Hidden Hobbies You Didn't Know The Royal Family Had

The members of the British royal family seem like they're always busy. Their schedules are chock full of official appearances, events, travels around the globe to fulfill royal duties, and charity work. With such a whirlwind of activities, it may appear that they never have any time to stop and smell the roses. However, it just so happens that the royals do get some downtime, despite the fact that they do lead rather busy lives. And, yes, they have hobbies just like the rest of us.

During their leisure time, they find pleasure in activities that aren't associated with any of their daily responsibilities and, arguably, don't necessarily seem all that royal. So just what do the members of the royal family do in their spare time? From riding motorcycles to playing the guitar to keeping bees, here's how the royals spend their time when they are outside the public glare.

The Queen has a love of stamp collecting

While Queen Elizabeth may be better known for breeding racehorses and her love of Corgis, one of her other hobbies was also a pastime of her grandfather, King George V (via The Sun). The longest reigning Monarch is the owner of some of the rarest stamps in the world.

Royal expert Phil Dampier told Fabulous Digital that the queen is rather proud of her collection and enjoys showing it off to Buckingham Palace guests (via MyLondon News). Dampier also shared that stamp collecting brings her happiness and joy for various reasons. One of the many reasons is that Queen Elizabeth is carrying on a family tradition, making her father and former monarchs who owned the collection proud. 

On May 1, 1840, the first adhesive stamped Penny Blacks were issued in the United Kingdom (via Warwick & Warwick). The Queen once owned 10 of these one-cent stamps dated from the first they came into circulation, which was five days after the issuance, but she auctioned them off in 2001 for a whopping £250,000 (via The Guardian). One of the most precious stamps in the Queen's priceless collection is a Mauritian stamp valued at £2 million (or nearly $2.5 million). Her entire collection is estimated to be worth over £100 million, according to The Telegraph.

One of Prince Philip's beloved hobbies was shooting

The late Prince Philip enjoyed shooting and hunting for most of his life and often hosted shooting parties. In his book "Dinner at Buckingham Palace," author Charles Oliver briefly detailed about these parties. Oliver had been in royal service for over 60 years, and his book gives readers an insight into the world of royal dining. Oliver discussed what food was served to the guests during Prince Phillip's shooting gatherings at the Sandringham Estate, Windsor, and Balmoral Castle. He wrote, "From late summer to midwinter Prince Philip spends as much time shooting as his busy schedule permits."

Unfortunately, in 2011 after Prince Philip had to have a stent put in his heart after doctors found a blocked artery, he was told that he had to give up one of his favorite pastimes. In her book "Prince Philip Revealed," royal expert Ingrid Seward wrote that after the surgery in December 2011, he was told not to shoot anymore because it could jeopardize his health. She explained, "The fear was that the recoil of the gun when it was fired might dislodge the stent" (via Express).

Prince Philip reportedly thought his absence from shooting would be temporary, but that was not the case (via Daily Mail). However, Seward shared in her book that Philip would go on to take up a new outdoor hobby: fishing.

Prince Charles is an avid gardener

While Prince Charles has had quite a few hobbies, like writing children books and watercolors, his real passion is gardening. He manages the gardens at his private residence, Highgrove House. Charles is known for loving the environment, and it seems that his affection for horticulture began at a young age.

On a British radio show, "The Poet Laureate Has Gone to His Shed," the prince talked about his time as a child spent in the garden with his sister, Princess Anne (via People). He shared that the two of them had a small vegetable garden and had a great time growing all different kinds of vegetables, including tomatoes. Prince Charles also acknowledged the value of eating the food you grow and said that he believes "it is so important to find ways of encouraging children to grow vegetables and things at school."

During the interview, which took place at Charles' Welsh home, Llwynywermod, he told host Simon Armitage that he had acquired the land in Wales back in 2008 and spent weekends and any other spare time he had to bring the grounds back to life by planning and pruning trees and planting flowers. Charles further revealed that he wished he was more hands-on when gardening at the property, but due to not having enough time and a bad back, it's just not possible. However, he said it's a "labor of love" for him. 

Prince William has always loved motorcycles

Many royal fans may think of Prince William's brother Harry as the adventurous brother, but interestingly enough, William has that same streak in him. According to Express, William's love of motorcycling stems back to his childhood. He used to ride go-karts when he was a child and then from there, he started riding quads, which eventually led him to ride motorcycles. He actually is the one who got his younger brother into riding them. Prince William has owned quite a few bikes, including a Yamaha XT600 and a Honda Blackbird. Reportedly in 2010, he ordered a top-of-the-range Ducati superbike, a 2011 Ducati 1198 SP, to add to his collection (via Visor Down).

