Strange Things You Didn't Know About Queen Elizabeth's Children

Throughout her reign, Queen Elizabeth II has never failed to uphold her dignified demeanor, even in the wake of innumerable tumultuous situations. Unfortunately, it's sometimes difficult to echo those same sentiments when it comes to her offspring. Behind the closed doors of Bucks Palace, the queen's kids — Anne, Charles, Edward, and Andrew — have been at the center of numerous strange speculations. There once was a time when the private shenanigans of the monarchy were fiercely protected by the British press. However, as times changed, so did the representations of the royal family. And thus began the surfacing of less than complimentary stories about the queen's children, tales that would raise many eyebrows, if not drop jaws.

We all know that Prince Charles dabbles in ventures beyond his royal duties, but his lesser known interests and NSFW cringefests will leave even the most stoic aristocrats blushing. As for his brothers, Edward and Andrew, there has been no end to their bizarre endeavors away from Buckingham Palace, including dressing up in over-the-top costumes and playing games on national television (more on that later). And when it comes to the queen's only daughter, Anne has managed to have more than one near-fatal brush with the law — and she's not always sitting in the plaintiff's chair.

How and why Liz's progeny managed to land themselves in these surreal situations raises many questions. Get ready for strange things you didn't know about Queen Elizabeth's children.

Prince Charles' Poundbury utopia

There are many things one associates with Prince Charles: environmentalism, organic farming, and philanthropy. But town planning? The brainchild of Charles, Poundbury is a new town built in Southwest England in 1993. Speaking with "60 Minutes," His Royal Highness explained that Poundbury's goal was "to break the conventional mold. In the way we've been building and designing... during the last century, really, has all been part of a throwaway society." Combining the ambience of a quaint English town with modern areas for walking and commuting, Charles tried to manufacture a new way of living with Poundbury. While some have praised the model village as an admirable attempt to engineer a charming Englishness of old, it has also drawn its fair share of criticism, with many viewing Charles' magnum opus as little more than as The Guardian put it, "a feudal Disneyland."

Likening the town to a 1950s department store, The Guardian branded Poundbury "fake, heartless, authoritarian and grimly cute." Meanwhile, Current Affairs magazine suggested that the town was reflective of a dystopian nightmare unfit for human habitation, arguing that Poundbury is not a "real town, a living town, but a collection of hyperreal set pieces, a moquette built at 1 to 1 scale." Yikes.

Piping hot burns aside, Poundbury's architectural design has also caused unforeseen traffic chaos. In 2016, Charles erected a statue of the Queen Mother in the middle of the road, leading to widespread "confusion" as to whether or not the mighty bronze carving is "a roundabout or a junction," per Daily Mail.

The queen's kids were a Royal Knockout

In 1987, Princess Anne, Prince Edward, Prince Andrew, and Sarah, Duchess of York, appeared on slapstick game show "It's A Royal Knockout," which was a celeb spinoff of popular series "It's A Knockout." It was anything but... a knockout. Other participants included Christopher Reeve — aka Superman — and Meatloaf. The intention of the ill-conceived spectacle, which was spawned from the, er, genius of Edward, was to raise money for charity, per The Sun. Dressed up in mock Tudor costumes, the royals headed teams that competed against each other by maneuvering through various quirky obstacle courses. Among the bizarre activities were a round in which participants dressed up as vegetables and a segment that involved a group of ginormous (and terrifying) "kings of the castle." Alas, it was a simpler time.

Seeing the queen's children compete in the silly game show was equal parts confusing and amusing. Despite the bonkers nature of the program, the royal offspring took their duties as team captains far too seriously, with Andrew demanding a rematch after the running of the gargantuan puppets didn't go exactly as he hoped. At a press conference after filming, Edward asked everyone what they thought, prompting much laughter from the gathered journalists. He thanked them and stormed off.

According to insiders, the queen lamented her children humiliating themselves on TV, branding the farce a "terrible mistake," per PBS. Despite the apparent embarrassment it caused the royals, the event did raise a significant amount of money for charity, as reported by The Independent.

Princess Anne has had trouble with the law

Of all the queen's children, her only daughter is arguably the most unassuming. But it turns out that Anne is anything but a model princess. The first senior member of the royal family to get a criminal record, Princess Anne got into hot water over her troublesome pooch. In 2002, Anne was out walking her bull terrier, Dottie, when the dog attacked two children, per The Washington Post. Subsequently, she was fined $785 and the pup was ordered to undergo obedience training. However, many were unhappy with the ruling, since such an offense often carries a six-month jail stint. She may have escaped the house of corrections, but she was firmly in the doghouse in the eyes of the public.

