Why Does the Royal Family Live so Long?
A famous royal who you could say has been around the blocks is driving in his Land Rover close to the Sandringham estate in Norfolk.
It’s just another quiet day in a part of England noted for its “Outstanding Natural Beauty”, except this day something interrupts the usual pastoral tranquillity of those country roads.
The Land Rover pulls out in front of a small car and smashes right into it.
Others are soon on the scene, seeing that two women are injured in the small vehicle and there’s also a baby in the backseat.
Thankfully the kid is ok, but the two women need a bit of hospital treatment.
As for the driver of the Land Rover, he’s slightly shaken, but he easily climbs out of his overturned vehicle and just dusts himself off.
His Land Rover is bust-up, but he’s in fine shape.
And get this, he’s 97-years old.
If you don’t know already, we’re talking about Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the husband of the British Queen.
The question you might now ask yourself is how is a 97-year old man not just able to drive a car but get out of a wreck and seem perfectly ok?
What are his bones made out of, adamantium!?
You can’t also overlook the strength of his heart.
As for his wife, dear Lilibet, she was also well past 90 at the time of the crash and still took the news on the chin.
What is it with those royals?
Do they know something we don’t?
How do they live so well for so long?
Today we’ll find out.
First of all, not all royals live until a ripe old age, but a lot do.
Why Does the Royal Live so Long?
Back in the day when royals thought interbreeding was a good idea some of them lived with continual health problems and quite a few barely made it past their infant years.
If you look at the Thai monarchy, the former King lived until he was 88, but if you go back a few years to King Chulalongkorn, you’ll find that many of his 77 surviving children that he had with his 116 wives, consorts, and concubines, died very young.
Back then they thought procreating with half-sisters and close relatives was a good idea.
We now know that’s a really bad idea.
The Europeans did it, too, but they also eventually quit hooking up with their own bloodline.
So, yes, in the past, Royals didn’t especially have very long lives, but these days things are different.
Take for instance Queen Elizabeth II’s mother, known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.
She almost made it to 102 to become the oldest surviving monarch of the British royal family.
She died peacefully while getting some Zzzzs after suffering from a cold for a few weeks.
The Queen Mother’s record was broken by her sister-in-law, Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, who did make it to 102.
Then you had Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, the daughter of Queen Victoria, who popped her clogs aged 97.
Queen Victoria herself clocked out at 81, which when you consider life expectancy during her reign was in the 40s for both men and women, she didn’t have a “bad innings” at all.
As for her mom, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, she was born in 1786 and made it all the way to 74.
As for centenarians from other royal families, there is a long list of them.
Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II, the Queen mother of the Ashanti Kingdom, died in 2016 aged 109.
The African monarch Francisco Malabo Beosá left this world in 2001 aged 105.
The German Princess Isabelle of Salm-Salm died aged 105 in 2009.
The Japanese prince, Higashifushimi Kunihide, left us aged 103 in 2014.
Marianne, Princess zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, is still alive today aged 101.
Ok, so it seems the royals on average seem to live longer lives than the rest of us do on average.
But why is that exactly?
First of all, we should point out the obvious and that is wealth, or class, or whatever you want to call it.
There might not be any royal family in the US, but there is a hell of a lot of rich people.
You might not know this, but life expectancy in that country for the rich and poor differs vastly.
It’s now said if you’re born wealthy in America your life expectancy is almost 15 years greater than a poor person – on average of course.
What about Britain, where the ageing royals live?
It isn’t so different there, either.
If you look at data from the Office for National Statistics you can see that if you come from one of the most deprived areas in the country your life expectancy is around 74.
If you come from one of the least deprived areas your life expectancy is 83.
With that in mind, what is the absolute least deprived area in the UK?
The answer is Buckingham Palace and the other places where the royals have waited on hand and foot 24/7.
It doesn’t take a genius to understand that working 12-hour shifts 6 days a week in a factory full of toxic fumes isn’t that good for you.
Then on the weekend, you spend your hard-earned money doing rails of crushed Ritalin while drinking copious amounts of extra-strength alcohol to forget you have a job.
Ok, not all people in deprived areas live such unhealthy lives, but many do, and just about all of the poorest people don’t have the cash or time to do evening yoga sessions and buy the latest life-prolonging supplements.
So, that’s one reason why royals tend to live so long.
They have enough money to buy items that might prolong life.
They have people who can cook the most nutritious meals for them and they don’t get involved in knife fights on the bus home from their gruelling shift.
The poor are at risk of developing certain diseases that the rich don’t get so much, such as juvenile diabetes.
The rich are less likely to suffer from stress and depression than the poor, and depression can lead to other health complications.
As for stress, many diseases related to being poor are related to chronic stress.
Stress over long periods of time suppresses the immune system, which can lead to disease.
