencer soon apologized, posting on Instagram with the caption, "My sincere apologies for an insensitive comment I made in pop news yesterday. From ballet to anything one wants to explore in life, I say GO FOR IT."

Like everyone else in his family, Prince George doesn't limit himself to just one extracurricular activity. Prince William once revealed that his eldest son had acted in a school production. "I went to my boy's nativity play. It was funny," he said in 2017, according to royal correspondent Victoria Murphy. "He was a sheep." One commenter, saying what we were all thinking, responded, "At least he wasn't the lobster" — in a reference to the famous "Love Actually" subplot.

Princess Charlotte is bilingual

Princess Charlotte, the second child of Prince William and Kate Middleton, may have only been born in 2015, but she already knows more than one language. Back in 2018, a source told People that the young royal had picked up some Spanish thanks to her nanny, Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo, who is from Spain and started working for the royals in 2014, according to People.

Charlotte apparently also loves playing tennis, just like her mom. Back in 2019, Hello! confirmed that the young princess had been taking tennis lessons at exclusive members' Hurlingham Club. Charlotte and her brothers seem to really enjoy the sport: the Duchess of Cambridge told tennis champion Novak Djokovic (according to Express), "Every time we put a tennis kit on, the kids are there wanting to join in which is really great." Who knows? Maybe Charlotte will follow in Djokovic's footsteps and become a tennis champion herself one day.

Princess Diana was quite the pianist

The late Princess Diana was a talented musician, having learned to play the piano as a young girl. In one clip from her 1988 tour of Australia with then-husband Prince Charles, the princess can be seen playing Rachmaninov's Concerto No. 2, (via Classic FM). She was coaxed into demonstrating her mastery of the instrument and politely obliged, proceeding to wow everyone in the crowd. After playing, Diana looked embarrassed and left the scene quickly.

Diana was also a fantastic dancer. Most notably, Princess Diana once shared a legendary dance with actor John Travolta while they were both invited to the Reagan White House in 1985. In an exclusive clip from 2021 PBS special "In Their Own Words: Princess Diana" shared with People, Travolta said, "About 10 o'clock at night, Nancy Reagan tapped on my shoulder and said, 'The princess, her fantasy is to dance with you. Would you dance with her tonight? And I said, 'Well of course. How does this work?'"

But that's not all: Princess Diana could also do a mean impression. "Apparently, Diana is a terrific mimic, not unlike the late Jacqueline [Kennedy] Onassis," read a 1997 Vanity Fair article. "[Marguerite] Littman says she's been told by friends that Diana does a dead-on imitation of her Louisiana drawl, which is as slow as Karo syrup." Littman (the apparent inspiration for Holly Golightly from "Breakfast at Tiffany's") and the princess were good friends, according to the Daily Mail.

Queen Elizabeth is basically a mechanic

Who do you call when your car breaks down? AAA? Well, by the sound of it, members of the royal family have someone who can help them out right in their midst: Queen Elizabeth II. That's right, the monarch knows a thing or two about fixing a vehicle — or at least she did back in the day. She actually served in the Army during World War II as a car mechanic, meaning she fixed cars as part of helping out with the war effort, according to The Washington Post.

It probably won't surprise you that Queen Elizabeth is a very accomplished woman in many areas of her life. Another one of her special talents is photography, which she indulges in during her free time (or what there is of it). In 2016, the Queen even released some exclusive home videos depicting the royal family in decades past, some of which she had filmed herself (per Express) — proving that her love for being behind the camera extends beyond photography and into moving pictures, too. Someone call "action!"

Prince Charles is an amateur cellist

Prince Charles has a true appreciation for the arts at large. The future king began learning to play the cello while a student at prestigious boarding school Gordonstoun, according to The New Yorker. Charles didn't think much of his own musical prowess, but he still gave regular cello recitals. The prince continued to practice while he was an undergraduate at Cambridge University, and he showed off what he remembered of his lessons while on his royal tour of Australia in 1988, per Classic FM.

But that's not where the Prince of Wales' creativity ends: He is also a prolific and talented painter. His paintings regularly command eye-watering sums, according to The Telegraph, which the royal then donates to charity. He likes to paint landscapes from the many royal residences as well as from his world travels. And if owning an original work by Prince Charles is what floats your boat, you can head on over to Art Brokerage to find one painting depicting the South of France, one Wensleydale, and one Annapurna in Nepal.

Princess Beatrice is quick on her feet

Princess Beatrice made history as the first in her family to complete the London marathon, according to Hello!. In 2010, she ran the grueling race to raise money for Children in Crisis, founded by Sarah, Duchess of York (Beatrice's mother). The organization is now part of the charity Street Child, which works to bring education to children living in places where they couldn't easily access it otherwise. Fun fact: Beatrice ran the 2010 marathon chained to 33 other runners, and the group "set the record for the largest number of runners to finish a marathon tied together," according to the Daily Mail.