A year later, another of Anne's terriers, Florence, killed one of Queen Elizabeth's beloved — and oldest — corgis, per CBS. According to the Evening Standard, the queen was "absolutely devastated" by the death of her dear pup, the situation made more tragic by the fact that he was killed by her own daughter's pet. Following the heartbreaking incident, it was decided that Florence would receive psychological intervention as opposed to being put down, as reported by the Independent.

Yet, this wouldn't be the end of the canine drama. In 2012, Express reported that Anne's dogs savaged her favorite plushie, a stuffed bear gifted by her mom in 1952.

Where is Prince Andrew's money coming from?

He enjoys a billionaire playboy's lifestyle, yet his annual salary is $338,000 according to The New York Times. So, how exactly does Prince Andrew sustain a life of luxury? The funding of the royal's vast wealth and love of all things opulent has long been a question mark. As reported by The Sun, Andrew's lavish expenditure includes frequent fancy vacations across the globe, a $290,416 Bentley, a Rolex collection worth several hundred thousand dollars, and a $22.4 million ski chalet. "The answers behind Andrew's sources of wealth are shrouded in mystery," author David McClure told the outlet, suggesting that Andrew's super rich pals such as Jeffrey Epstein probably "gave him useful financial advice." Indeed, his ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York did tell the Evening Standard she received cash from Epstein to pay off a lingering debt. The Daily Mail alleges that Andrew's ties to wealthy financier David Rowland may help to explain his billionaire high life. According to the outlet, Andrew was involved in shady dealings with Rowlands' offshore tax-dodging fund.

In 2022, Andrew settled his lawsuit with Virginia Giuffre, who has long maintained that the prince sexually assaulted her when she was 17, raising major questions as to how exactly he funded the settlement. The Washington Post speculates that Andrew, who has denied the allegations, likely paid Giuffre a figure in the tens of millions, far exceeding his annual salary of less than half a million. Accordingly, The Telegraph reports that the queen may have chipped in on Andrew's settlement.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Prince Edward's bizarre production company venture

The Queen was reportedly enraged when Prince Edward dropped out of the marines just four months after joining, but her youngest son was intent on pursuing his Tinseltown dreams. "I love the razzmatazz of show business," Edward once said, per Telegraph

In 1993, Edward formed the film recording company Ardent Productions. Things were going fairly well for this unusual royal venture until he decided to conduct an interview – despite the fact he had no journalistic experience whatsoever. In 2002, he produced the documentary "Edward On Edward," about abdicated King Edward VIII's alleged ties to the Nazis during WWII. Per The Guardian, Edward's attempts to interview a subject were nothing short of disastrous, his lack of experience becoming glaringly obvious. "Eventually I had to stop the interview," producer Christine Carter told The Guardian. "And I said to Edward and the interviewee, 'What did the Duke of Windsor say to Hitler?' Edward said, 'Chris, you'd better do this interview.'"

That wasn't Edward's only faux pas in his pursuit of stardom as a TV producer. In 2001, he was accused of invading his nephew Prince William's privacy by inviting camera crews into his campus at St. Andrews University, as reported by the BBC. The fiasco reportedly left William's father, Prince Charles, "incandescent with rage." When Ardent Productions dissolved in 2009, Edward was left with a measly £40 despite having invested a colossal £300,000 ($395,660) of his own money into the formation of the company, per The Telegraph.

Prince Charles and Camilla's scandalous phone call

Prince Charles' adoration for his mistress turned wife Camilla Parker-Bowles has been no secret. But their phone sex? That's not a detail any of us were expecting. Charles and Camilla were involved in a steamy affair when they were both married to other people. In 1989, when still married to estranged wife Lady Diana, Charles felt he had free rein to rekindle his spark with Camilla. Among the activities the thirsty pair enjoyed was racy phone conversations. In one particularly toe-curling chat, a transcript of which was published by People in 1993 (via Esquire), Camilla joked that Charles ought to be reincarnated as her undies, as the prince fantasized about being a tampon. And, well, it just gets weirder from there (if that's even possible).

Dubbed Camillagate, the leaking of the conversations was a source of huge embarrassment for the prim and proper prince. As royal author Howard Hodgson wrote in his biography of the Prince of Wales, "He remains deeply ashamed of the embarrassment that he caused his mother, deeply sorry for the pain it caused both his and Camilla's children."

Tampon metaphors aside, what makes the affair even stranger is the fact that Charles was pals with his lover's then-husband, Andrew, as noted in the book "Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life." Forget the royal code; Charles broke the bro code.

Princess Anne won't shake people's hands

When Princess Anne appeared to rebuff Donald Trump's handshake, many saw it as a personal attack on the then POTUS. In a video obtained by The Guardian, Trump chatted to the queen, Prince Charles, and Camilla Parker-Bowles during his royal visit. The queen then gestured towards her only daughter, who waited in the corridor. Anne appeared to turn down the opportunity to exchange pleasantries with the then-president, shrugging and muttering, "It's just me."

