CLOSE
Original image
getty images

What Is Prince William on Paternity Leave From?

Original image
getty images

Prince William, second in line to the throne of the oldest constitutional monarchy in the world, began his six-week paternity leave this week after the birth of his second child, Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge. But what exactly is he on leave from?

The 32-year-old Duke of Cambridge does, in fact, have a job. The former Royal Air Force pilot took a position with Bond Air Services, the “largest operator of air ambulance aircraft in the UK,” which began March 30. Drawing on his roughly five years of experience in search and rescue, he’ll be piloting helicopter-based rescue missions for the East Anglian Air Ambulance this summer. According to British news reports, he’ll be earning around £40,000 a year—just slightly more than the London median of around £35,000 and less than double the national median of £22,000 (His wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, doesn’t work outside of her royal duties and charity involvement). That’s hardly enough to support one adult human, living with roommates in a less-than-desirable part of London, let alone a growing family. What's more, William will reportedly be donating his income to an undisclosed charity. 

So how do Will, Kate, George, and Charlotte live? Where does their money come from? And how much work does Prince William really do? 

It's good to be (a future) King

Prince William doesn’t really have to work: He is worth an estimated $40 million, none of it earned on his pilot’s salary. His mother, Princess Diana, died on August 31, 1997, leaving behind an estate then valued at £21 million (about $31.5 million), or roughly £17 million after estate taxes. The bulk of this was left to William and his younger brother Harry, held in trusts until their 30th birthdays, although they each began receiving the interest and investment income from their trusts when they turned 25. When William reached his mid-20s, that income was estimated to be around £250,000 to £300,000 annually; their lump sum payments when each brother turned 30 was approximately £10 million (about $16 million). 

And don't forget about the trusty old Bank of Dad. William’s father, Charles, is the Prince of Wales, and thus is the lucky beneficiary of the Duchy of Cornwall, a vast land and investment holding that has been the hereditary right of his title since 1337. It’s from this estate, which includes an unfathomable 53,154 hectares of land in 24 counties, that Charles earns most of his money—according to the 2014 Annual Review, the Heir to the Throne took in £19.5 million (nearly $30 million) from the Duchy. (He does pay income tax on his Duchy earnings, at a rate of 45 percent, but the Duchy does not pay corporation tax). Charles in turn supports William and family, and Prince Harry, in their public and royal duties; the total cost for supporting them all, including paying for their official staff, was £2.89 million from 2013 to 2014, according to the 2014 Annual Review.

There are a few bills that the taxpayers foot. Will and Kate and their growing family live rent-free in Kensington Palace's Apartment 1A, at least part of the time. The Palace, located at the western edge of Hyde Park and among some of the most expensive real estate in London, underwent a £4.5 million renovation before the couple moved in. Much of the renovation, utilities, and general upkeep are paid for by the taxpayers via the Sovereign Grant, the roughly £40 million allotted to members of the royal family for their care and maintenance. The couple’s travel costs are met by the Sovereign Grant, and their 24-hour security detail is provided by Scotland Yard, London's municipal police force.

Duty calls?

But how many work hours does he actually log? Not many, according to Republic, campaigners for a “democratic alternative to monarchy”. They say that William is a royal sponge who only worked 47 full days in the year after he left the RAF. Even worse, they say, a number of those so-called “royal duties” he performed included parties, trips to the movies, church visits, dinners, and visits to sporting events or theme parks. “The claims of hard work by royals have always sounded hollow—hardworking people do long days five or six days a week and get paid normal salaries, while keeping up with the demands of family, mortgages and struggling with the rising cost of living,” Graham Smith, chief executive of Republic, said. “This research puts the lie to the claims and shows William to be every bit as lazy and cynical as any other royal.” Ouch.

Original image
iStock
arrow
Big Questions
Why Do Cats Freak Out After Pooping?
Original image
iStock

Cats often exhibit some very peculiar behavior, from getting into deadly combat situations with their own tail to pouncing on unsuspecting humans. Among their most curious habits: running from their litter box like a greyhound after moving their bowels. Are they running from their own fecal matter? Has waste elimination prompted a sense of euphoria?