But the royal's love for running didn't end with that milestone: Princess Beatrice has participated in scores of races since. In 2017 alone, she participated in both the Lady Garden 5K in London, according to People, and the National Lottery Olympic Park Run, also in London, according to HuffPost. Perhaps Beatrice's most impressive achievement to date, though, is when she completed the Strive Challenge in 2016. "After swimming 3,300m biking 140km, running a half marathon and hiking up mount Etna I finally made it. @strivechallenge @bigchange_," she tweeted at the time.

Princess Eugenie likes to paint

Like her uncle, Prince Charles, Princess Eugenie of York has a deft hand with a paintbrush. She shared this passion of hers on Instagram in 2020, posting a picture she had painted of a very realistic-looking magenta-colored flower. "It's World Art Day..." the princess wrote. "I wanted to share something I did some years ago now. Looking through my old art and crafts has been so fun today and I just hope this time can bring about more creativity from anyone who enjoys it."

As it happens, Princess Eugenie is involved with art in more ways than one. In fact, it's a pretty major part of her everyday life. The royal completed "a degree in English and history of art" at the University of Newcastle in 2012, according to People. She went on to make the most of her studies and is now a director at the London outpost of art gallery Hauser & Wirth, which also has locations in Zurich, "Hong Kong, London, New York, Los Angeles, Somerset, Gstaad, St. Moritz, Southampton (NY), Menorca, and Monaco," per their website.

Prince Philip was a trailblazer in truffle-growing

"Black truffles from France and white truffles from Italy are the two most highly valued," according to USA Today. That doesn't mean the prized specimens can't grow in Great Britain, though. The late Prince Philip wasn't one to take "no" for an answer, and he wanted desperately to prove that he could, in fact, get truffles to grow in England. That's why he spent 12 years trying to get these fancy fungi to make an appearance at the royal estate in Sandringham. At last he succeeded in 2019, according to the Daily Mail. The takeaway? If you believe in something, don't give up on it.

In the Duke of Edinburgh's 99 years, he had plenty of time to develop a curiosity for a range of disciplines. For one, he loved to create oil paintings, like the one of his wife, Queen Elizabeth, having breakfast at Windsor Castle, according to Artnet. Philip spent so much time painting that a portrait was even painted of him sitting at his easel. The late duke was a very creative person and actually designed his own hearse, a Land Rover he started working on in 2003, according to the BBC. Talk about forethought.

Camilla Parker Bowles is a fan of table tennis

At an event commemorating the Royal Air Force's centenary, the Duchess of Cornwall delighted all in attendance by engaging in a vigorous game of ping-pong, according to the Daily Mail. Lest we forget, this wasn't the first time Camilla Parker Bowles made her table tennis skills public. As part of a charity event in 2009, the duchess played a round of ping-pong against local kid Emmanuel Theophilus, who was 10 at the time. "She was brilliant," Theophilus said, according to Hello!. "I was playing my best. I would challenge her to a rematch because I think she won."

Parker Bowles also knows what she's doing in the garden. She and Prince Charles have a gorgeous garden at their house in Gloucestershire – Highgrove – and the duchess is very invested in making it thrive. That said, tending to the garden was definitely a learning curve for her, and she had to call in assistance at first. "I've always loved gardening," she said in a video interview posted to her Instagram account. "But it's not actually till you get a house of your own that I think your interest...is really sparked. And I remember the first house I had, looking at this garden and actually then saying to my mother, 'help,' you know, 'where do I go from there?' and she came and sort of talked me through a lot of basics. She taught me how to prune, she taught me how to plant, she taught me how to weed."

Lady Gabriella Windsor is a skilled songstress

Lady Gabriella Windsor is the daughter of one of the Queen's first cousins, Prince Michael of Kent, according to Good Housekeeping. But her royal status doesn't mean that Windsor is content with resting on her laurels: She sings and writes her own songs, and became ready to share these skills with the world in 2020. At that time, she released two singles on various streaming platforms. "​​It's a little daunting, but exciting too," she told Hello!. "I've always loved music, but never imagined I would become involved with it like this – releasing my own songs."

Windsor has also exercised her creativity in another domain: writing. She has worked as a freelance journalist for several years, contributing to such major British publications as the Mail on Sunday and Country Life, according to Tatler. Harper's Bazaar adds that the royal has also contributed to "The London Magazine, The Sunday Telegraph, The Spectator and the Spanish edition of Hello!."