The laws and customs of other countries are usually not so different from our own, yet here and there, some strange rule will pop up that not even locals can believe is real. In places like the United Kingdom, for instance, there are enough strange rules and regulations to make your head spin.

We’re not just talking tea and crumpets here — these laws are real, and so are the consequences that come with breaking them. So next time you’re walking down the streets of London, watch your step, as one wrong move could have you spending the night in the slammer…

1. Statute of 1324: Everyone knows Queen Elizabeth loves corgis, but were you aware that Her Majesty also owns thousands of other animals? In fact, one could say the Queen has enough finned subjects in her domain to rival those of Poseidon…

Racked

That’s all thanks to a 1324 statute issued by King Edward II that declares all whales, sturgeons, and dolphins to be royal fish, thus making them property of the Crown. She could open her own SeaWorld if she wanted to!

Tambako the Jaguar / Flickr

2. Polish Potato Order of 2004: If you thought getting through airport customs was a chore, wait until you see what Polish potatoes have to go through to get into the UK. The list of hurdles these spuds must jump through is endless, and they even need their own certificates to prove they’re safe to eat.

Ned Awty / Flickr

This law may seem excessive, but the logic behind it is pretty sound. Following a 2004 outbreak of ring rot disease among Polish potato crops, the UK bumped up its vetting process for the Eastern European spuds.

Farmers Weekly

3. Salmon Act, Section 32: When this section of the Salmon Act was drafted, its creators thought they’d made its stipulations pretty clear. Unfortunately, with a subject title like “Handling Salmon in Suspicious Circumstances,” confusion was bound to happen.

The New York Times

The actual law involves the protection of citizens who are unknowingly in possession of illegally caught, taken, or killed salmon, though this wording makes it seem more like people are casually walking the streets with trench coats stuffed with pink fish.

4. Treason Felony Act of 1848: Treason is defined as “the crime of betraying a nation or a sovereign by acts considered dangerous to security,” and most would say that they’d never even consider anything of the sort. But in Britain, committing this crime is as easy as mismarking an envelope.

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Under this 19th-century act, placing a stamp bearing the monarch’s image upside down on an envelope is considered an act of treason. Many believe that this offense is just a myth, though it’s unlikely anyone will actually give it a try.

David Wright / Flickr

5. UK Libraries Offences Act of 1898: It turns out that getting shushed isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you in a British library. According to this act, anyone who “behaves in a disorderly manner” in a reading space is subject to legal punishment.

And if you’re big into late-night Poker games next to the non-fiction section, you’re out of luck. The act also states that gambling falls under disorderly conduct, so you’ll have to win your paycheck back somewhere else.

Craig Jewell / Flickr

6. Statute Forbidding Bearing of Armour of 1313: For any aspiring politician fond of dressing up like a 14th-century knight, this decree is not a welcome one. By law, no person is permitted to enter the house of Parliament while wearing a suit of armor or bearing arms.

This statute was enacted during the reign of King Edward II in a time of great political instability in England. The law is further supported by the Statute of Northampton of 1328, which allows only certain government agents to carry weapons.

7. Prohibitions and Inspections Act of 1998: This law should be renamed “The Duh Act,” as it stipulates that any British national who detonates a nuclear device – whether at home or abroad – will be subject to life imprisonment.

The Sun

The act is not yet in force, though the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act of 2001 includes many of its stipulations. So if there’s anyone out there that actually thought detonating a nuclear bomb wasn’t a crime, sorry.

8. Metropolitan Police Act, Section 54: This section of the 1839 act details a list of “nuisances by persons in thoroughfares,” though some of the prohibited offenses seem downright ridiculous. Under this law, citizens are barred from ringing doorbells excessively, sliding on ice, and even flying kites.

The act also forbids the singing of “any profane, indecent, or obscene song or ballad, or [the use of] any profane, indecent or obscene language to the annoyance of the inhabitants or passengers.” Given today’s music, this law likely isn’t enforced too strictly…

NME

This order also applies to certain cargo, so if you ever find yourself building a house in London, you might have to have your flooring brought in by helicopter. By law, Londoners are forbidden from carrying planks of any kind on sidewalks.

Kid Rated

The rule also applies to other large objects, including ladders, hoops, and wheels. Introduced in the 19th century, this law is designed to allow pedestrians easier passage along the busy streets of London.

9. London Hackney Carriage Act of 1831: In the days of horse-drawn transportation, drivers were required to keep a bale of hay on their carriages at all times to feed the animals. Although this is no longer the preferred means of transport in the UK, the law remains in effect.

Horse Daily

Strangely, the act also stipulates that drivers cannot feed their horses in the streets, possibly due to the fact that a stopped animal would halt traffic. However, most drivers got around this by using feed bags or feeding the horses hay by hand.

Wikipedia

 Not even Britain’s monarchy is above these odd laws, though the Royals do have their own set of rules that might just be even stranger. For example, members of the royal family are forbidden from eating seafood, as one bad shrimp is all it takes to completely sideline them from their daily responsibilities.

Yahoo!

2. Mon-arch-opoly: The perfect name for a royal edition of the board game, no? Well, the game wouldn’t be permitted in Kensington Palace, as the Royal Family isn’t allowed to play Monopoly; in the past, rounds of the game had supposedly turned “vicious.” Yikes.

News One Place

3. Heir Scare: No two heirs to the throne are allowed to travel together so the royal bloodline can’t end in a single fatal accident. Prince William has broken this rule several times, however, as he’s been known to travel with his son, Prince George.

Hello Magazine

4. Vampires Welcome: Of all the foods the Queen refuses to touch, garlic tops the list. Because she makes so many public appearances, garlic breath is out of the question. That’s why you won’t find any dishes with the pungent herb served in Buckingham.

The Urban List

5. The Queen Takes Hostages: In the days of bitter tensions between the British government and the crown, the royal house would take an MP hostage to ensure the monarch’s safe return following visits to Parliament. The tradition continues to this day, though the “hostages” are well taken care of.

Pinterest

6. Don’t Send a Raven: After being warned “if the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it,” Charles II mandated that at least six ravens live in the tower at all times. Descendants of these birds still call the tower home.

Historic Royal Palaces

7. A Born Actress: The Royal Family would be hard pressed to let a Christmas go by without their annual game of charades. There’s just one rule: never upstage the Queen. If she acts well, you applaud. If she tells a joke, you laugh.

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8. The “Charlotte Effect”: Move over, Prince George — it’s Princess Charlotte that really brings home the bacon. Dubbed the “Charlotte Effect,” the young royal’s birth has generated a staggering $5 billion for the British economy, almost $2 billion more than her elder brother has.

Sky News

9. Well-Dressed & Well-Prepared: Her Highness uses her handbag to give signals to her security team; in the event that she’s looking to get out of a conversation, she’ll typically switch the bag to her other hand.

Reader’s Digest

10. Famous Flowers: For the Royal Family, no wedding is complete without one very special flower: the myrtle. Since the 1800s, every royal bride has carried a sprig in their bouquet, picked fresh from Queen Victoria’s 170-year-old garden.

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11. Back in Black: Whenever the Royal Family leaves the country, each member is required to pack an all-black outfit in the event that someone close to the crown or country dies while they’re abroad. That’s totally not morbid at all…

Pinterest

12. Wakey Wakey: If you think the Queen rises every morning to the sound of “Slow Rise,” then you’re sadly mistaken. Her Majesty actually employs a member of the British military to stand beneath her window and play the bagpipes to gently ease her awake.

Pinterest

13. The Frugal Queen: You’d think that Queen Elizabeth would be willing to shell out a few bucks for a decent brand of nail polish. Well, you thought wrong, as Her Highness will only wear “Ballet Slippers” by Essie, which costs a cool $9/bottle.

janethlc1981 / Twitter

14. A Not-So-Slight Prick: When selecting a new High Sheriff for a county, the Queen uses a sewing needle. The practice of “pricking” goes back to Elizabeth I, who would pierce the name of her newest Sheriff while embroidering and usually didn’t have a pen on hand. 

Team High Sheriff

15. The Name Game: Monarchs are still asked what name they’ll choose to take upon ascending the throne. Prince Charles is expected to take the name George VII when he becomes king to avoid association with King Charles I and II.

Picsoc

16. Grand Theft Grandma: Out of the 60 million people that live in the U.K., there’s only one that’s allowed to drive without a license: the Queen. The 92 year old maintains that her right to drive is granted under the “royal prerogative.”

Hello Magazine

17. Do As I Do: On the endless list of rules one must follow when dining with the Queen, the most important is to stop eating or drinking as soon as she does. This practice began with Queen Victoria, a notoriously fast eater.

18. The “Vow of the Peacock”: What Christmas feast is complete without skinning a peacock, roasting it whole, redressing it with gold leaf and its own feathers, and then swearing an oath upon it? This practice has long since died out, but the “Vow of the Peacock” was once a yearly tradition among the Royal Family.

19. The “Royal We“: Also known as the “majestic plural,” the tradition of monarch’s using of we when referring to themselves originated in the days of the “divine right of kings.” Then, monarchs claimed to be speaking with both their own voice as well as God’s.

ABC News

20. Queen in Name: Since the establishment of Parliament, the Queen now serves mainly as a figurehead. For this reason, the Royal Family maintains a neutral stance when it comes politics — at least publicly, anyway.

ABC

While the Royal Family has maintained traditions, they’ve certainly changed in other ways. Here we have future Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip along with their two eldest children, Charles and Anne, standing with King George VI in 1951.

1953: After the death of George VI a year earlier, his eldest daughter ascended to the throne and became Queen Elizabeth II. Philip, in turn, received the title of prince consort. Below, the couple waves to their subjects from Buckingham Palace.

1960: A third royal child, Prince Andrew, arrived. The newborn enjoys a picnic with his parents and siblings during a holiday in Balmoral, Scotland. That’s right — that castle in the background was only their vacation home.

1965: This Christmas photo depicts the Royal Family shortly after the birth of Elizabeth and Philip’s fourth and final child, Prince Edward. Their household grew livelier than ever, and the new generation of royals quickly endeared themselves to the British public.

1971: Coming up on twenty years as monarch, Elizabeth greets onlookers with Edward, Andrew, and her niece Lady Sarah. They are headed to meet the rest of their extended family for a winter holiday at Sandringham House.

1976: By this point, Elizabeth’s children are old enough to rebel a bit. Prince Andrew laughs at his mother from the second row as she nervously rides at the front of a cable car. Edward, seated next to her, looks a little bit more respectful.

1977: This year marks Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee of 25 years on the British throne. She celebrated by visiting 36 different countries in the span of a few months, followed by a massive procession through London.

1980: For Prince Charles, most of the 1970s were his “bachelor years.” He seemed more content to party and jump between girlfriends than seriously pursue marriage. Here, he sips a coconut drink in Bhubaneswar, India, but he wouldn’t stay a bachelor for long.

1981: Incredible hype built up once Prince Charles announced that he would marry Lady Diana Spencer. The press dubbed the event “The Wedding of the Century,” and the public followed every aspect of the ceremony with fervor.

1982: Diana and Charles had their first son, William. The new parents play with William in Kensington Palace, though they didn’t refer to him as William behind closed doors. Interestingly, their family nickname for the young prince was “Wombat.”

1988: Four years earlier, Diana gave birth to her second son, Prince Harry. Far from shy of the many cameras around him, Harry sticks his tongue out from the Buckingham Palace balcony while Diana tells him to stop.

1992: Below, Philip, Charles, Elizabeth, and the Queen Mother depart from Princess Anne’s wedding. However, 1992 was not an easy year for the family. In addition to a fire in Windsor castle, marital troubles sprung up for Elizabeth’s children.

1995: Hurt by extramarital affairs and a 13-year age gap, Charles and Diana were separated throughout the early 1990s. However, they still attended official events together. They divorced a year later, though the greatest tragedy was yet to come.

1997: The entire world went into shock with the news that Princess Diana died in a violent Paris car crash. Thousands of guests attended her funeral at Westminster Abbey, while millions more watched on television. Her sons were only 15 and 12 at the time.

2002: More loss followed the royal family into the new millennium, though this instance was admittedly less shocking. The Queen Mother passed away at age 101. On a happier note, Queen Elizabeth reached her Golden Jubilee on this same year.

2005: Prince Charles carried on an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles while still married to Diana, so Charles and Camila met controversy when they announced their engagement. As a result, they chose to marry in a civil ceremony instead of a royal wedding.

2006: Now all grown up, Prince Harry decided to follow William into the military. As a Cornet in the famed Blues and Royals regiment, he stands at attention with his saber as Queen Elizabeth walks by. Still, he cannot help but crack a smile at his grandmother.

2011: The Brits — and just about everyone else — went crazy for the next generation of royal weddings. Prince William married Kate Middleton, a classmate from the University of St. Andrews, and over 160 million people watched the lavish ceremony. 

2017: The Royal family celebrates the 91st birthday of Queen Elizabeth, who also became the longest-reigning British monarch a couple years prior. William and Kate’s young children, George and Charlotte, watch the fanfare with excitement.

