Why Queen Elizabeth II Was The Most Fascinating Monarch
The passing of Queen Elizabeth on September 9, 2022 was devastating to her constituents as well as the rest of the public around the world. The Queen was beloved and respected by almost everyone for her warmth, class, and proactive attitude.
She made a lot of positive changes for her country throughout her time in power. Let’s take a look at the past 7 decades of the Queen’s reign. We’ve collected some facts about the world’s longest-serving monarch that might just surprise you. All hail the Queen!
She Had a Wonderful Sense of Humor
Queen Elizabeth is probably recognizable to about 99% of the population, but there are a select few who wouldn’t recognize her royal highness. While taking a walk near her estate with her protection officers, some American tourists came up to ask her a question. They had no idea they were speaking directly to the Queen herself.
They asked if she’d ever met the Queen to which she responded, “no”. She then pointed to her protection officer and said “this policeman has”. The tourists did not get the joke but she shared a laugh with her officer. Even the Queen of England has a sense of humor!
She Snuck Outside to Join the Victory Celebrations for World War II
When Germany finally surrendered during World War II, there were enormous celebrations throughout the streets of England. The Queen (who was just Princess Elizabeth at the time) could hear the celebrations from her home in Buckingham Palace.
She and her sister snuck out of the Palace to join the end-of-war celebrations in the streets. She recalls this as being “one of the most memorable nights of [her] life”. Most of her teenage years were spent in wartime and she was only 19 when the war ended.
She Was Allowed to Break the Rules
Being the Queen of England has its perks. Elizabeth got to enjoy privileges that almost no one else in the world is allowed. She could drive without a license and ignore speed limits. She could knight whomever she wanted and grant criminal pardons.
If she so decided, she could even fire the entire Australian government, though she never exercised this power. Technically, Queen Elizabeth owned every single dolphin and whale in British waters. As a known animal lover, we’re sure she appreciated this privilege.
She Didn’t Need a Passport to Travel
Anyone who has misplaced their passport or forgotten it at home would appreciate the luxury of being able to travel without one. The Queen doesn’t need a passport to travel internationally because technically all passports are issued by the Queen herself.
So, the monarch doesn’t actually need a passport to travel. We’d hate to be the person telling the Queen she can’t go to where she’s traveling anyway. The rest of the royal family does not enjoy the same privilege so they are required to bring their passports to travel internationally.
The Queen Loved her Corgis
For much of her reign, Queen Elizabeth bred corgis. She loved this breed of dog ever since she met her father, King George VI’s corgi named Dookie. For her 18th birthday she was given her own corgi puppy as a birthday gift.
She stopped breeding them so that none of her beloved dogs would outlive her. She didn’t want to leave any of her furry friends behind when she passed away. Her last corgi passed away in 2018. She also stopped breeding them around the same time her mother passed away which might have been an additional reason she stopped breeding the dogs.
She Uses her Handbag to Speak to Staff in Code
Much of the monarchy is mysterious and secretive. The Queen needs to communicate to her staff without notifying anyone else what she is trying to say. She used her handbag to communicate coded messages to her staff.
For example, if she moved her bag from one hand to the other, it was a signal that she was ready to end her current conversation. Her officers would then sweep her away to the next one. We wonder if there was a code for “I’m hungry”!
She Served in World War II as a Mechanic
The Queen herself served in World War II. She was just a teenager at the time but was eager to join the war efforts and offer her services in any way she could. She served as a trained mechanic, learning from the Auxiliary Territorial Service.
It’s hard to imagine the Queen who we see draped in fabulous jewelry getting her hands dirty by fixing trucks, but it’s true! She actually fought with her parents for over a year, begging them to let her sign up for the service. She was willing to work for her country before she was even their Queen!
She Was Woken up By a Bagpiper Every Morning
The Queen doesn’t wake up to her phone alarm like the rest of us. Rather, she was woken up by a bagpiper every morning. The player would play a song called “Piper to the Sovereign”. The player would play the song for 15 minutes outside her window at 9 am every morning.
