The royal family might own several castles and estates throughout the UK, but it seems as though they’re rarely ever seen in them. From Queen Elizabeth II down to her children, grandchildren, and their spouses, the members of the beloved British royal household keep themselves busy with itineraries chock-full of travels, attendance at charity engagements, and official appearances at state events. With such a whirlwind of activity, we wonder if they ever have time to just stop and smell the roses (in one of their many private gardens, of course).
As it turns out, each of the royals has found interesting ways to relax whenever they have some downtime. Queen Elizabeth’s hobbies are probably the most well known, as they involve her avid love of animals. Besides breeding thoroughbred horses for racing, the monarch has also spent most of her reign breeding a long line of adorable corgis. Though the last of the tiny-legged pups died earlier this year, the queen continues to care for a pair of “dorgis,” which are a cross between a dachshund and a corgi. (And let’s not forget reports that the sovereign has cozied up to Meghan Markle’s rescue pet beagle, Guy.)
The queen’s family members may not have followed their matriarch’s passion for breeding, but they’ve each found ways to unwind when outside the public glare. Read on to find out what hobbies your favorite royal has taken up — we’re sure some of these might even surprise the most dedicated royal fan!
Meghan Markle Calligraphy
Meghan Markle, Dog Advocate and Calligrapher
It’s now public record that Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry’s loving wife, is as big a fan of dogs as Queen Elizabeth (and some say that passion is what’s helped the two become unlikely friends). Before becoming a royal, Meghan used her fame as an actress to bring awareness to issues affecting dog owners, and was even the pet mom to a few rescue pups. Besides caring for doggos in need, Meghan also practiced her penmanship, becoming quite the accomplished calligrapher. Apparently, anyone who’s had the luck of getting her signature has been quite struck by its artistic quality.
Prince William Motorcycle
Prince William the Bike Enthusiast
Prince William, the eldest son of the late Princess Diana, may seem like the most reserved royal, but don’t let that quiet demeanor fool you. William has had a long fascination with vehicles, especially motorcycles. The gearhead Duke of Cambridge even has his own high-speed Ducati — though apparently his wife, Kate Middleton, doesn’t love it as much as he does. According to People, the Duchess of Cambridge feels “terrified” when her husband rides the two-wheeler.
Kate Middleton Athlete
Kate Middleton the Athlete
If you’ve ever wondered how Kate Middleton keeps her great shape after delivering three beautiful children, the answer’s simple: lots of exercise. Kate is perhaps the most athletic royal, being involved in all sorts of physical activities throughout her life. She played on her college's hockey team as an undergraduate, and before her little ones were born, she was often spotted running, hiking, and sailing. While the duchess now probably spends more time chasing after her high-spirited children than she does jogging, there are reports that she has a new hobby for whenever the precocious tots let her unwind: adult coloring books. Hey, you’re never too old to pick up a crayon from time to time.
Prince Charles Gardening
Prince Charles, Gardener and Magician
Prince Charles has a bit of a green thumb, which he’s indulged over the last three decades by diligently sprucing up his country estate, the Royal Gardens at Highgrove. There, he’s planted dozens of native trees, built a maze of hedges, and designed truly stellar topiary to match his home’s rustic feel. However, gardening wasn’t always the Prince of Wales’ passion. In the ’70s, Charles was so obsessed with the mystic arts that he joined a society for stage magicians called the Magic Circle. Now that’s a magic show we’d love to see up close!
Prince Philip Carriage Driving
Prince Philip the Carriage Driver
Prince Philip has been a devoted husband to Queen Elizabeth during her long reign, but as with any marriage, he’s made sure to pursue his own interests and passions when not accompanying his wife. The Duke of Edinburgh has probably accrued the most hobbies out of any other royal: He’s dabbled in bird-watching, painting, writing, and playing sports such as polo. However, Philip is perhaps best known for his contributions to the world of competitive carriage racing, having ridden in several tournaments. In fact, he’s so in love with the sport he literally wrote most of the rules for it!