Queen Elizabeth II was just 25 years old when she took the throne in 1952. She is not only the longest reigning monarch in Britain’s history but also the longest-reigning female monarch in world history. More than 80% of the citizens in the UK weren’t yet born when she took the throne meaning they never known any monarch other than Queen Elizabeth II. Here are 15 Regal Facts About Queen Elizabeth II you may not have known.
1. She is the only still-living head of state to have served in WWII.
At the age of 18 then Princess Elizabeth joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War II as a truck mechanic and driver.
2. The Queen has two birthdays.
Queen Elizabeth was born on April 21st, 1926, but her official birthday is celebrated in June that is labeled her “official” birthday (typically on the second Saturday in June).
3. There have been 13 U.S. Presidents during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
There have also been Roman Catholic Popes during the Queen’s reign (Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis). Moreover, 13 UK Prime Ministers have come to power in this time. Tony Blair is the first Prime Minister to have been born during her reign.
4. The Queen has sent over one millions congratulatory cards.
To receive a card, you can apply on the Palace’s website. The cards are processed by the Anniversaries Office at Buckingham Palace, and are sent on The Queen’s behalf. You must be a British citizen and cards are sent out for 100th and 105th birthdays (and beyond), as well as 60th, 65th, and 70th wedding anniversaries (and beyond).
5. Her Majesty was the first British Monarch to travel to the Middle East.
Additionally, in 1986 she was the first British Monarch to visit China.
6. The Queen has owned more than 30 corgis during her reign.
Her first corgi, Susan, was a gift for her 18th birthday in 1944. Her last corgi was named Willow and was the 14th generation descended from Susan.
7. Her majesty introduced a new breed of dogs.
A dorgi is a cross-breed between a dachshund and a corgi. They were introduced to the royal household when one of the Queen’s dogs mated with Princess Margaret’s dachshund Pipkin.
8. She does not need a driver’s license, a license plate or a passport.
Since all British passports are issued in the queen’s name, she herself doesn’t need one
9. Her Royal Highness speaks fluent French.
The queen often uses the language for audiences and does not need an interpreter for state visits.
10. Queen Elizabeth II is the first head of state to open two Olympic Games in two different countries.
Queen Elizabeth II opened the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada, and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, UK.
11. The Queen sends signals to her staff with her purse.
If she switches her handbag from one arm to the other, it indicates to her staff that she’s ready to wrap up her current conversation.
According to the Telegraph, if she puts her handbag on the table at dinner, it means she wants the event to end in the next five minutes. And if she puts her bag on the floor, it shows she’s not enjoying the conversation and wants to be “rescued” by her lady-in-waiting.
12. The Queen is the face of Australian currency.
Australia is a constitutional monarchy with The Queen as Sovereign. Her royal title in Australia is Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth.
13. She was the Queen of 12 countries that have become independent during her reign.
Queen Elizabeth is queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
She is Head of the Commonwealth, which means she is or has been Queen of 12 countries that have become independent since her accession: Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.
14. She didn’t want her coronation televised.
Elizabeth, who didn’t even allow cameras into Westminster Abbey for her wedding to Prince Philip, didn’t want the event televised. An overseeing committee called the Coronation Commission, chaired by Prince Philip, was instated to tackle the question. Eventually, the Queen’s advisors convinced her to allow the event to be televised, with the condition that she wouldn’t be filmed in close-up.
15. She wasn’t supposed to become Queen.
When she was born, Elizabeth was third in the succession line to the throne. Her place in line for the throne was secured only after her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated the crown to marry Wallis Simpson and was succeeded by Elizabeth’s father, King George VI. Elizabeth was 10 at the time.
God Save the Queen.