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Some interesting facts about Queen Elizabeth II

Some interesting facts about Queen Elizabeth II

Some interesting facts about Queen Elizabeth II

Some interesting facts about Queen Elizabeth II
First of all, nobody expected Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor to be a monarch. Born April 21, 1926, she was the first child of Prince Albert and his wife, Elizabeth. Her father, the Duke of York, was “spare” to George V’s heir, Prince Edward, which made Princess Elizabeth third in line to the throne. But when King Edward VIII abdicated in 1936, Albert ascended as George VI, and she became the heiress presumptive. Sixteen years later, on Feb. 6, 1952, while on a tour of Kenya, she received the news of her father’s death and at age 25 became head of the commonwealth. Asked what royal name she would like to choose, the young queen replied, “Elizabeth, of course!

July 5, 1937, Elizabeth, a young princess, chats to Lord Elphinstone during a royal inspection of the Royal Company of Archers at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh

July 5, 1937, Elizabeth, a young princess, chats to Lord Elphinstone during a royal inspection of the Royal Company of Archers at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh. To the right is King George VI of England, and in the center, with Elizabeth, his other daughter, Princess Margaret

Meanwhile, one of the advantages of being queen is that you get to double up on the birthdays. In fact, the queen celebrates two birthdays each year. First, her actual birthday on April 21 and her official birthday on a Saturday in June. Noteworthy, the queen usually spends her actual birthday privately. However, the gun salutes in central London at midday mark the occasion: a 41-gun salute in Hyde Park, a 21-gun salute in Windsor Great Park, and a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London. And on her official birthday, other members of the royal family join Her Majesty at the spectacular Trooping the Color parade in London. The parade moves between Buckingham Palace, the Mall, and Horseguards’ Parade.

The coronation took place in Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953. It was a solemn ceremony conducted by Dr. Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury. The coronation – followed by drives through every part of London, a review of the fleet at Spithead, and visits to Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

Elizabeth had first met Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark when she was eight years old. Five years later, in 1939, they encountered each other again, and it was love at second sight. The pair began exchanging letters, and in 1946, they were secretly engaged. Interestingly, on her wedding day, Nov. 20, 1947, the 21-year-old princess couldn’t find her bouquet, and her tiara snapped.

With the birth of Prince Andrew in 1960, the queen became the first reigning sovereign to give birth to a child since Queen Victoria (her youngest child, Princess Beatrice, born in 1857). And now she has eight grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Called “Waity Katie,” Kate Middleton is close to Queen Elizabeth, whose father was a waiter too. Prince Albert proposed to Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon twice before she finally accepted. Because, according to her official biographer, William Shawcross, she was reluctant “to enter the golden cage of the monarchy.” Finally married at Westminster Abbey on April 26, 1923, their union broke with tradition, as Elizabeth was technically a commoner. Upon her husband’s death in 1952, she officially became known as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Or, simply, “Queen Mum” — to avoid confusion with her daughter. When she passed away at age 101 in 2002, the Queen Mother was the most beloved member of the royal family.

Queen Elizabeth has long had a signature look—a pastel suit or dress, a matching hat, sensible pumps, gloves, and a handbag with accessories. They included simply a scarf, a pearl necklace, and perhaps, a brooch. As befits a British monarch, she has always favored her country’s designers. And most notably couturier Norman Hartnell, who made her wedding gown and coronation dress. In addition, Hardy Amies, the Savile Row tailor who created her day wardrobe for decades. Although her majesty has always dressed very properly, Amies admitted in his autobiography that during the 60s, he pushed her fashion limits—a little. “We succeeded in persuading the queen to wear quite short dresses, but the queen always made the final decision. In particular, after she had seen the effect of the skirt sitting down, knowing that she would often be seen on platforms, getting in and out of motor cars. Not to mention aeroplanes and yachts.”

Prince Philip has accompanied the queen on all her Commonwealth tours and state visits, as well as on public engagements in all parts of the U.K. The first of these was the coronation tour of the commonwealth from November 1953 to May 1954, when the couple visited Bermuda, Jamaica, Panama, Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, Cocos Islands, Ceylon, Aden, Uganda, Libya, Malta, and Gibraltar, traveling a distance of 43,618 miles.