Of course, the royals get stressed, but they might not suffer from the chronic stress that many people do who are continually fearing the loss of a job or wondering how they’ll pay their next bill.
Some studies suggest inequality is worse than actual poverty when it comes to chronic stress.
You can be poor amongst the poor and that might not be as bad as being the lowest in a country where there are extreme economic differences.
The royals are the highest of the high, so they won’t suffer in this respect.
Sure, there are also diseases of affluence, especially if someone is so rich that they mainline foie gras every evening while imbibing two bottles of the finest Scotch whisky, but the royals these days tend not to do that.
Even chain-smoking royals are a thing of the past.
These days they are almost all a picture of good health.
It wouldn’t be good PR if, say, a royal talked to Oprah while sucking on a Marlboro Light and downing a bottle of vodka.
But there’s more to royal longevity than saying no to drugs, avoiding stress, or hard work, and having enough money to have a varied and nutritious diet.
Why Does the Royal Live so Long?
Let’s now get back to Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
If you look at a lot of royals of their time and before their time, they smoked liked chimneys and many of them didn’t live that long at all, mainly because they died of smoking-related diseases.
Liz and Phil took a different route, and it seems to have worked out for them.
If you look at places around the world where people generally live a long time one of the things that those people do is spend a lot of time walking outdoors.
The current royals are always out in the countryside, walking in the fresh air and generally meeting their health app’s daily expectations.
When they’re not having fun walking around or participating in blood sports, royals are often doing their touring duties.
That also involves lots of walking.
What did they use to do with people with chronic illnesses in the past?
The answer is they used to send them to the sanatorium to get some fresh air.
The royals have had no shortage of fresh air during their lives, that’s for sure.
What’s also important is that when they are not walking around fenced-off bits of countryside and do become a bit sick, they have the best healthcare in the entire world.
Not long before we wrote this show, Prince Philip came out of the hospital in “good spirits” after having heart surgery.
The royal family not only has a private doctor at their beck and call, but they don’t have to join a queue to receive treatment from the NHS.
People can die waiting to receive care, whereas that would never in a million years happen to a royal.
In fact, at their private hospital in Marylebone, London, aka, “London’s foremost private hospital”, they receive the best medical care available to man or woman.
Every patient at that hospital has four nurses dedicated to them, and we imagine the royals get an even better deal.
They also talk to some of the world’s leading physicians, who, according to the hospital, provide “dedicated, individual attention.”
This is a far cry from lying in a packed hospital ward with coughing, wheezing folks who may be bankrupted soon due to the outrageous bills.
Would Philip have left that hospital in good spirits had he faced the bottom rung of healthcare or would he have left it in a body bag?
When you look further into the countries and places of this world that have many long-living citizens another thing they tend to do is eat healthily.
Up in Scotland, folks might chow down on deep-fried pizza after drinking 11 pints in the pub, but the British royals, their diet is second to none in terms of health.
The Queen is well known for eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and when she eats meat she likes her game – some of the healthiest meats.
The royals have so many estates that they can get the best, freshest produce, minus all the chemicals, right from their very backyard.
When the Queen wants to eat fish, and she loves to fish, you can be sure it comes from the freshest waters and so is not full of toxins.
The Queen famously steers away from starchy, high-carb products such as potatoes, pasta and even rice, which are stapled products the poor need to give them energy throughout the day so they can complete their backbreaking work.
Ok, she’s partial to a cup of tea and a biscuit now and again, but she’d hardly be British if she wasn’t.
She even has a tipple in the days, usually gin, but she doesn’t ever get wasted.
Some studies suggest that a bit of red wine or a small amount of alcohol might actually be good for us.
That’s not conclusive, but the kind of moderation that the Queen embraces might not necessarily be all that bad.
Ok, so some sources say she might drink as many as four drinks a day, but she apparently spaces them out.
It’s not like she’s doing a three-litre bottle of insanely strong cider each night while watching Eastenders.
She eats healthy, has a small G&T, walks around, and relaxes.
Can that be so bad for her?
Lastly, there’s the mind.
Whatever you think about the royals, especially the British ones who take up a lot of TV time, they don’t exactly lack purpose in life.
They have a large family, they need to be placed, they’re kind of supposed to rule a kingdom.
There’s hardly ever a dull day for these people.
Some studies suggest if you have a purpose, if you still have so much to get done, you might just live longer.
Maybe there’s some luck thrown in there too.
Elizabeth and Philip don’t seem to have been born with any genetic defects that make some susceptible to various diseases.
To borrow from a now-deceased American comedian, their family tree may look a bit like a stump, but these two seemed to have dodged a few bullets.
Perhaps when royals aren’t born with too many close-relative genes, their other good fortunes bless them with a very long life.