Royally Odd and Entertaining: Author Dishes on British Royal Family's Alleged Strange Quirks

A Very British Wedding: The Family
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When newly-engaged Kate Middleton weds Prince William next year and becomes Princess Catherine, she won't just inherit the glamour that comes with tying the royal knot, she'll also inherit some of the world's most famous in-laws -- a royal family known for so much more than its crown jewels.

In his new book, "We Are Amused," due out on Nov. 17, an unofficial royal biographer named Brian Hoey has collected some of the most bizarre habits of the British royals. As cultured and refined as they may appear, Hoey described some of the family's strange pet peeves and quips that aren't too far off from those of us commoners.

"My book takes a rather affectionate if amused look, I suppose, at the royal family and tells some of the little oddities about them," Hoey said.

According to the author, Queen Elizabeth II likes things done a certain way, starting with the royal pets. Only she is allowed to pet her beloved Welsh corgis.

She also seems to have other animal-related peculiarities, as well, including one regarding bats.

"The fact [is] that the queen goes batty every afternoon, and by that I mean the queen likes to collect the bats who nest up in the higher reaches of the great hall," Hoey said. "She brings them down with a large butterfly net on a long pole. And, of course, in Britain bats are a protected species so she has to release them. They're nocturnal animals so they come back again every night, so she does it again the next day."

Anyone who has ever mixed Her Majesty her favorite cocktail, gin and Dubonet, must have it down to a science, Hoey said. She drinks three parts gin, one part Dubonet, and likes it on the rocks, though she does not like to hear the ice clinking against the glass.

"Prince Phillip did a little machine that creates tiny ice balls and they rub gently together. That sort of thing," Hoey said. "It's the little idiosyncrasies ... of a family who in many ways [are] very ordinary, but finding themselves in very extraordinary circumstances."

It's also a good idea to make sure the proper attire is worn when being presented to Her Majesty, and her tastes go way beyond a simple coat and tie. Hoey said the queen despises brown suits, loafers and, above all else, clip-on bow ties. Always know how to tie your own tie before entering Buckingham Palace.

With Queen Elizabeth, It's a 'Lavatory,' NOT a 'Toilet'

According to Hoey, even Middleton has made a blunder in the past in front of the queen. It was reported she once used the word "toilet" in front of her future grandmother-in-law and faced a royal backlash for it. With the queen, you excuse yourself to the "lavatory," certainly not the "toilet."

Hoey added that Middleton's future father-in-law, Prince Charles, also has a few quirks, including travelling with a white leather toilet or, as he would call it, lavatory seat.

"The royal family has this tradition at Christmas time. They always like to give each other what they call 'joke presents,' so Prince Charles' sister once gave him a white leather toilet seat," Hoey said. "She thought it was hilarious. He thought it was so marvelous, so comfortable, it now accompanies him everywhere he goes -- all around the world."

Aside from a strange affection for corgis or toilet seats, the royal family isn't all pomp and circumstance. Prince Harry is a known jokester who loves to party.

Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter, Zara Phillips, the daughter of Princess Anne, is considered a royal rebel. Phillips has her navel and tongue pierced, and she was caught lying on a beach topless one summer.

Perhaps Prince William and future Princess Catherine will develop their own quirks and keep us royally entertained. At least, Marina Hyde, a columnist for the British newspaper The Guardian hopes so.

"If they're just rather dull, that might be the worst thing that could happen for the monarchy," Hyde said. "Perhaps we want them to be hugely dramatic. I find it rather more enjoyable when they behave appallingly."

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