In her 70 year reign on the throne, the Queen has seen and done a lot.
As the monarch of the UK and one of the most famous people in the world, there’s plenty that she’s experienced, and a lot of interesting tidbits about her have been revealed to the public in that time.
We’ve put together a list of some fun and interesting facts about Queen Elizabeth II, some of which you may know, and others you may not.
She and her sister Margaret once partied in the streets of London
Normally of course the heir to the throne and her sister going out into London amongst crowds of people would not be allowed by the Palace, but if there’s one occasion that would be an exception, it’s the end of World War II- Victory in Europe Day saw huge celebrations in London, and the young Elizabeth convinced her father George to allow her to go out just for one night and take part in the historic event. Despite opposition from her mother, she and Margaret were granted their wish, and managed to remain incognito. The chapter in her life, which the Queen has called one of the most memorable moments she experienced was dramatised in the film A Royal Night Out (though there is some doubt as to how accurate it is)
Her favourite foods include scrambled eggs, salmon and a special chocolate biscuit dessert
The Queen has had to attend and host more banquets in her life than probably anyone alive today, and she’s got some foods she’s particularly fond of. Scrambled eggs and salmon are what she likes for breakfast on special occasions, though she normally has a bowl of Special K. Lunches she enjoys include cheese and tomato sandwiches, or alternatively fish or chicken if it’s a bigger meal. For a private dinner, she likes grilled fish and a salad. While the Queen is reported to eat quite strictly and simply (with Prince Phillip having had a stronger interest in new dishes), that doesn’t mean she doesn’t like to indulge herself occasionally- she’s very fond of a chocolate biscuit cake which she has made for her, and she’s apparently a fan of hamburgers- though she prefers them without a bun.
She likes tea- but not scones
Being the monarch of the UK, the Queen of course is a fan of tea, particularly enjoying an Earl Grey, and her favourite tea brand is Twinnings according to reports. She sometimes makes her own cups rather than getting someone else to do it, and has made cups of tea for builders working on renovations in the Palace. She’s not a fan of scones though, preferring to accompany tea with biscuits.
Oh, and the idea that royals stick out their pinky as they sip from a cup is apparently nonsense: “I have never seen that happen once” remarked the Queen’s personal butler Grant Harold.
Since ascending the throne, the Queen has had 14 prime ministers (with Harold Wilson holding the position twice) and seen 14 US presidents in office.
Since 1952, the Prime Ministers have been Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan, Alec Douglas-Home, Harold Wilson, Edward Heath, James Callahan, Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson.
In the same span, the Presidents have been Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden. She has met all of them while on the throne, save Lyndon B. Johnson and Harry Truman, who she met while she was still a princess.
She’s owned over 30 different corgis
The Queen is known for her association with the dog breed, and for good reason: she’s owned over 30 of them. She first owned a corgi, named Susan at 18 years old. She also introduced the Dorgi, a cross between a corgi and a dachshund. Corgis and dorgis aren’t the only dog breeds she’s owned: she has also kept a cocker-spaniel.
She immediately accepted her London 2012 Olympics appearance (and kept as a surprise for the rest of the family)
It’s hard to believe it’s already (almost) a decade since the 2012 Olympics, and the Opening Ceremony, which was viewed with low expectations in some circles of the press in the months beforehand, was a huge success. It had plenty of amazing moments, but one topped them all to become one of the most memorable moments in Olympic Ceremony history: The Queen appearing alongside James Bond (played by Daniel Craig) in a helicopter, and then “skydiving” into the stadium. While she of course didn’t actually jump, she was keen to appear in the short film and found the idea amusing- and she only agreed to it if she could speak as well. When asked if she would like to have a line in it, she replied “‘Of course I must say something. After all, he is coming to rescue me.” She was also asked if she wanted to say “Good evening, James” or “Good evening, Mr. Bond”, and having attended several Bond premieres in her time, chose the more faithful second option.
She’s worth a lot- but not the most in Britain
The Queen is thought to be worth around £400,000,000, which while a lot is pretty far from the richest person in the country. There’s also plenty she owns as sovereign on behalf of the nation, but not as her own private property. She also uses a private ATM within Buckingham Palace provided by prestigious bank Coutts.
She’s got an iPod (or two)
The Queen’s iPod was a matter of media speculation for several years following the Apple device’s release, and she was reported to own one in 2005. But she definitely did acquire one from Barack Obama, who gifted her a silver iPod classic upon visiting in 2009. The British press responded with anger at Obama’s gift which they saw as disrepectful, but the Queen is known to be a music fan, and has been a promoter of new technologies for decades. A photo of the Royal iPod also appeared several years later in the background of a photo of the Queen in Balmoral (see above), so it seems to get some use.
She has quite a broad taste in music
The Queen is interested in music from quite a range of genres. She likes plenty of classical music and traditional hymns, but she also enjoys a good show tune- with Oklahoma! being a particular favourite. She also listens to military music, Elton John, and The Beach Boys (California Girls is her fave). She also reportedly likes ABBA, and The Beatles: she was keen to embrace their music as an example of British influence in the world, giving each of them MBEs and both Paul and Ringo knighthoods. McCartney himself commented on the Queen’s level headedness: “She’s down to earth.”
The Queen also enjoys playing the piano, and singing.
She’s a fan of Wii Sports
People young and old became obsessed with the Nintendo Wii when it released in the mid 2000s, and while her Majesty probably wasn’t spending long nights playing Smash Bros or Donkey Kong, she did try her hand at Wii Sports, and apparently found the bowling mini game to be “thoroughly enjoyable.” The console was owned by William who was gifted it by Kate- and the palace was also sent a 24 karat gold Wii by game company THQ as a publicity stunt, though due to palace protocol the Queen never used it and it was eventually sold for charitable causes.
The Queen never went to school- but still did plenty of studying
Perhaps unsurprisingly the Queen never attended a formal school, but she was tutored at home by the best tutors at home. She didn’t just study “How to put a crown on”, but was taught about constitutional history and law by the vice provost of Eton College. She also took lessons in religion from the Archbishop of Canterbury.
She served in WWII
The royals have a long history of serving militarily as part of their public service, and the Queen is no exception, doing her part for the war effort. She was 13 when the war began in September 1939, and when she turned 18 in 1944 she was determined to join the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), which was the Women’s Branch of the British Army. She wasn’t given a special rank and instead worked her way up as a mechanic, and was by all accounts proficient in her role, much like her grandsons William and Harry in Afghanistan. Earlier in the war, she made broadcasts to boost the morale of children forced to evacuate Britain’s cities, and she, King George VI and her mother decided to stay put during the Blitz to show solidarity with the rest of the country, despite five high explosive bombs hitting Buckingham Palace during the early stages of Nazi Germany’s bombing campaign, which was seen as highly symbolic.
She’s made some pretty good quotes in her time
The Queen has made plenty of speeches and statements over the years, and several quotes have been attributed to her:
“When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future“- From her 2008 Christmas speech in the midst of the Financial Crisis
“It has always been easy to hate and destroy. To build and to cherish is much more difficult.”– From her 1957 Christmas speech
“If I am asked what I think about family life after 25 years of marriage, I can answer with equal simplicity and conviction, I am for it.”– On family and marriage
“If I wore beige, nobody would know who I am.”– On why she wears a colourful wardrobe
“Thank you for making me feel so old”– In response to Justin Trudeau toasting her long reign
“We must be seen to be believed“- On why royal tours and visits are important
“Grief is the price we pay for love”– From a message to New York following the 9/11 attacks