14 Surprising Facts About Queen Elizabeth II
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II turned 94 on April 21, 2020. There are so many things that always fascinated me about this incredible British monarch. Upon doing some more research, I’ve compiled a list of fourteen surprising facts about her that came as a shock to me and might surprise you as well. Enjoy!
1. The Queen has two birthdays
Queen Elizabeth II was born on April 21, 1926. Yes, she celebrates her birthday on 21st April but also celebrates it again in June at the annual Trooping the Colour parade. It has been a royal tradition since the late 18th century that the monarch’s birthday is celebrated on a different day because London’s weather can put a damper on the parade if it’s not held in climate-suitable months.
2. She doesn’t have a passport
While it is impossible for a common person to travel without having a valid passport, her majesty the Queen can travel overseas freely without needing a passport. She never needed a passport on her more than 250 international visits to over 100 countries.
According to the royal family’s website,
“As a British passport is issued in the name of Her Majesty, it is unnecessary for The Queen to possess one”
Please note that this perk is exclusively for the Queen herself. The other members of the royal family including The Duke of Edinburgh and The Prince of Wales have their own passports assigned by the British government.
3. The Queen is a binge drinker
According to Margaret Rhodes, the Queen’s cousin, Her Majesty the Queen,
takes a gin and Dubonnet before lunch and will drink a glass of wine with her meal, followed by a dry martini and a pre-bedtime flute of champagne.
If she does this every day, it means that she takes six different types of alcoholic beverages per day.
4. The Queen Hosts more than 50,000 people every year
The Queen is a very generous hostess. Each year she hosts more than fifty thousand people at Buckingham palace for various reasons. Most of them are visitors, some are royal guests that are entertained at dinners, lunches, and garden parties at the palace.
5. Queen has been portrayed in about 100 movies and TV shows
You’ve seen the Queen being portrayed in Netflix’s The Crown, you’ve seen Helen Mirren winning an Oscar for her role as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen.
According to IMDb, Queen Elizabeth II has been played by various actors in different movies and TV shows about 100 times.
6. She has been married for more than 73 years
On November 20, 2020, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip will celebrate her 74th wedding anniversary. The couple got married on 20 November 1946 at London’s Westminster Abbey.
7. The Queen is the longest-reigning monarch ever
Queen Elizabeth II was crowned on 2 June 1953 at Westminster Abbey at the age of 25. As of 2020, she has been serving as the Queen for over 67 years which makes her longest-reigning monarch ever in history.
8. Her Majesty’s nicknames
The Queen has many different cute nicknames. When she was a little princess, her family used to call her “Lilibet”. That’s because she couldn’t pronounce her own name at such a young age. Cute, isn't it? Prince Philip, her husband calls her “Cabbage.” Her grandchildren call her “Gan-gan”
9. The Queen served in World War II
In 1945, at the age of 18, Elizabeth joined the women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service and got trained as a truck driver and mechanic. She wore the traditional military uniform and served in World War II. As of 2020, the Queen remains the only female member of the British royal family to have joined the armed forces. She is also the only living head of state who herself participated in world war II.
10. She LOVES dogs
That’s the cutest thing. Just like all of us, well almost all of us, Queen Elizabeth II loves dogs. According to the New York Times, when the Queen turned 18, she got her first dog Susan as a birthday present. During her reign, she has owned almost thirty Pembroke Welsh corgis which were all the descendants of Susan.
11. The Queen is exempt from taxes and driving license
The Queen is exempt from all federal taxes. But guess what, she still voluntarily pays them. How nice of her? Isn’t it? A true leader leads by example.
The Queen also doesn’t have a driving license since all driving licenses in the U.K are issued in her name. You don’t issue a person’s driving license in their own name.
Britain's former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, said in an interview that the Queen once drove former Saudi crown prince Abdullah around the grounds of Balmoral. He said,
“To his surprise, the Queen climbed into the driving seat, turned the ignition and drove off. Women are not — yet — allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, and Abdullah was not used to being driven by a woman, let alone a queen.”
12. The Queen never attended a school
Yup, that’s true. While the Queen received quite the education from private tutors at home, she never really went to a prep school or a college. Yeah, she doesn’t have a college degree in monarchy lol. The Queen was taught at home by different teachers including Henry Marten, vice-provost of Eton College. Her religious education was taken care of by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
13. The Queen was the first head of a state to send an email
This came as a surprise to me. It was in 1976 when the Queen sent the first-ever email by any head of a state. She sent the email to Royal Signals and Radar Establishment in England by the username HME2 which stands for Her Majesty, Elizabeth II.
14. The Queen owns all the dolphins in the U.K.
Not just the dolphins, the Queen also owns all the whales and sturgeons too. King Edward II during his reign passed a statute that states,
“Also the King shall have … whales and sturgeons taken in the sea or elsewhere within the realm,”
This means that all aquatic animals are labeled “fishes royal,” and consequently are property of the Crown.
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