Foggy Albion is shrouded in many secrets and legends that may perplex not only tourists, but also the British themselves. Do you know who Prince Harry and William played in Star Wars? And what is the relationship between the Queen of Great Britain and Count Dracula, and why are the British military using the songs of Britney Spears as an effective weapon with the pirates?
We at Happy Worthy Life checked the most dizzying facts about the United Kingdom, which will shock even your English school teacher, who so stubbornly made you learn London is the capital of Great Britain.
1. Queen Elizabeth II – a distant relative of Count Dracula
Recently it became known about the connection between the royal family and Vlad III Tepes (Dracula), a nobleman of the XV century, whose actions gave rise to legends about vampires. It is alleged that Maria Tekskaya, who was the grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II, was in a distant relationship with one of Vlad’s two sons.
2. Slavery in the UK was officially prohibited only in 2010
Trafficking in slaves was abolished and outlawed in the 19th century, but until April 2010, there was no law in Great Britain that recognized forced labor as a crime. So, the woman from north London, Saeed Khan, was the first to be convicted under this law when a jury found her guilty of taking a Tanzanian woman to the UK to work as her domestic worker.
3. Princes Harry and William took part in the filming of Star Wars
Employees of a well-known film company said that the princes took part in the filming of Star Wars: The Last Jedi when they visited the movie set in London in 2016. It is alleged that Harry and William played the roles of famous stormtroopers, the elite warriors of the Galactic Empire.
4. American eggs are prohibited here.
Chicken eggs from the United States are banned in the United Kingdom because they are too clean because they must be washed and sanitized before being sold. And British eggs are illegal in the United States precisely because they are not subjected to additional sanitization until they arrive at store shelves.
5. The Queen’s Palace is built on the site of a brothel
Buckingham Palace, where the queen now lives, was built in 1702 on the site of the then-popular house of tolerance. Today, the palace has more than 700 rooms: 19 state rooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 bedrooms for staff, 92 office rooms and 78 bathrooms.
6. One of the monarchs had a pet – a polar bear, who lived on the banks of the Thames
King Henry III had a polar bear, whom he received as a gift from the King of Norway. The animal was kept on a leash in the Tower of London and allowed to swim in the Thames, so that the bear himself would catch fish there.
7. Metro could become a water transport
London was the first city in the world to open the subway. Initially, the underground tunnels were supposed to be partially flooded so that small barges to carry passengers walked on them, but in the end it was decided to build an underground railway.
8. Birds turned back London time
The Great Hours began the countdown in 1859. The clock tower and the bell is actually called St. Stephen’s Tower. And the bell (Big Ben) got its name in honor of Sir Benjamin Hall, the British commissioner of the plant during the construction of watches. The tower withstood about a dozen attacks by German bombers during World War II. However, in 1949, a flock of birds settled on the minute hand, which led to a 5-minute lag.
9. In Wales, a traditional Christmas outfit looks intimidating
An unusual Christmas tradition has existed in South Wales since 1800. They put on a man in a white hoodie, give a stick in his hands, on which a horse skull is mounted, decorated with ribbons and glass. In such a suit, a man walks around the city, sings songs and collects treats.
10. For going to the cinema on the weekend, they can also be fined.
According to the still valid old law in Northern Ireland, movies are forbidden on Sundays. You can be fined 50 pounds (4,100 rubles) if local law enforcement officers want to find fault with you.
11. Even locals cannot remember the exact name of their village
Llanveirpoollguigillogogerihuirndrobullantisiliogogogoh is the longest name in the world for a village in Wales. However, it does not follow the traditional rules for the creation of Welsh names and was invented only for the entertainment of tourists. And it is translated from the Welsh language as “the Church of St. Mary in the hollow of the white hazel near the whirlpool and the church of St. Tisilio near the red cave.”
12. There are more Indian restaurants in London than in major cities in India
Increasingly, Londoners prefer not their national cuisine, but foreign. So, in the capital of the country today there are more Indian restaurants than in the largest cities of India, such as Mumbai or New Delhi. And some of the so-called Indian dishes that are popular among the British today (for example, tikka masala) were actually invented in England; in India they are not cooked at all.
13. The songs of Britney Spears are used by the military as a weapon.
According to military reports, pop diva hits like Oops! I Did It Again and Baby One More Time were successfully used by British naval officers in an attempt to scare away pirates off the east coast of Africa. Britney’s hits were chosen by a team of military experts because they knew that Somali pirates hate Western culture, and Spears’s songs are the most striking example of propaganda of American values. As soon as the pirates heard from the speakers the voice of the famous singer, they immediately hastened to sail away.
14. In London there is a monument in honor of those who died due to a fight for a sandwich
The smallest sculpture in London is located on the facade of the building on Philpot Lane. She depicts two mice fighting for a piece of cheese. The story behind this tiny sculpture is actually tragic. At the time the building was being built, two builders were involved in a fight, accusing each other of stealing a cheese sandwich. The forests on which they were located could not stand the intensity of passions and collapsed, burial under the rubble of the workers. But later it turned out that none of the builders stole the sandwich, and the mouse ate it.
15. In the United Kingdom, you can rent friends who will cry for you
For 45 pounds per hour (about 3,700 rubles) in England, you can order professional actors who will be presented at the funeral as friends of the deceased and express their grief very emotionally.
16. Kate Middleton – a descendant of the first US president
According to the New England Historical Genealogical Society in Boston, the wife of Duke of Cambridge William is the eight-cousin of George Washington. Their common ancestor was Sir William Gascoigne, who died in 1487.
17. Farmers came up with football
According to one of the ancient legends, football was accidentally invented by Anglo-Saxon farmers who found a skull of a Danish warrior in the field. To express their hostility towards the Danes and have fun, the farmers started kicking the skull and came up with the name of the new game: “kick in the head of the Dane”.
18. One English city “fought” with Russia for 100 years
Because of its status, the English city of Berik until 1885 was included in the title of English monarchs. Thus, in 1854, Queen Victoria declared war on Russia on behalf of “Great Britain, Ireland, Berik and all British possessions,” but when concluding the Paris Peace Treaty of 1856, they simply forgot to mention the city of Berik in the text.
This led to a legal incident, because Berik actually continued to be at war with Russia for 113 years, until in 1966 the Soviet representative signed a “peace treaty” with the mayor of this city.
If you had the opportunity to meet Queen Elizabeth II in person, what would you say to her?