In 2008, Princes William and Harry took part in a strenuous 1,000-mile motorcycle rally with over 80 other riders in South Africa. The Enduro Africa '08 event raised money for UNICEF, Nelson Mandela's Children's Fund, and an organization called Sentebale, founded by Harry and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, which assists vulnerable youth in Botswana and Lesotho who have become victims of extreme poverty. (via The Times).

According to NBC News, William said he and Harry decided to participate because of the "mixture of adventure and charity." As of this writing, William still rides motorcycles, but not as often as he once did. According to triple World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea, William apparently put his beloved hobby "on the back-burner" due to his growing family (via Express).

Kate Middleton has a passion for beekeeping

In 2021, Kate Middleton surprised a group of local school children at London's Natural History Museum to learn about its Urban Nature Project (via Hello Magazine). While visiting with the kids, she revealed that one of her favorite hobbies is making honey. The Duchess of Cambridge shared a jar of her homemade blend that she made at Anmer Hall, where she often resides with her children and Prince William. She reportedly told the kids, "This came specially from my beehive," and asked them if they wanted to try it. She also asked the kids if the sweet treat tasted like the kind of honey you can buy from the store and if it tasted like flowers. After the youngsters sampled the honey, the Duchess of Cambridge said that now when they see a bee, they should thank it for making tasty honey.

Beekeeping seems to be a Middleton family hobby. Middleton shares her love for homemade honey with her younger brother, Jame Middleton, who's also an avid beekeeper. Back in 2020, James shared an Instagram video of himself with his bees. He wrote, "I've been a passionate advocate of these ingenious, industrious little creatures since I became a beekeeper myself nearly a decade ago, having fallen for them as a child.I now have almost half a million bees in eight hives in a meadow at our family home, Bucklebury Manor in Berkshire."

The Duchess of Cornwall is into collecting royal memorabilia

During a trip to the Emmaus UK shop in Mossley, Ashton-under-Lyne, a thrift shop that helps people experiencing homelessness rebuild their lives, Camilla Parker Bowles confessed to collecting royal memorabilia while treating herself to a Silver Jubilee mug. While perusing the shop, the royal remarked, "I see you've got a nice jubilee mug. I am going to buy that. I have a whole collection, believe it or not." Camilla bought the bargain mug that celebrated the Queen's 1977 achievement for £1.50, according to The Telegraph.

The Duchess of Cornwall was attending an annual luncheon at the shop before the Platinum Jubilee. As she continued touring around the store and rummaging through shelves, she spotted a few other bargains while chatting with patrons. After spotting a teapot, she was reportedly heard telling patrons that there was a nice one for the taking for anyone who collected them. The Duchess of Cornwall also noted that she wished she had more time to shop (via The Telegraph).

Prince Harry likes to meditate

In 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle appeared on the "Teenager Therapy" podcast to mark World Mental Health Day and, during the candid chat, revealed that meditation had become a big part of their life. He shared that he never thought he would be a person who meditates but said it had become an essential part of his everyday life, and most of the influence is from his wife who has been a devoted Yogi throughout her adult life.

The former senior royal disclosed that he utilizes it to deal with negativity in the press and social media abuse, and explained that meditating had given him a lot of clarity. While speaking about his hobby, Prince Harry added, "The importance of creating a moment and taking that time in your day to just take a breath ... that builds up a certain amount of resilience." Markle chimed in during the interview and stated that her husband meditated habitually and was quite dedicated.

Meghan Markle is a skilful calligrapher

Long before Meghan Markle married Prince Harry and became the Duchess of Sussex, she was known to be a skilled calligrapher. While chatting with Esquire back in 2013, the "Suits" actress told the outlet that she picked up the hobby while attending a handwriting class in Catholic school. Markle didn't wait tables as many struggling actors do before getting their big break. Her handy hobby actually paid the bills during the early stages of her acting career. She even had some high-profile clients, including Dolce & Gabbana and couple Robin Thicke and Paula Patton.

In an exclusive interview with Entertainment Tonight, Patton recalled Markle's calligraphy skills, saying, "She had this beautiful writing." Winnie Park, the CEO of The Paper Source, told People that Markle had been a part-time employee of the Beverly Hills stores from 2004 to 2005. Park stated Markle "taught calligraphy and hosted a group of customers and instructed them during a two-hour class." Markle still shows off her calligraphy skills every now and again. In 2021, she sent handwritten personal notes to women in the U.K. who were trying to return to the workplace, wishing all of them good luck on their job hunting (via Town & Country).

