Essential facts about Her Majesty

With HRH's big 9-0 around the corner, some swotting up on the lady herself could be in order. Prepare to do brilliantly in any pub quiz round on royalty 

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Elizabeth the trailblazer

HRH is the only person in Britain allowed to drive without a licence or number plate on her official car. She learned how to drive upon joining the women's branch of the British Army in 1945. 

The Queen took a car-maintenance course during World War II. Apparently, she's the only British monarch ever trained to change a spark plug.

She hosted 'Women of Achievement', Buckingham Palace's first women-only event, in 2004. 

Putting the great in Great Britain

In 1976, the Queen became the first monarch to send an email. She joined Twitter in 2009, but doesn't write her own tweets.  She jumped on the Facebook bandwagon in November 2010, with a page called The British Monarchy. It isn't possible to 'poke' her.

The first time she visited a mosque in the UK was in 2002, in Scunthorpe.

Elizabeth II is Britain's longest reigning monarch - 64 years so far, just ahead of her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria (63 years).

She was the first (and as far as we know, only) monarch to parachute out of a helicopter with James Bond, which she did at the London 2012 Olympics.

Bad times

She once demoted her footman for sharing his tipple with her corgis. Apparently whisky wasn't appropriate.

1992 was the Queen's self-pronounced 'annus horribilis' (no laughing - it was a 'horrible year'); there was a fire in Windsor Castle, and three of her children's marriages - Prince Charles's, Princess Anne's and Prince Andrew's - broke down.

Animal instincts 

One of Elizabeth’s corgis once had some fun with a dachshund called Pipkin, belonging to Princess Margaret. The outcome was a dorgi - a new breed of dog introduced by the Queen herself.

People like to gift the Queen live animals: jaguars, sloths, beavers and a bull elephant called Jumbo from the President of Cameroon have been among the highlights. She also once received a box of snail shells. 

Queenly correspondence

She has received more than 3.5 million items of correspondence over her reign. We’d like to know if one single gold, diamond-encrusted letter opener has opened them all… 

The Queen and Prince Philip have sent over 37,500 Christmas cards during her reign.

She has four children, eight grandchildren, five great grandchildren and 30 godchildren; that's a lot of birthdays to remember. 

Fun loving lady

HRH is perhaps the hippest member of the royal family; her Party at the Palace CD sold 100,000 copies in its first week of release, and she was awarded a gold disk from the recording industry.

Dun, dun, dun dun dun dun dun dun... Our monarch has visited the set of Eastenders (and Coronation Street, and Emmerdale). 

Mysterious girl

In all her 90 years, the Queen has never given an interview. 

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Last updated: over 1 year ago