Royalty is fascinating, particularly to some of us born in the US as we’ve never had a monarchy. While some of us may glean most of what we know about Princesses and Queens from Disney, the actual life of a Royal is quite different. Queen Elizabeth II was just 25 years old when she took the throne, which seems insanely young to anyone over 30! She is currently the longest reigning Monarch in the world. Want to hear more about her? Here are 25 Royally Cool Facts About Queen Elizabeth II You Might Not Know.
Queen Elizabeth II is the longest reigning Monarch of the United Kingdom. Her reign started in 1953 and continues to this day (as of the time of writing). She surpassed her Great Great Grandmother Queen Victoria on September 9th, 2015.
To date, Queen Elizabeth II has sent around 50,000 Christmas Cards. That's uh...wow. Most of us have a hard time putting a heartfelt wish into cards for our cousin we haven't seen in six years.
Queen Elizabeth (then Princess Elizabeth) met Prince Philip at a wedding when they were only children. They were married years later in November of 1947 at Westminister Abbey, the same place she would be coordinated in 1953.
Queen Elizabeth II loves Corgis and has owned over 30 during her reign. Can you blame her? They're adorable. The Queen's family got the first ever Royal Corgi, named Dookie, in 1933 for the family. The Queen got her very own Corgi, which she named Susan, for her 18th Birthday.
She doesn't have a passport because all passports for citizens of the United Kingdom are issued in the Queen's name. Why would she need one?
She's also the only person in Britain allowed to drive without a license or a number plate on her car.
Though she did, notably, drive a jeep and serve as a mechanic via the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service during WWII. She is the only still-living head of state to have served in WWII.
Her husband, His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, is her third cousin. They share the same Great Great Grandmother, Queen Victoria.
Princess Elizabeth's wedding gown was covered with 10,000 white pearls, but because austerity measures were still in effect due to postwar recovery, she had to save up ration coupons to pay for it. Not even the Royal Family was exempt.
In addition to the bazillion Christmas Cards she's sent, Queen Elizabeth II sends Christmas Trees to Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral in London, St. Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh, Wellington Parracks, the Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, as well as local schools and churches in the Sandringham area of England. She also gives out Christmas Puddings to staff, keeping with traditions set by King George V and King George VI. She's given out some 90,000 Christmas Puddings so far. Queen Santa!
Since William the Conqueror was crowned in 1066, Queen Elizabeth II is the 40th monarch. That's a lot of family history to remember.
Queen Elizabeth is considered the first head of state to have used electronic mail, having sent her first email in March of 1976. She sent a message during a demonstration of network technology at the Royal Signal and Radar Establishment, which is a research facility. The email was sent via ARPANET, a precursor to the internet.
The Queen has four cocktails a day. One before lunch, one with lunch, one at the end of lunch with cake, and a glass of champagne before bed. It's good to be Queen.
Elizabeth had one sibling, a sister, Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon. When they were children, Margaret gave then Princess Elizabeth the nickname that would follow her through life - "Lilibet." The young Margaret couldn't say Elizabeth correctly. Princess Margaret died in 2002.
Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret never attended school; they were taught by private tutors at home.
When Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced the end of World War II, then Princess Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, and a cousin snuck out of the palace to join the celebrations in the streets of London. Though it wasn't so much sneaking, as Elizabeth's Father, King George VI, gave his permission.
Though they both came from Royal families and met as children, Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip had very different upbringings - Phillip wasn't raised by his family. After his mother suffered from mental illness, his father left to live with a mistress. Many in England opposed Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip's marriage, and even Elizabeth's own mother called Phillip "The Hun" in private. Still, they loved each other, the marriage happened, and they've proved all the naysayers wrong.
Phillip proposed and Elizabeth accepted without her parents knowing about it. The King insisted that their engagement be kept a secret until after Elizabeth's 21st birthday, which means they were secretly engaged for over a year.
As the longest reigning monarch in Great Britain's History, over 80% of UK citizens weren't yet born when she took the throne and have never known any monarch other than Queen Elizabeth II.
Queen Elizabeth II, as reigning Monarch, owns all the Swans and Dolphins that swim in the waters of the UK. Back in the 12th century, Swans were considered a delicacy, and the British Monarchy laid claim to them. Thankfully, no one's eating them today, but the Queens Swan Marker does count all the swans in the UK and check up on their health in an annual census called the "Swan Upping." As far as dolphins? In the 1300's a statute was passed that allows the Queen to lay claim to all "Fishes Royal" which includes dolphins, whales, sturgeons, and porpoises in UK waters.
Most British Monarchs have two Birthdays, and Queen Elizabeth II is no exception. Her actual date of birth is April 21, 1926. However, it's too cold in April, in London, to celebrate the Queen's Birthday properly. So her state recognized birthday happens on a Saturday in May or June, usually coinciding with Britain's military pageant, Trooping the Colour. Her actual, April birthday is usually spent quietly with friends and family.
As of November 2016, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip have been married for 69 years. I do believe that counts as "Happily Ever After."
The Queen has a well-known love for Launer handbags and reportedly owns over 200 of them. She also uses them to communicate with her staff, if she puts her bag on the floor it means she needs out of an uncomfortable situation, for example.
Her Majesty has a favorite kind of cake, a chocolate biscuit cake to be exact, and she has one slice daily. She's so serious about this cake that she takes one with her when she travels, going so far as having one of the head chefs from Buckingham Palace travel with the cake. She is quite meticulous about making sure she eats every last piece.
Queen Elizabeth II's full title is as follows: Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.
Photo Credits: Feature Image: wikimedia commons (public domain), 25-24. wikimedia commons (public domain), 23. BiblioArchives / LibraryArchives from Canada, Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II Couronnement de la Reine Elizabeth II, CC BY 2.0, 22. Daniel Stockman, Pembroke Welsh Corgi Puppy, CC BY-SA 2.0, 21. wikimedia commons (public domain), 20. pexels (public domain), 19. wikimedia commons (public domain), 18. Bundesarchiv, Bild 199-1992-089-19A / CC-BY-SA, Bundesarchiv Bild 199-1992-089-19Acropped, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, 17. shutterstock, 16. Loco Steve via flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, 15. be.wikipedia.org (public domain), 14. Bdtbt, Email bdtbt, CC BY-SA 4.0, 13. Max Pixel (public domain), 12. Koch, Eric / Anefo, Princess Margaret 1965, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL, 11. pixabay (public domain), 10-9. wikimedia commons (public domain), 8. pixabay (public domain), 7. Mícheál, British working class, CC BY-SA 2.0, 6. Yerpo, Mute swan Vrhnika, CC BY-SA 3.0, 5. pixabay (public domain), 4. wikimedia commons (public domain), 3. UK Home Office, Queen Elizabeth II 2015 HO1, CC BY 2.0, 2. pexels (public domain), 1. wikimedia commons (public domain)