The Queen owns all the dolphins and whales in Britain because of this weird reason

The Queen owns all of the dolphins and whales in British waters because of a bizarre rule that has existed for nearly 700 years

Queen owns all the dolphins
(Image credit: Samir Hussein / Contributor / Getty Images)

The Queen owns all of the dolphins and whales in British waters because of a very bizarre reason that dates back centuries.

While it is well known that the Queen owns all of the swans in Great Britain, as the Queen's Platinum Jubilee nears, there are a number of other facts about the Queen that have emerged about the other animals the Queen technically owns in Britain.

For a bizarre reason dating back 698 years, technically, the Queen owns all the dolphins and whales that swim into British waters. 

This is because of an old statute from 1324 during the reign of King Edward II that states that all whales and dolphins in British waters are recognized as 'fishes royal' and therefore belong to the Queen. The statute reads, "Also the King shall have whales and sturgeons taken in the sea or elsewhere within the realm." 


(Image credit: Dan Antoche-Albisor / Getty Images)

While this legislation has existed for hundreds of years, it has not been overturned and the 'fishes royal' ruling is still an active piece of legislation.

Time Magazine confirmed the validity of this ruling and added that so long as the 'fishes royal' are caught within 3 miles of the shore, they are belonging to Her Majesty.

"This statute is still valid today, and sturgeons, porpoises, whales, and dolphins are recognized as 'fishes royal': when they are captured within 3 miles (about 5 km) of U.K. shores or wash ashore, they may be claimed on behalf of the Crown. Generally, when brought into port, a sturgeon is sold in the usual way, and the purchaser, as a gesture of loyalty, requests the honor of its being accepted by Elizabeth," said Time Magazine.


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Although the Queen owns all of the swans, sturgeons, whales, and dolphins in the UK, this is more of a technical statute rather than a pet and owner situation. 

When it comes to being a pet parent, the Queen's corgis are her main furry friends, although Her Majesty also keeps a number of racehorses, and her passion for equestrian activities has been well established during her 70-year reign. 

The Queen's love of horses also extends to the non-racing kind as Her Majesty has a number of pony breeding sanctuaries at her royal properties to help preserve certain pony breeds.  The Queen breeds Fell ponies at Hampton Court, plus Shetland ponies and Highland ponies at Balmoral Castle.

Laura Harman

Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty, and fashion news, and loves to cover anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.

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