Her eldest, Charles, is the Prince of Wales and the heir to her crown. Now 62, if he ascends the throne after Sept. 18, 2013, he will become the oldest British monarch to do so. Elizabeth’s only daughter, Anne, the princess royal, was born two years after Charles. An accomplished equestrian, she is the only member of the royal family to have competed in the Olympics. Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, was second in the line of succession when he was born in 1960, but he is now fourth, behind William and Harry. Her youngest son, Prince Edward, is known as the Earl of Wessex, breaking with the tradition that a monarch’s son is named a duke. Three of her four children are divorced.

To date, she has owned more than 30 corgis—many of which were from Susan, her 18th-birthday gift—but recently she said she would stop breeding them. In addition, her majesty is an avid equestrian who enjoys horse racing. (She and Ronald Reagan went riding when he visited Windsor Castle in 1982.) When it comes to her football, Elizabeth has been a lifelong fan of Arsenal. In addition, she maintains one of the world’s finest stamp collections—which is probably considerably more fun when your portrait appears on them.

Just how much money does the queen have? Not as much as you might think. In Forbes’ 2009 list of the world’s richest royals, the magazine estimated Elizabeth’s net worth at $450 million. However, her majesty is the world’s largest landowner and has valuable personal art and stamp collections. But technically speaking, Buckingham Palace, the crown jewels, and the royal art collection belong to the British people. And even the queen tightened her belt during tough economic times—she cut the palace’s budget in 2010 from $62.8 million to $57.8 million and also said ta-ta to her helicopter.

Prince William may be the future king of England. And the queen’s favorite grandchildren are reportedly Princess Anne’s son, Peter Phillips, and his sister, Zara. In addition to being Elizabeth’s first grandchild, 33-year-old Peter also gave the queen her first great-grandchild in December 2010. Her majesty’s other grandchildren are Prince Andrew’s daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie; Prince Edward’s children, Louise and James; and, of course, William’s best man, Prince Harry.

While Elizabeth’s own marriage has lasted six decades, her children have been less lucky in love. And it can’t be easy having a queen for a mother-in-law. By many accounts, Prince Edward’s wife, Sophie Rhys-Jones, is her favorite daughter-in-law, but consider the competition. The queen had such complicated relationships with Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson that when each woman divorced her sons, she stripped them of “her royal highness” status. (Princess Anne’s husband, Mark Phillips, was offered a title when they married, but he declined.) And when Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005, the queen did not attend the civil ceremony.

In November 1992 the queen gave a memorable speech in which she described the previous year as an “annus horribilis.” How awful was it for her? Among other things, Prince Andrew separated from Sarah Ferguson, Princess Anne and Mark Phillips divorced, Princess Diana’s tell-all memoir was published—and then there was a devastating fire at Windsor Castle. But Elizabeth remained unbowed in her attitude, saying, “A well-meaning bishop was obviously doing his best when he told Queen Victoria, ‘Ma’am, we cannot pray too often, nor too fervently, for the royal family.’ The queen’s reply was, ‘Too fervently, no; too often, yes.

The marriage of the second in line to the British throne was led by the Archbishop of Canterbury and was attended by 1900 guests, including foreign royal family members and heads of state. Thousands of well-wishers from around the world also flocked to London to witness the spectacle and pageantry of the royal wedding. An heir is eagerly awaited.

And should Elizabeth still be on the throne on Sept. 11, 2015, she will eclipse Queen Victoria, who wore the crown for an astonishing 63 years and 216 days.

Helen Mirren won an Academy Award for best actress in the title role of 2006’s The Queen, which chronicled the aftermath of Diana’s death in 1997. And while Freya Wilson had only a minor role as Princess Elizabeth in The King’s Speech, her majesty was said to be “moved” by the Oscar-winning film, which depicted her parents (played by Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter) and their struggles to overcome George VI’s speech impediment. Alas, portraying the queen in The Naked Gun, National Lampoon’s European Vacation, and Austin Powers in Goldmember never brought Oscar gold to look-alike actress Jeannette Charles.

Some interesting facts about Queen Elizabeth II

Some interesting facts about Queen Elizabeth II

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