2018: Harry matched his brother’s fairytale wedding with one of his own. He married American actress Meghan Markle, best known from the TV show Suits. Meghan’s entry into the royal family is also notable because she is a woman of color.

Somehow, with all eyes on them, the Royal Family has managed to carve out somewhat normal lives for themselves. Ever annoy a sibling just because you feel like it? Prince Harry is teasing his older brother with a rather large boa constrictor. It’s all in good fun… unless you’re William.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

When Prince William and Duchess Kate aren’t holding down the fort in Kensington Palace, they like to escape royal life by going on a holiday. After welcoming Princess Charlotte, the two went skiing. Kate surprised William with a friendly snowball fight.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

They may not be blood relatives, but that doesn’t stop Kate and Meghan from gossiping like sisters while attending a tennis match with the rest of the family. What we wouldn’t give to hear what they’re talking about!

Kensington Royals / Instagram

Long before Kate was the Duchess of Cambridge, she was just plain-ol’ Kate Middleton. She wore silky dresses like the one below and took hackney carriages (taxis) from place to place with her baby sister Pippa.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

The future queen consort might be the coolest royal of them all. Not only is she holding her own on those roller skates, but she looks like she hasn’t aged. Talk about good genes.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

Prince Charles might be 70 years old, but this photo shows he’s still a schoolboy at heart. He’s been waiting seven decades to ascend the royal throne, but it doesn’t look like it’s happening anytime soon, so for now, this wall will have to do. Hang in there, Charles.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

This candid moment captured the Duchess of Cambridge catching the clumsy Countess of Wessex as she tripped while getting into the carriage. Good thing Kate caught her, otherwise that would have been a royal pain.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

Watching Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s love story has been like a real-life fairy-tale, and it’s only getting better. A photo like this really captures the dynamic relationship between the two. Find someone who looks at you like Harry looks at Meghan.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

Kate and William met while they were studying at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Who knows where they were going in this picture, but Kate sure does look annoyed with her beau. We feel you, Kate.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

Like we mentioned before, sports are a huge part of royal life. Unfortunately, the All England Club did not treat the Prince and Duchess well on this outing. The match must have been torturous to watch judging by their faces.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

Prince Harry has always been the goofball of the royal family. Here, it looks like he was participating in a charity event in place of — or without — his older brother Prince William. No worries, though: Harry made sure his brother was there in spirit.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

Kids are kids regardless if they have royal blood pumping through their veins. Look at little Prince Harry and Prince William enjoying a heart-pounding ride on the Nemesis at Alton Towers. We wonder if the brothers still ride roller coasters from time to time…

Instagram

And Princess Charlotte knows all too well that having royal blood doesn’t give her the power of endless energy. Being a royal kid is hard work, and it looks like it’s cutting into the princess’ nap time. Someone get her a royal blankey!

Kensington Royals / Instagram

Queen Elizabeth has sat on the British throne longer than any other monarch. That’s a long time in the public eye. Apparently, when the queen isn’t attending political affairs, she is outside catching snowflakes on her tongue.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

Kids love to stick their tongues out whenever a camera appears, too. Prince Harry might not be king, but he has always been the king of the silly-face pose. And he’s not alone. Even Princess Charlotte has been caught a time or two sporting this face to the cameras.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

Royal sunglasses must not be part of the event wardrobe protocol! Not even the duchesses’ fancy hats can block the sun from their eyes.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

Seeing how Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are expecting parents, it makes total sense that they have paternal and maternal instincts. It’s so endearing to see the pair interact with the youth of their country.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

Kate looks like she is having so much fun during her university days. She’s right in the middle of St. Andrews annual foam fight that welcomes new students. Even since college, Kate’s been a leader.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

Most people make this face when they meet Prince Harry, but he seems to be quite shocked himself. He better hold on tight to that tray of cupcakes before he accidentally throws them in the air.

Kensington Royals / Instagram

Curious from a young age, William was caught peeking up the skirt of the Prince of Whales during a fishing trip. We all know there are no fish up there, but William needed to check it out for himself first.

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A family that jokes together stays together, and William and Harry always make sure their family is in good spirits. Here they are in their younger days teaching the fam how to do the wave!

Kensington Royals / Instagram

A bit of healthy competition between brothers is totally normal. William and Harry weren’t afraid to put down the suits and roll around in the mud at their polo match. It got a little messy, to say the least.

Kensington Royals / Instagram