14 Hidden Talents of the British Royal Family

You'll never guess which members of the British royal family possess these surprising hidden talents!

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Queen Elizabeth II visit to The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn, London, UK - 13 Dec 2018

Guess who can change a spark plug?

Queen Elizabeth II got her hands dirty working on cars during World War II. After months of begging her father, King George VI, the 18-year-old then-Princess Elizabeth joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service. Known as “Elizabeth Windsor,” she trained not only as a mechanic but also as a truck driver.

These 12 “facts” about Queen Elizabeth II aren’t true.

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Prince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge visit to Evelina Children’s Hospital, London, UK - 11 Dec 2018
Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

Guess who can toot a flute?

When Kate Middleton was in college with her future husband, Prince William, she was playing flute in the St. Andrews Inaugural Chamber Orchestra, as well with as a group known as the “Tootie Flooties.” Other musically inclined royals include:

  • King Henry VIII – lute, organ, recorder, flute, harp, and his own singing voice.
  • Queen Elizabeth I – lute and harpsichord, which were also mastered by Queen Mary (also known as Bloody Mary) and Mary, Queen of Scots
  • Queen Victoria – piano, an instrument also played by her husband, Prince Albert.
  • Prince Charles – cello, which he played in the Trinity College Orchestra.

Yes, Kate Middleton did have a job before royal life—here’s what she did!

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Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex visit to Dublin, Ireland - 11 Jul 2018

Guess whose penmanship has no “Blurred Lines”?

Everyone knows Ms. Meghan Markle was a talented actress who had a starring role on the television show, Suits. It’s also common knowledge Meghan is a foodie and was an avid food blogger. But what might come as a surprise is Meghan’s talent for calligraphy, at which she became so proficient in the early aughts that she was hired by Robin Thicke (performer of the song Blurred Lines), to address his wedding invitations.

Don’t miss these 17 photos that show Meghan’s stunning style evolution!

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Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York launches her 'Helping Hand Books', New York, America - 26 May 2010
Dave Allocca/Starpix/Shutterstock

Guess who’s a talented children’s book author?

Sarah, Duchess of York, the ex-wife of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, is an accomplished and prolific children’s book author. Her works include Ballerina Rosie, Tea for Ruby, and the Little Red series. She also wrote a memoir, Finding Sarah.

Discover 18 things you never knew about Sarah Ferguson.

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National Lottery 5 Mile Olympic Park Run, Stratford, London, Britain - 31 Mar 2012

Guess who’s a long-distance runner?

Princess Beatrice of York is the first member of the royal family to complete the London Marathon, which she did in 2010. The then-21-year-old princess ran the 26.2-mile race through London’s streets as part of a 34-person “human caterpillar” tied together with bungee cords. And she did it for charity.

Check out these 15 other surprising facts about Princess Beatrice.

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Britain's Queen Elizabeth at the Corum children's charity, London, United Kingdom - 05 Dec 2018
NEIL HALL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Guess who has does impressive impressions?

She has been played by many on screen, but if Queen Elizabeth were to meet you, she’d probably be able to do an astonishingly accurate impression of you and your accent. That’s right, Queen Elizabeth is an accomplished mimic. For that matter, so is her eldest son Prince Charles.

Here’s what you should do if you ever meet a member of the royal family.

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The Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards, Reception, Edinburgh, UK - 06 Jul 2017
Jane Barlow/Pa Wire/Shutterstock

Guess who grows his own black truffles?

Only one person’s ever succeeded in cultivating black truffles on English soil, and that’s Prince Philip. A passionate and patient gardener, after toiling at truffle-coaxing since 2006, the Prince Consort has finally succeeded in producing the French Perigord black truffle, a rare and now highly-sought-after delicacy. That said, there are many gardening aficionados in the royal family, including Philip’s eldest son, Prince Charles.

Don’t miss these 13 bizarre royal jobs that actually exist.

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Maisemore Point to Point Horse Race, Gloucestershire, Britain - 01 Apr 2012
Joan Wakeham/Shutterstock

Guess who’s an Olympic athlete?

Princess Anne competed in the three-day equestrian event during the 1976 Montreal Olympics, making her the first royal to compete in the Olympics. Her daughter, Zara Phillips, competed in the same equestrian three-day event at the 2012 Olympics in London, in which Great Britain won the silver medal. Of course, many in the royal family are accomplished equestrians, including the Queen, Prince Philip, and Princes William and Harry, both of whom are accomplished polo payers.

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Buckingham Palace Garden Party, London, UK - 31 May 2018

Guess who’s a secret videographer?

Among her many talents, the Queen is an accomplished videographer, having received her first Box Brownie as a gift from her father, King George VI, before the start of World War II. Keeping pace with advancing technology, Queen Elizabeth II has become known for her “effortless knack of capturing her family at their most informal and most relaxed,” according to the Daily Mail.

Find out how Queen Elizabeth II will step down—without giving up her title.

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News Group/Shutterstock

Guess the royal with the diving skills?

In the more than two decades since the tragic, untimely death of Diana, Princess of Wales, lots of little-known facts about the People’s Princess have turned up. But what remains little-known about Diana is that she was an accomplished diver. Her “Spencer Special” was a dive into a pool that barely left a ripple, according to biographer Andrew Morton in Diana: Her True Story.

This is what Kensington Palace looked like right after Princess Diana’s death.

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Prince Harry has a flying lesson, training to be an Army helicopter pilot, Army Flying Headquarters Middle Wallop, Hampshire, Britain - 18 Nov 2008

Guess who can pilot a helicopter?

This one shouldn’t be that tough considering there are at least five that come to mind, right off the top of our heads. These include Prince Harry, Prince William, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, and Prince Philip.

Check out the funniest royal family moments in pictures!

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Queen Alexandra - Downey Photograph On A Postcard

Can you name the many talented royal painters?

We’re not talking about artists who painted members of the royal family, but members of the royal family who were actually quite good with a paintbrush. These include:

  • King George III
  • Queen Victoria
  • Prince Albert
  • King Edward VII
  • Queen Alexandra (the Queen Consort of King Edward VII)
  • Queen Elizabeth II
  • Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

You can see many of their stunning works on the Royal Collection Trust.

Don’t miss these 23 rarely seen photos of the royal family through the years.

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Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyle

Can you name the renowned royal sculptor?

The fourth daughter and sixth child of Queen Victoria, Princess Louise is widely considered Victoria’s most “unconventional” child. From an early age, Louise showed considerable talent in drawing and painting, but what she really wanted to do was sculpt. And she was incredibly talented at that as well, with her 1893 sculpture of her mother Queen Victoria on display in front of Kensington Palace.

Here are 24 things you probably didn’t know about Queen Victoria.

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The Prince Of Wales visit to The BFI Southbank, London, UK - 06 Dec 2018

Guess which royals were polyglots?

Both Prince George and Prince Charlotte are showing a knack for speaking French, but if they want to compete with the most accomplished royal polyglots (masters of many languages), they’ll need to study these as well:

  • German – Queen Victoria’s first language (although she spoke English at Court and mastered many other languages).
  • French – traditional “royal court” language in Europe, spoken now by the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
  • Hindustani – After Queen Victoria became Empress of India in 1877, she grew fond of Indian culture and languages, which she learned through her many Indian servants.
  • Mandarin, Arabic, Spanish, Swahili, and Vietnamese (which Charles and William have studied)
  • British Sign Language.

Next, read on to find out 50 more things you didn’t know about the royal family.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest