95 Facts about the Queen

Later this month, Queen Elizabeth II will celebrate her 95th Birthday, so assistant editor Gabriel Aquino has complied 95 Facts about the Queen looking a the oldest and longest Reigning British Sovereign in History, whose reign has spanned a period of immense upheaval and progress!

This was the article originally scheduled for a few days ago, when, following the death of Prince Phillip, we published 99 Facts about the Duke of Edinburgh!

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1) Her full name is Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, after her mother, Elizabeth, paternal grandmother, Queen Mary, and and great-grandmother, Queen Alexandra.

2) She was born at 2.40 am on 21 April 1926 as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York.

3) She was born in Mayfair, London, at the house of her maternal grandparents. The house was damaged during the blitz and was later demolished.

4) She was born 3rd in the line of succession.

5) She was baptised at the Private Chapel of Buckingham Palace just over a month after her birth by the then Archbishop of York.

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6) Elizabeth was born during the reign of her grandfather, King George V.

7) Describing her at the age of two, Winston Churchill said Elizabeth “has an air of authority and reflectiveness astonishing in an infant”.

8) She spent her childhood living with her parents at 145 Piccadilly, the London house taken by her parents shortly after her birth, and at White Lodge in Richmond Park. Alongside her sister, she was educated at home.

9) When she was six years old, her parents took over Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park as their own country home. In the grounds of Royal Lodge, Princess Elizabeth had her own small house, Y Bwthyn Bach (the Little Cottage), which was given to her by the people of Wales in 1932.

10) She was an only child until 1930 when Princess Margaret was born.

11) At birth, it wasn’t expected that she would someday become Queen. Mostly because it was expected that her uncle, who later became King Edward VIII, could have children and because any boys her parents had would replace her in the line of succession.

12) In 1936 she went up two places in the line of succession: she became 2nd when her grandfather died in January and she became 1st when her uncle abdicated the throne in December, to marry an American divorcee, Mrs Wallis Simpson.

13) Her father became King George VI on 11 December 1936.

14) After becoming heiress presumptive to the throne at the age of 10, she started her study of constitutional history and law, being taught by her father, the King, and Henry Marten, the Vice-Provost of Eton. She was also instructed in religion by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

15) Princess Elizabeth also learned French from a number of French and Belgian governesses, maintaining her fluency to this day.

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16) A Girl Guides company was founded at Buckingham Palace to allow Princess Elizabeth to socialize with girls her age.

17) Princess Elizabeth also studied art and music, learned to ride, and became a strong swimmer. She won the Children’s Challenge Shield at London’s Bath Club when she was thirteen.

18) She stayed in the UK during her parents’ foreign tours in 1927 and 1939, because her father considered her too young for public engagements.

19) She and her parents made the first transatlantic telephone call between members of the Royal Family on 18 May 1939, while King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were away on a tour of Canada and the United States.

20) In 1940, at the height of the Blitz, the young Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret were moved for their safety to Windsor Castle, where they spent most of the war years.

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21) During World War II, as children, Elizabeth and her sister were known to put on pantomimes with the children of members of staff for the enjoyment of her family and employees of the Royal Household during the Christmas season.

22) At the start of the war, it was suggested that Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret should be evacuated to Canada for their safety. Their mother famously said: “The children won’t go without me. I won’t leave without the King. And the King will never leave”.

23) When the war was declared, Elizabeth and her sister were at the Balmoral Estate, in the Scottish Highlands. They remained there until Christmas 1939 when they moved to Sandringham House.

24) Before moving to Windsor Castle, where they remained for most of the war, they lived at Royal Lodge for a few months.

25) Aged 14, Elizabeth made her first radio broadcast in 1940. She spoke during the BBC’s Children Hour in support of the thousands of children that the British Government sent to the Dominions to ensure their safety.

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26) In early 1942 Princess Elizabeth was appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the Grenadier Guards, and on her sixteenth birthday she carried out her first public engagement when she inspected the regiment.

27) In April 1943, Princess Elizabeth carried out her first solo public engagement, when she spent a day with a Grenadier Guards tank battalion in Southern Command.

28) At the time, Elizabeth was mostly involved with organizations that worked alongside the youth. She was President of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children in Hackney and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

29) In 1943, Parliament changed the law to allow the first person in the line of succession to act as a Counsellor of State during the King’s absences. This meant that Elizabeth could first act as a Counsellor of State the following year, instead of waiting until she turned 21.

30) From March 1944 onwards, Princess Elizabeth began to accompany the King and Queen on many of their tours within Britain.

31) Shortly after her eighteenth birthday in 1944, Princess Elizabeth was appointed a Counsellor of State for the first time during the King’s absence on a tour of the Italian battlefields and, for the first time, carried out some of the duties of Head of State.

32) In August 1944, with Queen Elizabeth, the Princess received an address from the House of Commons, and replied on behalf of the Throne.

33) In September 1944, the Princess carried out her first official tour of Scotland with her parents, including her first opening ceremony in October, when she opened the recently reconstructed Aberdeen Sailors’ Home.

34) In early 1945 the Princess was made a Subaltern in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS). By the end of the war, she had reached the rank of Junior Commander, having completed her course at No. 1 Mechanical Training Centre of the ATS and passed out as a fully qualified driver.

35) Elizabeth and Margaret were allowed to anonymously celebrate with the crowds on Victory in Europe Day, when the war ended in Europe.

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36) Elizabeth first met her future husband when the then Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark attended the wedding of his cousin, Princess Marina, to Elizabeth’s uncle Prince George, Duke of Kent in 1934. Elizabeth was 8 and Philip was 13.

37) Philip and Elizabeth are second cousins once removed through King Christian IX of Denmark.

38) Elizabeth began exchanging letters with Philip when she was 13, after meeting again during a 1939 visit to the Royal Naval College.

39) Princess Elizabeth went on her first foreign tour in 1947, when she accompanied her parents and sister on a tour of South Africa.

40) During that tour, and on the day of her 21st birthday, Elizabeth first pledged her life to public service with the famous words “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”

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41) Her engagement to Prince Philip was formally announced soon after she returned from the South Africa tour, on 9 July 1947.

42) Elizabeth’s choice of suitor wasn’t universally welcomed, Prince Philip was criticized for being foreign, not having money and having sisters married to Nazis.

43) The couple were married in Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947.

44) The event was fairly simple, as Britain was still recovering from the war, and Princess Elizabeth had to collect clothing coupons for her dress, like any other young bride. Her dress was designed by Norman Hartnell.

45) Their wedding was recorded and broadcast by the BBC radio to 200 million people worldwide.

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46) They spent their honeymoon at Broadlands, Hampshire, the home of Lord Mountbatten, and at Birkhall, Balmoral.

47) As a married couple, Elizabeth and Philip took up residence at Clarence House. This is where the Prince of Wales now lives.

48) While Clarence House undertook renovations, the couple rented a house near Windsor Castle from 1947 to 1949.

49) The couple received over two thousand wedding gifts.

50) Because Philip was posted in Malta by the Navy, Elizabeth and Philip lived intermittently there for a few months at a time.

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51) Elizabeth and Philip’s first child was born 14 November 1948 at Buckingham Palace and was named Prince Charles Philip Arthur George.

52) After her marriage in 1947, Princess Elizabeth paid formal visits with The Duke of Edinburgh to France and Greece, and in autumn 1951 they toured Canada.

53) Following their return from the Canadian tour, and because of the King’s poor health, Elizabeth and Philip were appointed to the Privy Council on 4 November 1951.

54) Their second child and only daughter, Princess Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise, was born at Clarence House.

55) In 1952, King George VI’s illness forced him to abandon his proposed visit to Australia and New Zealand. Elizabeth, accompanied by Prince Philip, took his place.

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56) Before heading to Australia and New Zealand, the couple went to Kenya. While there, on 6 February 1952, Elizabeth’s father King George VI died. Prince Philip was the person who informed Elizabeth of her father’s demise and her subsequent accession to the throne.

57) Following the news, the tour was abandoned, and the young Princess flew back to Britain as Queen. She was greeted by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and other officials at the airport before returning to Clarence House, where the Royal Standard was flown for the first time in her reign.

58) Aged just 25, Elizabeth became Queen in 7 independent countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and Ceylon.

59) While it was customary for a wife to take her husband’s family name, the Queen issued a Royal Proclamation on 9 April 1952 to ensure that the Royal House of the UK continued to be known as the House of Windsor.

60) In 1952 she also became Supreme Governor of the Church of England and Head of the Commonwealth.

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61) The Coronation took place in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. It was a solemn ceremony conducted by Dr Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury. Representatives of the peers, the Commons and all the great public interests in Britain, the Prime Ministers and leading citizens of the other Commonwealth countries, and representatives of foreign states were present.

62) Her coronation was the first ever to be televised, at the Queen’s request.

63) Her political duties began immediately in 1952, from the State Opening of Parliament to weekly audiences with the prime minister. The first prime minister of The Queen’s reign was Sir Winston Churchill.

64) Taking up her duties as Head of the Commonwealth in earnest, The Queen embarked on a series of overseas visits, including visits to parts of the Commonwealth never before visited by her predecessors. In winter 1953, for example, Her Majesty set out to accomplish, as Queen, the Commonwealth tour she had begun before the death of her father. With The Duke of Edinburgh, she visited Bermuda, Jamaica, Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, Ceylon, Uganda, Malta and Gibraltar.