Princess Charlotte and Prince George and have a few hobbies

During a 2020 trip to Galway, Ireland, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spoke about her children's hobbies. While the pair were touring the city, the band NØÖV performed for the couple. After their performance Kate Middleton chatted with the group, asking them, "When did you all start playing?" (via Hello Magazine). Middleton shared with them that her eldest son had started taking guitar lessons and that she wished their children could have made the trip with them because they "would have loved it."

Also in Ireland, the Duke and Duchess watched tightrope walkers perform on a balance beam. Afterwards, Kate told the gymnasts that Charlotte had been taking gymnastics, saying, "She's doing cartwheels, handstands, everything. It's so good for their basic skills of balance and coordination."

Additionally, Charlotte and George share a hobby of tennis. According to a 2019 report in Hello Magazine, the siblings were taking lessons at the Hurlingham Club, a private members-only club.

Zara Tindall has always loved to ride horses

Since Zara Tindall's mother, Princess Anne, was an accomplished equestrian who competed in the 1976 Olympics held in Montreal, Canada, there's no surprise that Tindall herself took up the hobby of riding horses at a young age (via Biography). She loved riding so much that she started competing early on as well.

In 2017, Tindall chatted with The Field about her accomplished career as an equestrian and shared tips for other women seeking to do the same. She shared that she always knew she wanted to turn her hobby into a career. "Competing for fun as a child gave me the foundations to build a career on," she explained. "As a teenager, I progressed up the levels and I always knew this was what I wanted to do."

The talented rider with a passion for horses competed in the equestrian games at the Summer Olympics in 2012 in London and won a silver medal (via The Field). Two years later, Tindall competed at the World Championship and won silver there too. The mother of two continues to compete and, in May 2022, she took part in the Houghton International Horse Trials in Norfolk, London, with her kids, husband, and cousin Prince William all there to support her (via Daily Mail).

Princess Diana was an avid swimmer

Growing up, Princess Diana had quite a few hobbies, including ballet, skiing, playing the piano, tennis, and swimming (via Oprah Daily). One of her childhood hobbies turned into a daily hobby when she married Prince Charles. Diana always had a jam-packed schedule with all eyes on her as part of the royal family; however, she always managed to carve out some time to decompress. Every morning Princess Diana would swim to relieve stress.

According to Us Weekly, royal expert Stewart Pearce told the outlet in 2021 that "she was always in water." Pearce also stated that Princess Diana would get up early and spend her mornings swimming at least 20 laps at Buckingham Palace. Swimming in the mornings was a habitual routine for Princess Diana so much that she would also put in time at the pool when she vacationed.

When Princess Diana and Prince Charles divorced, she had stopped swimming at Buckingham Palace, and it was hard for her to swim privately (via Yahoo). Reportedly after the divorce, Princess Diana didn't feel comfortable going to Buckingham Palace. Because of the endless paparazzi, she also didn't like going to her gym to swim either. This was unfortunate because, as a close friend reportedly told the outlet, "Swimming gave her the elusive peace she was always searching for — even if it was only for a few minutes a day."

Lady Gabriella Kingston is a talented singer

Like many people during the height of the pandemic when most of the world was on lockdown Lady Gabriella, the daughter of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, took the time to fine-tune one of her hobbies. She has always had a passion for music, and in 2020 the singer/songwriter put out two songs to raise money and awareness for the Playing For Change Foundation. The global non-profit is dedicated to creating change and bringing peace to the world through music and arts education. In an exclusive interview with Hello Magazine, Lady Gabriella disclosed that she also wrote the lyrics to her songs. She further shared with the outlet that she didn't think she'd ever release her own music and added that while the entire process was exhilarating, it was a bit scary at the same time.

Reportedly, her two tracks, "Bam Bam" and "Out of Blue," were inspired by Bossa Nova, a type of Samba music with rhythmic elements of Jazz (via Britannica). Lady Gabrielle recalled singing "Out of Blue" at her wedding reception in 2019. She noted that she and some of her guests had gotten on stage and sang with the band that evening but didn't think she sounded her best. Explaining why she decided to sing that night, Lady Gabrielle told Hello, "It was a day of so many nerve-racking moments that I thought: 'I might as well throw this in, too!'"