The Royal Family, and Queen Elizabeth in particular, often seem perplexing to those living outside of England. With varying tones of respect, people all around the world look at the Queen and ask one, simple question: “what makes her so special?”
As it turns out, quite a few things! Sure, Queen Elizabeth has all of the privileges that the rest of the Royal Family does. But there are special things that she can do that nobody else in the country can!
What kind of things are we talking about? Keep reading to discover the things Queen Elizabeth can do that no one else can!
Not pay taxes
A better part of being the Queen is that Elizabeth is technically exempt from paying taxes. We say “technically” because she still voluntarily pays taxes on the things like assets and income that are not used for official royal business.
Stay out of jail
All those memes about Elizabeth being able to get away with murder are technically true. She has special sovereign immunity that keeps her from being jailed or prosecuted for any crime!
Take ownership of all unclaimed swans
That is not a typo, dear reader! Thanks to an obscure 12th-century law, Elizabeth retains the right to claim ownership of all unclaimed swans throughout the country.
Skip the passport
International travel is annoying to most of her countrymen, especially in the wake of Brexit. But when the Queen does travel to different countries, she is the only one in the Royal Family and the only one in the country who doesn’t need a passport.
No last name needed
Elizabeth was born with the last name “Windsor.” But when she became Queen, she changed her last name to “Regina,” a word that means “queen” in Latin. For certain official documents, she simply signs as “Elizabeth R.” In other words, when she’s not going by “Queen Elizabeth,” she’s basically signing as “Elizabeth Queen.”
Rock two birthday parties
Every year, the Queen has a major public birthday celebration in June at the Trooping the Colour ceremony. However, her actual birthday is on April 21, and she celebrates it privately. Two birthdays? Sounds like a pretty good deal to us!
Have her face on money around the world
You’re obviously a big deal by the time your face ends up on national currency. So, how big of a deal is Queen Elizabeth? At last count, her face appears on currency in 35 countries around the world. Needless to say, this has landed her a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Drive without a license plate
The Queen is the only person in the country who can legally drive without a license plate. Then again, would anyone really need a special license plate to recognize Elizabeth behind the wheel?
Drive without a license
Speaking of getting behind the wheel, Elizabeth can always drive herself when she doesn’t feel like being chauffeured. And she doesn’t need a driver’s license, ever, while doing so! That’s a cool perk, but we ask again: is there anyone in the country or even in the world that wouldn’t recognize Elizabeth right away?
No jury duty
Nobody likes jury duty, but everyone is compelled to serve at times, including the Royal Family. But there is one notable exception: the Queen never has to do jury duty because of how this could potentially disrupt the country.
Give out criminal pardons
One of Elizabeth’s more interesting powers is that she issue royal prerogatives of mercy, which function like criminal pardons. She did so two years ago to pardon a convicted felon because he had saved British lives during a sudden terror attack.
Final approval on royal dress code
If you’ve somehow never noticed, the Royal Family must abide by a special dress code. This code does things like keep royals from wearing black unless they are morning. And while the Queen doesn’t personally craft the dress code, much of the code is modeled on her own fashion preferences, and she has final approval on the code itself.
Dismiss the prime minister
The exact relationship between royalty and the British government is confusing. For example, while the prime minister functions more like a president, Elizabeth retains the right to dismiss the PM at any time!
Approve royal marriages
The Queen is the only one that can approve of certain royal marriages. Specifically, the Succession to the Crown Act gives means she must personally approve of marriages for the first six members of the Royal family that are next in line for her crown.
Take custody of her grandchildren
There are certain abilities Elizabeth has that she will certainly never use. For example, an early 1700s legal change from King George I means that the Queen can take legal custody of her grandchildren if she wants to. But since she has a much better relationship with her children than George did, we don’t see this ever happening.
Disclose her finances
This one’s a little different. Strictly speaking, Elizabeth is exempt from England’s Freedom of Information Act, meaning she is not legally compelled to disclose private matters, including family finances. Despite being exempt, though, she dutifully discloses how she used public money each year, as do the rest of the royals.
Use a private ATM
Everyone has had to scramble for an ATM at one point in their lives except Queen Elizabeth. She has access to a special ATM in the basement of Buckingham Palace. However, we never actually see her carry cash around the country except for donations she makes at church on Sundays.
Break speed limits
Does Queen Elizabeth have the need for speed? Well… probably not. But when she is being officially escorted, the Queen can actually break all speed limits as she sees fit.
Even though it’s largely symbolic these days, getting knighted remains one of the highest honors in the entire country. And only the Queen can bestow these knighthoods, which is typically done in a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
Give out royal warrants
One of Elizabeth’s more interesting abilities is granting royal warrants to companies or individuals that will be working in a trading capacity for the Royal Family. Ever wonder where the Queen gets those adorable, color-coded umbrellas that match her outfits? From Fulton Umbrellas, a company she granted such a warrant to.
Declare both war and peace
Again, we normally think of the Prime Minister dealing with matters of war rather than royalty. But the Queen retains the right to declare war, declare peace, and even unilaterally commit troops to military conflicts as she sees fit.