65) In 2011, Elizabeth became the first British monarch to visit the Republic of Ireland, when she was invited by then President Mary McAleese.

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66) The first Christmas address from Queen Elizabeth II’s reign was broadcast from New Zealand in 1953. The first-ever Christmas address by the Queen to be televised took place in 1957 and the first prerecorded broadcast took place in 1960 to allow transmission around the world.

67) Her first state visit abroad was to Panama in 1953.

68) She addressed the United Nations General Assembly in 1957 as Queen of the Commonwealth Realms, during a State Visit to the United States that she undertook in her role as Queen of Canada.

69) She was the second Canadian monarch to open a parliamentary session when she opened the 23rd Parliament of Canada.

70) The Queen gave birth to her third child, Prince Andrew Albert Christian Edward, at Buckingham Palace on 19 February 1960. She was the first reigning monarch to give birth since 1857 when Queen Victoria had her last child.

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71) The Queen’s last child, Prince Edward Antony Richard Louis, was born on 10 March 1964.

72) Her pregnancies with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward mark the only occasions when Queen Elizabeth II wasn’t present for the State Opening of Parliament (1959 and 1963).

73) Because of a statute dating back to 1324, the Queen owns all whales and sturgeons in the UK.

74) The Queen doesn’t have a passport or a driver’s license because those are all issued in her name.

75) The Queen and Prince Philip have eight grandchildren: Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall (b. 1977 and 1981); Prince William and Prince Harry (b. 1982 and 1984); Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie (b. 1988 and 1990); and Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn (b.2003 and 2007).

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76) Due to ancient traditions, the Queen is known as Duke of Normandy in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man and as Duke of Lancaster within Lancaster. But technically, as the Fountain of Honors, she cannot hold these Dukedoms.

77) The Queen has a separate title for each of her 16 current realms, making her the Queen of sixteen Kingdoms.

78) Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, in respect of his income from the Duchy of Cornwall, are not liable to pay income tax because the relevant enactments do not apply to the Crown. However, since 1993 they have voluntarily paid income tax to the extent that it is not used for official purposes.

79) The Queen is the only British monarch so far to have addressed a joint session of the United States Congress, which happened in 1991.

80) There have been 14 Prime Ministers in the UK during Elizabeth’s reign, the first of which was Winston Churchill. Likewise, the Queen’s reign has seen the term of office of 14 Presidents of the United States.

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81) The Queen’s real birthday is on April 21, but it is celebrated officially in June.

82) In 2017 the Queen was the first British monarch to celebrate a platinum wedding anniversary, which means she is the British monarch with the longest marriage in history.

83) The Queen introduced a new breed of dog known as the “dorgi” when one of Her Majesty’s corgis was mated with a dachshund named Pipkin which belonged to Princess Margaret.

84) During her reign, The Queen has visited every country in the Commonwealth (except for Cameroon, which joined in 1995 and Rwanda which joined in 2009).

85) The Queen’s last state visit abroad was to Germany in 2015. After that, and a visit to Malta for CHOGM, and due to her age, she decided she would no longer travel abroad.

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86) History was made in 1982 when Pope John Paul II visited Britain, the first Pope to do so for 450 years. The Queen, Titular Head of the Church of England, received him at Buckingham Palace.

87) Queen Elizabeth II is the only Head of State in the world to have opened the Olympics in two different countries: Canada in 1976 and the UK in 2012.

88) In 2012, as part of the celebrations of her Diamond Jubilee, Elizabeth became the first monarch to attend a cabinet meeting in peacetime since 1781.

89) The Queen surpassed her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, to become the longest-lived British monarch on 21 December 2007, and the longest-reigning British monarch and longest-reigning queen regnant and female head of state in the world on 9 September 2015.

90) In 2012 she became only the second British monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee, after Queen Victoria.

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91) The Queen has currently 10 great-grandchildren. The youngest of which, Lucas Tindall, is 22nd in the line of succession.

92) The only time The Queen has had to interrupt an overseas tour was in 1974 during a tour of Australia and Indonesia. The Queen was called back from Australia when a general election was called suddenly. The Duke of Edinburgh continued the programme in Australia, and The Queen re-joined the tour in Indonesia.

93) The Queen must give her Royal Assent to every bill passed by Parliament before it becomes an Act of Parliament. During her reign, she has given Royal Assent to over 3,500 bills.

94) The Queen had her COVID-19 vaccine earlier this year. And so should you when it’s your time!

95) During an address to both Houses of Parliament to mark her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 the Queen, just as she did on her 21st birthday, decided to once again dedicate her life to public service by saying: “I have been privileged to witness some of that history and, with the support of my family, rededicate myself to the service of our great country and its people now and in the years to come.”

[The British Royal Tiaras | British Royal Orders | British Royal Jewels]

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