Five myths about the Queen answered – from tax exemption to driving without a licence

There’s not much about the Queen that her people don’t know – but there are a few myths to be answered.

At 95 years old, Her Majesty is the world’s longest-reigning monarch. She’s served her country for 69 years and met 14 Prime Ministers, including Boris Johnson.

She loves a cheeky Dubonnet and Gin, is obsessed with her gorgeous Corgi dogs and is rarely seen in public without her trusty handbag.

We even know she owns her own McDonald’s branch complete with drive-thru!

Ahead of Her Majesty’s annual Christmas speech, we’ve found a few bizarre and unexpected facts about our monarch.

She drives without a licence

Her Majesty is often seen cruising around Windsor and the countryside in a 4×4 – but did you know she doesn’t have a licence?

According to British law, the Queen doesn’t need a driving licence (or a number plate) because they are issued in her name.

Other royals have to pass their test to get behind the wheel.

Don’t worry though – the Queen isn’t a wild driver. She learned to drive during World War Two, training as a driver and a mechanic in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service.

She doesn’t have to pay tax

That’s right – up until 1993, the Crown was exempt from income tax. Only when the press dubbed her ‘Britain’s biggest tax dodger’ did the waiver end.

Her father George VI became the first sovereign to be granted full income tax exemption. It was compensation as he had to pay most of the Duke of Windsor’s abdication settlement out of his own pocket.

Then, when the Queen stepped up in 1952, Winston Churchill’s government granted her tax breaks so that she could pay for some of her public expenses and not the post-war cash-strapped taxpayer.

Apparently her 40 year exemption would have saved the Queen a seven-figure sum!

She has voluntarily paid income tax and capital gains tax since 1992.

She owns all of England’s swans

Most folk know the Queen owns all of the unclaimed swans in open water in England and Wales.

The reality is, she only has ownership on certain stretches of the River Thames around Windsor.

The royal rights date back to the 12th Century, when swans were eaten at banquets and feasts.

Hundreds of years ago you’d be jailed for injuring or killing a swan. Now they’re a protected species.

Whales and dolphins, too!

Yep – Her Majesty technically owns the whales and dolphins of England as well.

A piece of legislation from 1324 states: “The King shall have…whales and sturgeons taken in the sea or elsewhere within the realm.”

So, if a ‘royal fish’ is caught within three miles of a UK coastline or washes ashore, the Royal Family would have the right to claim it.

She has the power to pass a law

Before a bill becomes law, it must be approved by Her Majesty.

It’s known as the Queen’s Consent and applies to any bill affecting her common law powers, the revenues of the Crown, the Duchies of Lancaster or Cornwall, and her personal property or interests – so, quite a lot!

But it’s not as big of a power trip as you’d think. Buckingham Palace has confirmed that the Queen’s Consent is only refused on the advice of Ministers.

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Basically, the Queen’s Consent is automatic to Bills, unless advised by Ministers to refuse.

In the 1970s, reports claimed the Queen’s personal lawyers persuaded ministers to change a draft law in order to conceal her private wealth. But the palace says the claims are ‘simply untrue’.

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