However, royal journalist Valentine Low took to Twitter to give the lowdown on Anne's seemingly uncouth etiquette. The truth is, Anne won't shake anyone's hand, and that includes the Donald. In the documentary "Queen of the World" (via Cosmopolitan), Anne explained that shaking hands was unheard of for her royal forebears and that's just how she likes it. "It's not for me to say that it's wrong, but I think the initial concept was that it was patently absurd to start shaking hands," she said. "And it seems to be that it's become a shaking hands exercise rather than a walkabout if you see what I mean." It's the plot twist that Larry David wished he had penned. 

The queen may enjoy shaking hands with everybody, exhibiting all the social graces required to fulfill her duties, but her daughter cares little about adhering to social conventions foisted upon her.

Prince Andrew likes to save on his commute time

We've all been there: we look up the quickest route home to save on our commute so we can Netflix 'n' chill as soon as possible. However, it's another thing entirely to flagrantly destroy public property in the process.

As the Express reported in 2016, Prince Andrew got into trouble when he "rammed closed park gates" of Windsor Great Park with his Range Rover, supposedly to save on traveling one extra mile. The incident caused a hefty amount of damage to both the park gate and the royal's swanky car. Speaking with The Sun (via Express), a startled park employee said, "The gate stops deer roaming and the Prince uses it as a short cut. For some reason the sensors didn't work. Instead of going a mile out of his way, he just decided to ram it open." Onlookers expressed their dismay at the prince's brazen disregard for safety and public property.

The incident led to campaigners calling for the prince to be prosecuted. However, the police opted not to pursue Andrew, causing a huge outcry from anti-royalists. "They are a nationally owned property portfolio that raises revenue for the taxpayer. They have a duty to protect their assets and to be open and honest with the press," campaigner Graham Smith lamented, per The Guardian. He then condemned the royal family's refusal to comment on the incident, asking, "If Prince Andrew wasn't responsible then why the silence from the palace and the estate?"

Prince Charles promotes alternative medicine

In addition to his environmental activism, it might surprise some that Prince Charles is a vocal proponent of the controversial use of homeopathy for serious illnesses. In 2004, The Guardian reported that Charles supported so-called "coffee cures" for cancer. Speaking at a healthcare conference, the Prince of Wales championed the highly contentious Gerson Therapy, which entails heavy fruit consumption and coffee enemas, claiming that he knew of a girl whose terminal cancer was cured by the controversial treatment.

The prince faced a hefty backlash following the claims. The Telegraph reported that cancer surgeon Michael Baum slammed Charles over his support for Gerson Therapy, arguing that the royal's evidence of the therapy's efficacy was merely anecdotal and lamented the fact that seriously ill patients may give up their cancer treatment in favor of alternative medicine. "There is this peculiar idea of a conspiracy in orthodox medicine that doctors want to deny their patients effective treatment. I don't know of any doctor who would not use a treatment that worked," the doctor pointed out.

Charles' support for alternative medicine culminated in the publishing of two homeopathy guides by the Prince and his Foundation for Integrated Health, leading to widespread criticism from the scientific community, who condemned "misleading and inaccurate claims" made by Charles, per The Times. However, the royal has been unrelenting in his support of alternative medicine, lobbying for homeopathy to be available on the National Health Service, which is the U.K.'s tax payer-funded provider of universal healthcare.

The royal siblings' bizarre diets

What is a meal fit for a royal? Well, judging by Queen Elizabeth's offspring, rotten bananas and "Balmoral Butties" are on the menu. Okay, we know British cuisine catches an unfair rap (jellied eels, anyone?), but the royal siblings' diets take the figurative and literal cake.

It seems that Edward's meal of choice is the "Balmoral Butty." According to The Sunday Post, the alliterative dish is a sandwich "filled with barbecued beef or fish," with "butty" being colloquial British for "sandwich." Meanwhile, Prince Andrew loves another quintessentially English dish, "meat and potato pie," per Express. He may be a lavish spender, but Andy apparently favors the cheap stuff, opting to grab $1 savory pies from the grocery store.

It is Princess Anne, however, who wins the gong for most... noteworthy meal choice. Queen Liz's only daughter reportedly loves nothing more than munching on rotten bananas. "[Princess Anne] almost always preferred the bananas almost black — overripe — because they digest easier," former royal chef Darren McGrady told Today. As for Charles, he reportedly never eats lunch. In fact, he barely eats breakfast, opting for a hearty dinner at the end of the day. "When we do day visits or foreign tours, he can go the whole day without stopping for a break, which means we all have to miss our lunch as well," one of the prince's advisers told the Daily Mail. On the rare occasion he doesn't forgo lunch, Charles allegedly eats one boiled egg, per Town and Country.

