10 unexpected facts about Queen Elizabeth II that you did not know:
The Queen marked 70 years on the throne this year and surpassed her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria in September 2015, who reigned for 63 years and seven months
Queen Elizabeth II, the UK's longest-reigning monarch, passed away at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on Thursday, aged 96. The ruler marked 70 years on the throne this year and surpassed her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria in September 2015, who reigned for 63 years and seven months.
Here are ten facts about Queen Elizabeth II that you should not miss:
1) Queen Elizabeth never went to a public school
Like many royals of her time and before, Elizabeth never went to a public school and was never exposed to other students. Instead, she was educated at home with Margaret, her younger sister. Among those who taught her was her father, along with a senior teacher at Eton College, several French and Belgian governesses who taught her French, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, who taught her religion. Elizabeth’s schooling also included learning to ride, swim, dance, and the study of fine art and music.
2) Did you know that Queen Elizabeth II drove ambulances during World War II?
During World War II, young Princess Elizabeth briefly became known as No. 230873, Second Subaltern Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor of the Auxiliary Transport Service Number 1. After months of campaigning for her parents’ permission to do something for the war effort, the heir to the throne learned how to drive and service ambulances and trucks. She rose to the rank of honorary Junior Commander within months.
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3) The 96-year-old monarch is a great mimicry artiste!
Elizabeth often gave the impression of a serious demeanor, and many have noted her “poker face,” but those who knew her described her as having a mischievous sense of humor and a talent for mimicry in private company!
4) She paid taxes and opened Buckingham Palace to the public
She may have been the queen, but she paid taxes too — at least since 1992. When Windsor Castle, the queen’s weekend residence, was ravaged by fire in 1992, the public rebelled against paying millions of pounds for repairs. However, she voluntarily agreed to pay tax on her personal income. She said she would meet 70 percent of the cost of restoration work, and she also decided to open her home at Buckingham Palace to the public for the first time to generate extra funds from admission fees.
5) Guess what her nickname was? That’s right, Lilibet!
The queen was christened Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor of York, in honor of her mother, paternal grandmother, and paternal great-grandmother. But as a child, she was endearingly known as young Lilibet by her family — said to be because she couldn’t pronounce “Elizabeth” properly. The nickname became more widely known after Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, named their daughter Lilibet Diana in 2021.
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6) The cute courting of Queen Elizabeth by Prince Philip:
Their story began in 1939, when Prince Philip of Greece, a handsome 18-year-old naval cadet, was detailed to entertain the 13-year-old Elizabeth for a day. Several years later, Philip was invited to join the royal family at Windsor Castle at Christmas, and he soon made discreet inquiries about whether he would be considered an eligible suitor.
7) Queen Elizabeth has multiple birth dates!
Elizabeth was born on April 21, 1926, but it was sometimes confusing for the public to know when to celebrate. There was no universally fixed day for her “official birthday” — it was either the first, second or third Saturday in June, and was decided by the government.
8) Queen Elizabeth II owned 30 corgis
It’s widely known that Elizabeth loved corgis — Princess Diana reportedly called the dogs the queen’s “moving carpet” because they accompanied her everywhere. She owned more than 30 corgis over the years. She also had two “dorgis” — crossbreeds of dachshund and corgi — named Candy and Vulcan. Elizabeth was photographed hugging one of the dogs as far back as 1936 at age 10 and was given a corgi named Susan for her 18th birthday. The breed was introduced to the royal family by her father, King George VI, in 1933, when he bought a male corgi called Dookie from a local kennel.
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9) The Queen also owns swans and dolphins in the British waters
As Queen, she also technically owned the thousands of mute swans in open British waters and had the right to claim all sturgeons, porpoises, whales, and dolphins, according to a statute from 1324.
10) The Beatles made a reference to Queen Elizabeth II in one of their songs!
The Queen inevitably became the subject of pop songs. The Beatles immortalized her with the tongue-in-cheek “Her Majesty,” calling her “a pretty nice girl” though “she doesn’t have a lot to say.” The brief song, sung by Paul McCartney and recorded in 1969, appeared at the end of the “Abbey Road” album.
Other musical treatments weren’t so kind. The Sex Pistols’ anti-monarchist ‘God Save The Queen’, released right before her Silver Jubilee in 1977, was banned on British television.