Experts—if anyone is said to qualify as an expert in post-poop moods—aren’t exactly sure, but they’ve presented a number of entertaining theories. From a biological standpoint, some animal behaviorists suspect that a cat bolting after a deposit might stem from fears that a predator could track them based on the smell of their waste. But researchers are quick to note that they haven’t observed cats run from their BMs in the wild.

Biology also has a little bit to do with another theory, which postulates that cats used to getting their rear ends licked by their mother after defecating as kittens are showing off their independence by sprinting away, their butts having taken on self-cleaning properties in adulthood.

Not convinced? You might find another idea more plausible: Both humans and cats have a vagus nerve running from their brain stem. In both species, the nerve can be stimulated by defecation, leading to a pleasurable sensation and what some have labeled “poo-phoria,” or post-poop elation. In running, the cat may simply be working off excess energy brought on by stimulation of the nerve.

Less interesting is the notion that notoriously hygienic cats may simply want to shake off excess litter or fecal matter by running a 100-meter dash, or that a digestive problem has led to some discomfort they’re attempting to flee from. The fact is, so little research has been done in the field of pooping cat mania that there’s no universally accepted answer. Like so much of what makes cats tick, a definitive motivation will have to remain a mystery.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

Original image
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
arrow
Big Questions
Why Do Baseball Managers Wear Uniforms?
Original image
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Basketball and hockey coaches wear business suits on the sidelines. Football coaches wear team-branded shirts and jackets and often ill-fitting pleated khakis. Why are baseball managers the only guys who wear the same outfit as their players?

According to John Thorn, the official historian of Major League Baseball since 2011, it goes back to the earliest days of the game. Back then, the person known as the manager was the business manager: the guy who kept the books in order and the road trips on schedule. Meanwhile, the guy we call the manager today, the one who arranges the roster and decides when to pull a pitcher, was known as the captain. In addition to managing the team on the field, he was usually also on the team as a player. For many years, the “manager” wore a player’s uniform simply because he was a player. There were also a few captains who didn’t play for the team and stuck to making decisions in the dugout, and they usually wore suits.

With the passing of time, it became less common for the captain to play, and on most teams they took on strictly managerial roles. Instead of suits proliferating throughout America’s dugouts, though, non-playing captains largely hung on to the tradition of wearing a player's uniform. By the early to mid 20th century, wearing the uniform was the norm for managers, with a few notable exceptions. The Philadelphia Athletics’s Connie Mack and the Brooklyn Dodgers’s Burt Shotton continued to wear suits and ties to games long after it fell out of favor (though Shotton sometimes liked to layer a team jacket on top of his street clothes). Once those two retired, it’s been uniforms as far as the eye can see.

The adherence to the uniform among managers in the second half of the 20th century leads some people to think that MLB mandates it, but a look through the official major league rules [PDF] doesn’t turn up much on a manager’s dress. Rule 1.11(a) (1) says that “All players on a team shall wear uniforms identical in color, trim and style, and all players’ uniforms shall include minimal six-inch numbers on their backs" and rule 2.00 states that a coach is a "team member in uniform appointed by the manager to perform such duties as the manager may designate, such as but not limited to acting as base coach."

While Rule 2.00 gives a rundown of the manager’s role and some rules that apply to them, it doesn’t specify that they’re uniformed. Further down, Rule 3.15 says that "No person shall be allowed on the playing field during a game except players and coaches in uniform, managers, news photographers authorized by the home team, umpires, officers of the law in uniform and watchmen or other employees of the home club." Again, nothing about the managers being uniformed.

All that said, Rule 2.00 defines the bench or dugout as “the seating facilities reserved for players, substitutes and other team members in uniform when they are not actively engaged on the playing field," and makes no exceptions for managers or anyone else. While the managers’ duds are never addressed anywhere else, this definition does seem to necessitate, in a roundabout way, that managers wear a uniform—at least if they want to have access to the dugout. And, really, where else would they sit?

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios