Her majesty by the numbers

Royal fans, rejoice! we’ve assembled some fascinating facts to mark Queen Elizabeth’s major milestone.

If you’re a royalist, you’ll know much about our marvellous monarch already.

You’ll know she named herself Lilibet as a youngster, has always loved animals and ascended the throne after the death of her father, aged just 25.

But although she and her story are so familiar to those living within her Commonweath, there are still many surprises when it comes to Her Majesty.

She never fails to delight and amaze, even as she enters her 10th decade. In honour of her milestone 90th birthday, on April 21, here are 90 facts about our Queen.

1.Elizabeth II became Britain’s longest reigning monarch on September 9, 2015, after 63 years and seven months on the throne.

2.The Queen is the 40th monarch of England since William the Conqueror.

3.The first royal walkabouts, held so the public could get a closer glimpse of her, took place in New Zealand and Australia in 1970.

4.The Queen is known to be a keen photographer.

5.She has opened British Parliament every year during her reign, apart from in 1959 and 1963 when she was pregnant with Andrew and Edward.

6.The Imperial State Crown, worn at the State Opening of Parliament, has 2868 diamonds.

7.She can change a tyre or a spark plug, thanks to training she received during the war.

8.In Papua New Guinea, she’s known as Missis Kwin, which means “Mama belong big family”.

9.She has visited the sets of TV shows Coronation Street, EastEnders and Game of Thrones.

10.Last year, the royal household cost $83m to run.

11.The Queen was 14 when she gave her first radio broadcast.

12.Her breakfast table is laid with cornflakes and porridge oats in plastic containers, yoghurt and two kinds of marmalade.

13.When intruder Michael Fagan got into her bedroom in 1982, she persuaded him to go with her to the corridor by promising to find him a cigarette.

14.An armed police officer is now stationed outside her bedroom at night and has to wear slippers instead of shoes so his or her footsteps won’t wake the Queen.

15.The Queen is the patron of more than 600 charities and organisations.

16.The Queen volunteered to appear in the James Bond spoof clip for the opening of the London Olympic Games.

17.With a net worth of around $712m, the Queen is the 302nd richest person in the UK.

18.As a teenager, she took part in pantomimes at Windsor Castle.

19.Britain’s 5000 pairs of mute swans are officially the property of the Queen.

20.All whales, dolphins, porpoises and sturgeon in the water around the UK also belong to the Queen.

21.There have been 12 UK Prime Ministers in office since Elizabeth has been Queen – and 15 New Zealand ones.

22.There have been 12 US Presidents during her reign.

23.Tony Blair was the first British Prime Minister to be born during the Queen’s reign.

24.There have been seven Archbishops of Canterbury during the Queen’s reign and also seven popes.

25.Her Majesty didn’t go to school – she was educated by her governess Marion “Crawfie” Crawford.

26.The Queen sent her first electronic message (known now as email) in 1976.

27.At the G20 summit in 2009, when Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi yelled, “Mr Obama!” at the US President, the unimpressed Queen snapped, “Why does he have to shout?”

28.The Queen learned to drive in 1945 but does not have to have a driving licence or number plates on any car she drives.

29.When the Queen drove King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia around the Balmoral estate, he was so nervous he asked her to slow down.

30.The Queen is a fan of English football team Arsenal.

31.When the Queen went to see Andy Murray play at Wimbledon in 2010, it was the first time she had been there in 33 years.

32.Former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating was nicknamed the “Lizard of Oz” after he put his arm around the Queen.

33.Her Majesty has sat through 37 Royal Variety performances.

34.The Queen is an avid reader and particularly likes crime thrillers. Favourite authors include P.D. James and Agatha Christie.

35.Her favourite TV shows have included Dad’s Army, Keeping up Appearances, Last of the Summer Wine and The X Factor.

36.According to Margaret Rhodes, the Queen’s cousin, the monarch’s daily alcohol intake consists of a gin and Dubonnet (a French aperitif) before lunch, wine with lunch, and a dry Martini and a glass of Champagne in the evening.

37.On a state visit to Australia in 1954, the Queen was filmed throwing shoes at Prince Philip during an argument. She told the film crew, “I’m sorry for that little interlude, but as you know, it happens in every marriage.”

38.As a child, she was a Girl Guide and a Sea Ranger.

39.The Queen and Prince Philip brought their eldest children Charles and Anne to New Zealand for the first time in 1970.

40.The first foreign tour of Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee year was to New Zealand, Australia and Jamaica.

41.The Trooping the Colour ceremony has only been cancelled once, thanks to a national rail strike in 1955.

42.Her wedding cake was made using ingredients supplied by the Australian Girl Guides Association.

43.The Queen had her first riding lesson at three and got her first pony, Peggy, when she was four.

44.Her Majesty’s message of congratulations to the Apollo 11 astronauts after the moon landing in 1969 was microfilmed, put in a metal container and left on the moon.

45.Prince William says the Queen gets the giggles over his Ali G impersonations.

46.The Queen and her daughter-in-law Sophie, Countess of Wessex have a shared love of military history.

47.When the Queen goes on official engagements, a brown bag containing extra shoes, stockings, gloves and other essentials goes with her.

48.Although the Queen was born on April 21, her birthday is celebrated in June. This is so Trooping the Colour can be held in summer.

49.Elizabeth first had her portrait painted when she was seven.

50.There is a hologram portrait of the Queen made up of 10,000 images of her, giving it a 3D effect.

51.At least 1.5 million people have attended royal garden parties since Elizabeth became Queen.

52.The Queen was the first monarch to open Buckingham Palace to the public. She needed the money to repair fire damage to Windsor Castle.

53.She’s the second British monarch to celebrate a diamond jubilee after Queen Victoria.

54.Her Majesty has 30 godchildren.

55.In May 2011, she became the first British monarch to visit the Republic of Ireland since the creation of the Irish state in 1922.

56.Unusual gifts she has been given include two sloths from Brazil.

57.The Queen and her family were the first royals to appear in their own TV documentary, The Royal Family.

58.The Queen has given a Christmas speech every year, apart from in 1969 when a repeat of The Royal Family was shown.

59.In an average year, she hosts more than 50,000 people at banquets, receptions and garden parties.

60.The Queen has owned more than 30 corgis during her reign. All of them are descended from Susan, the corgi who was an 18th birthday gift from her father.

61.A footman who poured whisky in the corgis’ water bowl was demoted.

62.The Queen created the “dorgi” by crossing a corgi with a dachshund.

63.In 1953, her Christmas radio broadcast was made live from New Zealand while she was on tour here.

64.The St Edward crown she wore for her coronation weighed 2.25kg.

65.The Queen has sat for at least 129 portraits.

66.She has owned a number of dorgies, including Tinker, Pickles, Chipper, Piper, Harris, Brandy, Berry, Cider, Candy and Vulcan.

67.The Queen joined Facebook in 2010. It is not possible to “poke” her.

68.Her Majesty was the first British monarch to celebrate her 60th wedding anniversary.

69.In 1986, she became the first British monarch to visit China.

70.Her first overseas state visit as Princess Elizabeth was to South Africa in 1947.

71.Rules on board the Royal Train include no going over bumpy tracks while Her Majesty is having her bath at 7.30am.

72.In 2004, the cast from the music Les Misérables was invited to perform at Windsor Castle.

73.The Queen took legal action against The Sun newspaper in 1992 after it published details of her Christmas broadcast before transmission. She donated the $418,000 payout to charity.

74.Her Majesty speaks fluent French.

75.She described 1992 as her “annus horribilus” after the marriages of her children Charles, Andrew and Anne ended, and Windsor Castle was damaged by fire.

76.Princess Elizabeth was appointed the head of the Grenadier Guards when she was only 15, making her the youngest ever Colonel-in-Chief of a British regiment.

77.She never sings God Save the Queen.

78.Her Majesty is known for being frugal – if she is feeling chilly at home, she puts on extra clothing rather than turning up the heating.

79.Prince William once said of her, “As I learned from growing up, you don’t mess with your grandmother.”

80.If palace officials describe Her Majesty as being “less than pleased”, it means she is absolutely furious.

81.Newspapers published lists of every present young Princess Elizabeth received for her birthdays.

82.The Queen’s children still call her “Mummy”.

83.The Queen doesn’t need a passport.

84.When actress Sheila Hancock accidentally stood on a corgi during a reception at Buckingham Palace, the Queen told her, “It’s [the dog’s] own fault for being the same colour as the carpet.”

85.When she’s at home, the Queen often has a pocket full of dog biscuits for her corgis.

86.When she and Philip lived in Malta shortly after marrying, they’d sit in the back row of the local cinema holding hands.

87.Her Majesty’s favourite flower is the fragrant lily of the valley.

88.During a visit to the White House in 1976, she encountered President Gerald Ford’s shirtless son in a corridor. Betty Ford apologised profusely but Her Majesty said, “Don’t worry, we have one just like him at home.”

89.When she hosts lunches at Buckingham Palace, she hangs her handbag on a hook hidden under the table.

90.The Queen prefers to wear bright colours during official engagements because, as she once said herself, “I have to be seen to be believed.”

Related stories

Get NZ Woman’s Weekly home delivered!  

Subscribe and save up to 29% on a magazine subscription.