The secret powers of Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II of England and The Kingdom of Great Britain has some very strange not so strange known and unknown powers at her disposal. Here we take a look at some of the unknown ones and entitlements she has and why she has them.

Below is a breakdown of her powers and what they are.


1) She owns all swans in the River Thames & it is illegal to kill them in England.

Technically, all unmarked swans in open water belong to the Queen, though the Crown “exercises her ownership” only “on certain stretches of the Thames and its surrounding tributaries,” as the official Royal spokesperson says, if you’re caught killing a swan that still carries with it a hefty fine and / or jail sentence as you’re killing / destroying Royal property.

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2) The Queen owns all creatures / animals in waters surrounding the UK.

Very similar to the above whilst that covers in the UK this rule covers all the surrounding areas of the UK, and this rule extends beneath the waves, too. The sovereign has dominion over a variety of aquatic animals in British waters. The Queen still technically owns all the sturgeons, whales, and dolphins in the waters around the UK, in a rule that dates back to a statute from 1324, during the reign of King Edward II.

3) The Queen drives and can drive without a license.

Driving licenses are issued in the Queen’s name, yet she is the only person in the United Kingdom who doesn’t need a driving license or a number plate on her vehicle either. When the Prince now King of Saudi Arabia visited the UK the Queen whilst elderly made a point of getting into the driving seat and she drove him at speed around her Balmoral estate to take in the views to the shock and nervousness of the Saudi King and his interpreters face as women are not allowed the drive in Saudi Arabia. But the Queen is an accomplished driver as she was employed as a driver in WW2 in the military.

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4) The Queen doesn’t need or have a passport on her travels.

Unlike other members of the Royal family, the Queen does not require a passport, as they are issued in her name. So because of that reason the head of the country never has one and is not allowed to be stopped or hindered in any way on foreign travels, which has never happened as The Queen has travelled the world many times.

5) She has her own private cash machine.

She is the only person known in the UK that has an official cash machine / machines from high-end banks in her homes. So she and her family have access to large amounts of cash anytime when they want to need it. What a perk hey?!

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6) she has her very own Poet.

The poet laureate is an honorary position in British society appointed by the Monarch to a poet whose work is of great national impact significance according to the official website of the British Monarchy. When first the role was introduced, the appointee was paid £200 per year plus a butt of canary wine. Today the poet laureate is given a barrel of Sherry.

7) She does not have to pay tax

The Queen is immune from paying tax as she is head of the country it is reported she makes a contribution anyway, even though she doesn’t have to.

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8) She is exempt from Freedom of Information requests.

All information about the royal family is exempt from Freedom of Information requests. The exemption was made after a legal battle between The Guardian and the government to have letters from Prince Charles sent to Whitehall ministers made public.

9) she can overrule and take power in constitutional crisis.

While the overwhelming majority of the Queen’s prerogative powers are devolved to her ministers, there is 1 exception that allows her to wield power herself. Only “in grave constitutional crisis,” the Sovereign can “act contrary to or without Ministerial advice.” With no precedent in modern times, it’s not clear what would actually constitute this, but the possibility remains. That if push came to shove in Parliament the Royals and the Queen take back power.

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10) The Queen still has the right to fire a commonwealth government.

The still majority supportive Commonwealth former British colonies still have the Queen as head of state and like in the 70’s when the Queens envoy fired the Australian PM she still has the ability to carry this out today. In addition to the UK and Australia, the Queen is also the head of state in Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu. Whilst like the UK mostly ceremonial she still has this power!

11) She is immune and can never be prosecuted.

All prosecutions are carried out in the name of the Sovereign, and she is both immune from prosecution and cannot be compelled to give evidence in court. Although civil and criminal proceedings cannot be taken against the Sovereign as a person under UK law, the Queen is careful to ensure that all her activities in her personal capacity are carried out in strict accordance with the law.

The Bottom Line,….

whilst many debate to whether the Royals and Queen are relevant today there is no denying she has some good and weird wonderful powers that are still law that date back centuries. The longest-serving monarch there is no doubt Elizabeth has done her bit and service from serving in WW2 to the present day always adapting and changing keeping in touch with whats going on in the UK and worldwide!

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3 thoughts on “The secret powers of Queen Elizabeth II

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