Princess Anne was almost kidnapped

It was the spring of 1974 and a 23-year-old Princess Anne would endure an ordeal she would never forget. As recounted by Tatler, a man named Ian Ball pulled a gun on a car that was transporting Queen Elizabeth's daughter. He intended to hold the royal for ransom. The princess and her husband were saved by a civilian named Ronnie Russell, "a passing boxer ... who punched Ball in the head," but her driver, her security guard, and a tabloid writer were shot. All three injured individuals survived the attack. The would-be kidnapper was later sentenced to life in a psychiatric facility, as reported by Smithsonian Mag. Chillingly, when police searched Ball's car they found "two pairs of handcuffs, Valium tranquilizers, and a ransom letter addressed to the Queen."

Anne may have dodged the bullet, but she certainly didn't bite her acerbic tongue. In an interview with Michael Parkinson, the princess recalled the horrific incident with good humor. "We had a fairly low-key discussion about the fact that I wasn't going to go anywhere and wouldn't it be much better if we just went away and we all forget about it," she joked. The witty royal went on to recall that she almost lost her cool over a wardrobe malfunction that occurred in the middle of the mayhem. "[T]he back of my dress split ... and that was his most dangerous moment," she said. "I lost my rag at that stage."

Prince Charles' unusual fear and weird habits

We all have phobias that some may deem bizarre. Regardless of social status, irrational fears are a lived experience. In the case of Prince Charles, his aristocratic status is central to his unusual fear. Due to being served hand and foot from day one, it's understandable that Charles was unfamiliar with everyday culinary aids. According to reports, Charles was absolutely terrified the first time he saw Saran Wrap (or cling film as it's known across the pond).

In the book "Rebel Prince" by Tom Bower, the author details a strange instance in which Charles supposedly "shrieked" after seeing the plastic wrap. "Fearing the worst, Camilla dashed in after him," Bower writes (via The Independent). According to the account, Camilla then reassured her husband, "It's cling film, darling." One can't help but wonder what he thought the innocuous plastic film was.

In addition to his strange aversion to kitchen equipment, Charles has numerous other quirks. The documentary "Serving the Royals: Inside the Firm" (via Yahoo!) sees former royal butler Paul Burrell, who has previously got into hot water over his claims regarding the royal family, purport that Charles' odd habits include having his shoelaces ironed and making his staff load his toothbrush. "On one occasion, he rang me from his library and he said, 'Oh Paul, a letter from the Queen seems to have fallen into my wastepaper bin. Would you pick it out?'" Burrell claims. It should be noted that Burrell is known for playing fast and loose with the truth.

Prince Andrew's alleged outlandish behavior

Much has been made of Prince Andrew's alleged egregious behavior. While his association with pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein has been well documented, Andrew's shady past has more layers than many royal fans realize. As a former royal aid alleged to The Sun, "He's been incredibly rude to his personal protection officers, literally throwing things on the ground and demanding that they 'f***ing pick them up'. No social graces at all." In an exposé for the Daily Mail, author Ingrid Seward claimed that, from a young age, Andrew was a royal pain. As a child, Seward alleges, Andrew was "taunting the guardsmen on duty and aiming sly kicks at the dogs." He also reportedly swiped at the royal horses with sticks.

There are further rumors of Andrew's supposed callousness. Speaking with The Sun, former royal maid Charlotte Briggs claimed that the prince thought it was hilarious when his dog bit her. "My leg was bleeding and my tights ripped," Briggs said, adding that when Andrew was informed he "just laughed." She said that the prince "never apologized" and "It's those little things that tell a lot about people and their character."

All of this strange behavior has led to some dubbing Andrew the "black sheep" of the Royal Family. According to Andrew Morton's book "Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words," Princess Diana supposedly felt uneasy around Andrew, remarking that there was "something troubling him."

Prince Charles reportedly changes outfits many times a day

Prince Charles is known to be a snazzy dresser, but you may have to look once, twice, or even thrice to catch a glimpse of his various impressive ensembles. As The Guardian noted, insiders have said Charles changes his fits "five times a day." In 2002, outlet reported that Charles had not only been overspending public money, but he apparently had a predilection for fancy duds that he would wear and then discard with little care. The clothing included "£2,000 bespoke suits and handmade Turnbull and Asser shirts" which were "left strewn across the floor for one of the valets to pick up." 

This wouldn't be the last we would hear of Charles' bizarre sartorial habits. Royal biographer Brian Hoey penned the book "Not in Front of the Corgis: Secrets of Life Behind the Royal Curtains," further detailing Charles' particular requests. Among the claims are that the prince orders his staff to hand wash all of his clothing, as his garments are not "ever allowed near a washing machine," and pick out exactly what he will wear each day. As the Express noted, he's been nicknamed the "pampered prince."

Charles has since seemingly attempted to make amends for his allegedly wasteful ways by supporting ethically made fashion, having released a sustainable fashion line in 2020, per GQ.