As far as alarm clocks go, we don’t know if we would want to wake up to the whining of a bagpipe. The bagpipe doesn’t have the luxury of a snooze button either.
She Studied History and Law
The Queen’s intelligence is no secret. It’s been well-documented throughout her time as a monarch. She actually studied constitutional history and law.
To be fair, she did have the best teachers in Britain to give her lessons so there was a bit of an unfair advantage. She also took lessons in religion from the Archbishop of Canterbury to prepare for her role as monarch. She may have had some of the best tutors in the world but she definitely put her lessons to good use over the 70 years she ruled.
She Met Her Husband When She was 8 Years Old
High school sweethearts have nothing on the Queen and her husband. Elizabeth met Prince Philip when she was only 8 years old in 1934. They had attended some of the same events when they were even younger but didn’t make each other’s acquaintance until this time.
It was the wedding of Princess Marina of Greece and Prince George, Duke of Kent where they first met. Apparently, Elizabeth had a crush on Prince Philip instantly. They were married in 1947 when Elizabeth was 21 years old and Philip was 26.
She Celebrated Two Birthdays
One birthday is simply not enough celebration for a queen! Queen Elizabeth celebrated two birthdays every year. Her real birthday is April 21, 1926 so there would be a celebration on this day every year.
But there was also another day recognized as her birthday as well. When the weather was better, there would be an additional celebration of her birth that was marked by the Trooping the Colour parade. This was a tradition started by King George II in 1748. She lived to be 96 years old but technically had almost double that many birthday celebrations.
Her Crown Snapped On Her Wedding Day
Queen Elizabeth wore Queen Mary’s Russian Fringe Tiara on her wedding day. It was originally made for her grandmother in 1919. The unique headpiece can also be worn as a necklace. The Queen hand picked this tiara to wear on her special day.
To her surprise, the crown actually snapped right before she was to walk down the aisle and marry Prince Philip. Luckily, her staff was able to repair the tiara and she was still able to wear it down the aisle. Her daughter, Princess Anne also wore it on her wedding day in 1973.
She Enjoyed a Glass of Champagne Every Night
Apparently the Queen enjoyed a glass of bubbly every night. Her cousin, Margaret Rhodes explained the Queen’s drinks of choice in an interview with the Independent. She liked to have a gin and Dubonnet before lunch with a slice of lemon and lots of ice.
She would enjoy wine with lunch and a dry Martini and a glass of champagne in the evening. It seems like she was a creature of habit, but we all have our favorites. She was apparently very particular about her drinks but then again, she is the Queen.
She Was Sent Over 70,000 Letters a Year
It comes as no surprise that the Queen of England received tons of correspondence from people all over the world. In fact, she received an estimated 70,000 letters a year from all kinds of people. Some she read herself, but some she handed off to staff because she couldn’t possibly sift through all those letters herself!
According to the Royal website, the Queen was shown almost all of her correspondence by her private secretaries and she took great interest in the letters she received. We’re not sure how she was able to juggle it all when we can barely keep up with our email inbox!
She was the Longest Reigning British Monarch
Queen Elizabeth II was the longest reigning British monarch of all time and the second-longest reigning monarch of all time. Her reign lasted 70 years and 214 days. She is one of only four people to rule for more than 7 decades. Her rule lasted for the duration of 14 U.S. Presidents!
Louis XIV of France beat her by 2 years but was given a huge advantage in that he assumed the throne at the age of 5. Queen Elizabeth was 25 years old when she became Queen of England. Most living people know no other monarch than Queen Elizabeth in their lifetime.
She is the Most Well Traveled Monarch
A queen has many responsibilities and lots of places to be. Her reign consisted of lots of travel to go perform royal duties all over the world. In her 70 years wearing the crown she traveled over 1 million miles.
That is the equivalent of 40 times around the Earth. 70 years and 1 million miles traveled make her the most well-traveled British monarch of all time. And we assume she will not soon be beat in that department. She broke tons of records during her reign.
It is Estimated That Her Personal Wealth is About $500 Million
It is difficult to estimate what the Queen’s net worth is. The royal family is estimated to be worth about $28 billion. But, not all of that money is really in the hands of the Windsors because some of their holdings go to the government.
Fortune magazine estimates that the Queen’s personal fortune was most likely around $500 million. This money will now be passed down to her son, King Charles. As is customary in the royal family, he will not have to pay an inheritance tax on this money.
The Queen’s Coronation Was the First Major Royal Event to Be Broadcast
The Queen has a long list of firsts which she accomplished during her reign. One such example is that her coronation was the very first major royal event to be broadcast on T.V. The celebration took place in June of 1953 and was a huge event.
Now, many royal events are broadcast on T.V. The marriage of Kate Middleton to Prince William was one of the most viewed events on T.V. of the past 2 decades. Broadcasting these kinds of royal events has sparked more international interest in the occurrences of the crown.
She is Credited With Inventing a New Dog Breed
It is no secret that the Queen loved her corgis. Over the course of her lifetime she owned over 30 of them, starting in 1933. Her love for corgis led to her inventing a new breed.
The dorgi is a cross-breed between a corgi and a dachshund. She had two towards the end of her life and these will most likely be passed down to other family members so they remain taken care of.
She Was Technically the Ruler of 15 Countries
As the Queen of England, Elizabeth technically had power over 15 different countries. This included Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Jamaica, and the Bahamas. These are part of what’s known as the Commonwealth realms.
The Commonwealth is made of countries that used to be a part of the British empire but have since separated. They work together to reach shared goals. However, many countries have severed ties with Britain to become sovereign. The most recent of which was Barbados in 2021.
“Operation London Bridge” is code for the Queen’s Passing
“London Bridge is Down” is the code word used when the Queen passed away. Britain must be prepared for the passing of their monarch in any instance so they can quickly shift power to the next ruler. In this case, it was King Charles.
When the phrase “London Bridge is Down” was signaled around the castle, the plans would be put in place to make arrangements for her. The Queen passed away at Balmoral Castle in Scotland so an elaborate set of plans was laid out to care for her body.
The Queen was Held in Westminster Hall for 4 days
When the Queen passed her body was held in Westminster Hall for 4 days. This allowed people to come and pay their respects, leave flowers, etc. Her funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey which is where royal coronations usually take place.
Her funeral will be the first service here since the 18th century and the first “state funeral” since that of Winston Churchill in 1965.
The Queen Was Given a Cottage as a Gift When She Was 6
At age 6 most of us receive a doll or play-doh. Meanwhile the future Queen was given a miniature cottage by the people of Wales. The small cottage was placed on the grounds of Royal Lodge in Windsor.
This was no ordinary cottage. The 6 year old Elizabeth’s birthday gift was a Welsh style cottage with a radio, china set, photos hung on the wall, and more. The cottage was stocked with mini books, pots, pans, and even a working telephone.
Her Birthplace is Now a Famous Restaurant
Queen Elizabeth was born in what is now a famous Chinese restaurant. At the time of her birth in 1926, 17 Bruton Street was her grandparents house in which she was born. Little did they know that baby would grow up to be Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.
Now this location is a very popular Cantonese restaurant called Hakkasan. It has a Michelin star rating and tons of delicious food. If you are so inclined, you can make a reservation and eat at the place Queen Elizabeth was born.
The Queen Raced Pigeons
If we haven’t shocked you yet with these facts about Queen Elizabeth, this one might do the trick. Queen Elizabeth raced pigeons at her country estate in Sandringham. She had a flock of over 200 of the birds and belonged to multiple pigeon-racing societies.
The Royal Pigeon Racing Association and the National Flying Club were two of the clubs she belonged to and enjoyed. She loved the sport and participated in many major races over the years.
She Owned All the Swans in British Waters
She technically owned all of the unmarked swans in British waters, This symbolic ownership was established in the 12th century to protect the species from poachers. Now, King Charles will inherit the swan as well as the dolphins and whales in British waters.
The royal family takes part in the annual “swan upping” event. This involves catching the swans from the River Thames and marking them to show they are owned by the Crown.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip Received Over 2,500 Wedding Gifts
When Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth were married, they received thousands of gifts to congratulate them on their nuptials. During wartime, clothes were being rationed so women all over the country sent Elizabeth nylon stockings.
She received 131 pairs of stockings in addition to other gifts. The couple was given a variety of fruits including 500 tons of pineapple. Not to mention, the Queen received a necklace that cost $83 million.
She Enjoyed Bright Colors
The Queen enjoyed bright colors and would often be seen sporting bright shades of pink, yellow, green, and blue. She was known for her fashion sense. But the bright colors served another purpose outside of fashion, as well.
The Queen was petite and only about 5 feet 3 inches tall, so bright colors helped her stand out in a crowd. The neons and pastels made it possible for more people to be able to spot her in a crowd. She was very fond of the bright hats and matching outfits.
She Only Wore One Color of Nail Polish
The Queen seems to have been a creature of habit. So much so that she apparently only ever wore one nail polish color. Starting in 1989, she only wore a color called “Ballet Slippers” by the brand Essie.
It is a pale pink with a pearly sheen. Her very first bottle was ordered for her by her hairdresser. If you want to wear the same color as the Queen, you can buy it at your local store!
She Had Almost 150 Portraits During Her Reign
It is not uncommon for royals to sit for portraits. Since the Queen reigned for 70 years, she sat for almost 150 portraits of herself and her family. In one specific instance, a portrait of her was completed by artists named Chris Levine and Rob Munday.
This portrait was made up of 10,000 other images. This piece of art was then repurposed as a work called “The Diamond Queen”. For this, over 1,100 white diamonds were put over the tiara she was wearing in the portrait.
She Bought Her Wedding Dress Material With Ration Coupons
During World War II, there were clothing rations throughout Britain and it was difficult to come by clothing materials. Ration coupons were distributed to the public. The royal family was not exempt from these restrictions.
Women around the world actually donated their own ration coupons so Elizabeth could purchase her wedding dress material. She eventually had to return the donations because the Crown is not allowed to accept donations from the public.
Her First Horse Was Named Peggy
The Queen was a known animal lover. Her 30 corgis and ownership of swans, dolphins, and whales were only some of the animals she owned. During her reign she was given many exotic animals.
Her very first horse was a Shetland pony named Peggy. Her grandfather King George V gifted her the horse and she had had a love for horse riding ever since.
She Was Fluent in French
As a monarch, speaking different languages can come in handy to better communicate with other rulers. The Queen was fluent in French as well asn English. Most likely, she learned French when she was very young. She always spoke the language when she traveled to France.
She could also speak German, Spanish, and Welsh, but was not fluent. Apparently she knew phrases in each of these languages as well as some other ones. Many members of the royal family have learned different languages.
She Made Her First Radio Broadcast When She Was 14 Years Old
The Queen made hundreds of T.V. and radio broadcasts in her 7 year reign, but her very first radio broadcast was when she was just 14 years old. She commented on BBC’s Children’s Hour when kids were being evacuated during the war.
She stated, “We are trying to do all we can do to help our gallant sailors, soldiers and airmen, and we are trying, too, to bear our own share of the danger and sadness of war”. She was wise beyond her years to have such insight to the war at this young age.
She Opened an Opera House
The Queen opened Sydney Opera House in 1973. The Opera House was revolutionary for Australia because it was one of the greatest buildings to be resurrected in the 20th century.
It was a great step forward for Australian culture and music as well. The Queen felt this was important. She stated, “The Sydney Opera House has captured the imagination of the world” and took great pride in this structure.
Queen Elizabeth Wasn’t An Apparent Heir to the Throne
Unlike many other monarchs who assume the throne, it wasn’t obvious that Elizabeth would one day inherit the throne. Her grandfather, King George V died in 1936 and so her uncle Edward VIII took the throne.
Less than a year later he gave up the crown and his title to marry an American socialite. Edward didn’t have any children so his brother Albert took the throne. This was Elizabeth’s father (who later changed his name to George VI. Thus, Elizabeth became Queen after her father’s reign.
She Begged Her Parents to Join the War Efforts
Before her parents finally conceded and allowed Elizabeth to join the women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service in World War II, Elizabeth spent years trying to convince them to let her help. She was too young to join in the beginning.
The princess insisted that she needed to help war efforts in some way so she joined the radio broadcasters who aimed to keep the morale up for British children. She was proactive and felt she needed to serve her country at the age of 14 years old.
She Chose Her Own Last Name
One of the benefits of being royal is the ability to bend the rules. Elizabeth actually got to choose her own last name. Technically, her name was Windsor, which was the name chosen by George V in 1917.
This name was chosen to separate them from their previous “German-sounding” last name. Elizabeth and Philip wanted to distinguish themselves from the royal family, so they chose to hyphenate. They selected the name Windsor-Mountbatten.
She Was Notoriously Camera-Shy
Queen Elizabeth was notoriously camera-shy, especially in her younger years. She did not even allow photos to be taken of her wedding. She did grow to become more comfortable in front of the camera because it came with the job. She did not originally want her coronation to be televised.
Others agreed that it should not be televised because it would put an end to the tradition of allowing only upper class members of British society to witness the event. Eventually, it was agreed upon that it would be broadcast but there would be no close-ups of Elizabeth’s face.
Prince Philip Was Her Cousin
The Queen and her husband Prince Philip met when she was 8 years old and he was 13. They met so young because they would attend many of the same events in their youth. This was largely because the two were distantly related; third cousins.
The royal pair were related through Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria was the great-great-grandmother of Philip on his maternal side and Queen Elizabeth on her paternal side.
She Was Home-Schooled
Her majesty was obviously well-educated by only the best tutors that Britain had to offer. But she never actually attended grade school or college! One of her tutors was Henry Martin, who later went on to be a teacher and administrator at Eton College.
She and her younger sister Margaret were educated completely at home. The Queen learned much about foreign affairs, religion, constitutional history, law, and just about anything else a future Queen would need to know.
Prince Philip Called her “Cabbage”
We guess that most people were not allowed to call the Queen anything outside of her name, but her husband had a special nickname for her majesty. He called her “cabbage” as a loving pet name throughout their 74 year marriage.
No one is quite clear on why he chose this name to refer to his wife. But it has been stated that it was something he referred to her often and with love. We are sure the Queen wouldn’t stand for a nickname she didn’t adore.
She Carried Ironed Money
The Queen was known for carrying around her signature handbags, but it was always rumored that she did not actually carry cash with her. Why would a Queen need to keep cash on her? However, she did apparently keep a different form of money on her.
It was reported that she kept an ironed bank note in her bag for church service donations. Her net worth was estimated to be more than that of Coca Cola, so there really was no need to keep much money on her person outside of the ironed check.
She Enjoyed a Drink in the Mornings
The Queen enjoyed a drink! And she was definitely a creature of habit. We’ve mentioned that she liked to have a glass of champagne at the end of the day. She also had a special drink for the morning as well.
The former royal chef Darren McGrady has spilled the secret to the Queen’s eating and drinking habits. She enjoyed a gin and Dubonnet cocktail with lemon and ice to start the day. If she did switch it up, she was known to enjoy Bacardi rum or Bulmers Cider.
She Requested That She Make an Appearance in the Opening Vignette for the 2012 Olympics
In the opening video for the 2012 Olympics, Daniel Craig appears as James Bond and The Queen appears opposite of him. The director of the skit asked for the Queen’s permission to use her likeness and she responded by saying she’d actually like to be a part of it!
She requested she had a speaking role as well. She comments, “Good evening, Mr. Bond” before the two board a helicopter. Interestingly, a few of her beloved corgis also make an appearance in the clip.
She Was a Fan of Hats (and even used them to trick people)
The Queen had a keen fashion sense and loved her colors. She would often be seen wearing bright colors and matching hats. The hats were more than just a fashion statement. She wore them so the people would recognize her, even in a large crowd.
She worried that people would try to discover what her next outfit would be or what color she might wear next so she began hiding hats in the palace to throw people off. This way, if people found the “decoy hats” they still wouldn’t know what she planned to wear at the next big event.
She Was the First Female Member of the Royal Family to Become a Full-Time Active Member of the Armed Forces
Royalty before Queen Elizabeth had participated in the armed forces, but Elizabeth was the first to take on a more active role. This was largely because of the second world war. Princess Patricia of Connaught served as the colonel-in-chief in the military but did not serve such an involved role as Queen Elizabeth.
Her role was in the Auxiliary Territorial Service where she fixed and drove trucks. She had convinced her parents to let her join for over a year before she actually took a role. She was only a teenager at the time.
She Promised to Devote Her Life to Public Service When She Was Only 21 Years Old
At a time when most kids are enjoying a night out and drinking legally for the first time, Queen Elizabeth was devoting herself to the public. She was on a tour with her parents and sister in Zimbabwe when she made her announcement.
She stated on the radio, “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”.
She Was 25 When She Assumed the Throne
The Queen was only 25 when she assumed the throne. Her father, King George VI died from complications with a lung surgery. He was only 56 years old, so Queen Elizabeth assumed the throne a lot younger than expected.
Her coronation took place in June of 1953. Since she was so young at the time she assumed the throne, she became the longest reigning British monarch to date. This will most likely not be soon contested.
She Sent Letters to Anyone Who Turned 100 Years Old
The Queen sent out letters to people on extremely special occasions. This included 100th and 105th birthdays as well as 60th, 65th, and 70th wedding anniversaries. This was a trend that U.S. presidents used to do as well.
Of course, they were not handwritten, personalized notes, because the Queen has lots to do! But it is believed that they were signed by her personally. Some people probably still have letters that have been sent to family members or close friends.
She Had 4 Children
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip had 4 children. Their eldest, Charles, is now the King of England in the wake of his mother’s passing. Their other 2 sons are named Prince Edward and Prince Andrew.
Finally, they had one daughter named Princess Anne. Prince Edward is referred to as the Earl of Wessex. Prince Andrew is the Duke of York and Princess Anne is the Princess Royal.
She Had a Personal Poet
The Monarch of the United Kingdom is designated a professional poet, known as The Poet Laureate. This is an esteemed position within the royal family. They will write poems for special occasions such as royal funerals, weddings, and coronations.
As the monarch, Queen Elizabeth had her own poet named Simon Armitage. He wrote a poem to honor the late Queen about her favorite flower. Lily-of-the-valleys were her favorite flowers and they made up some of her coronation bouquet.
She Did Not Like Pizza
Apparently the Queen didn’t enjoy pizza! According to Darren McGrady, the former royal chef, she wasn’t a fan of very starchy foods. Instead, she preferred healthy lean meals. He noted that especially when she dines alone she would request healthy meals.
Often, her meals would consist of lean chicken or fish in addition to vegetables and a healthy carb. Good for her! We have to say that we prefer pizza, though.
She Enjoyed Horse Racing
The Queen had many hobbies, including horse racing. Most likely, this was because she was such a lover of horses. She owned hundreds of racehorses and won more than 1,600 races with these horses.
Her love for horses and horse racing was so well known that the Epsom Derby gave her a special tribute in 2022. Her love for horses dates back to when she was a little girl and her father gave her a pony as a gift.
She Sent a Message to The Moon
Queen Elizabeth got the opportunity to send a message to the moon. In 1969, when Apollo 11 was sent into space, world leaders were invited to write messages to send with it. The disc sits on the moon to this day.
In her moon message she saluted the skill and courage of the men who traveled to the moon and stated, “May this endeavor increase the knowledge and wellbeing of mankind”.