A few facts about Queen Elizabeth II in commemoration of her 88th birthday
1. The Queen was born at 2.40am on 21 April 1926 at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London.
2. The Queen is 5ft 4 inches or 160cm tall
3. Her Majesty doesn’t like spicy food.
4. Her official title after 1953 is Elizabeth II, By the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.
5. She is the only monarch in history who is properly trained to change a spark plug.
6. She has a passion for horses and Pembroke Welsh Corgis.
7. She is a fluent french and latin speaker.
8. The Queen is a keen photographer and enjoys taking photographs of her family.
9. She tends to wear brightly-colored dresses, as well as large hats, to stand out from the crowd she draws.
10. She was shot at by a teenager.
During her birthday celebration on June 13, 1981, shots rang out as Elizabeth rode her horse in a parade near Buckingham Palace. Marcus Sarjeant, a 17-year-old who idolized the assassins of John F. Kennedy and John Lennon, had fired six blank shots in the queen’s direction. Swiftly subdued by police, the teen would spend three years in a psychiatric prison. Elizabeth, meanwhile, merely calmed her startled horse and resumed her procession.
11. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip became secretly engaged in 1946 but waited to make the formal announcement until she turned 21 the following year.
12. The Queen is the first British monarch to have celebrated a Diamond Wedding Anniversary.
13. The Queen has earned more than 30 corgis during her reign.
14. She is not afraid to apply lipstick in public. She even told American First Lady, Laura Bush that is was “all right to do it”.
15. As hard as it is to believe, according to Sally Bedel Smith, Queen Elizabeth II owns a cellphone and she uses it solely to text her grandchildren.
16. The few times the Queen was seen crying in public was in 1977, when the royal yacht Britannia was decommissioned.
17. Queen Elizabeth II spoke to her mother everyday.
18. She owns one of the worlds largest collections of postage stamps.
19. In her youth, her favorite actors were Laurence Olivier, Gary Cooper and Dirk Bogarde.
20. Every morning, she starts the day with a cup of tea. At 7.30am the “morning tray” is brought into her bedroom laden with a silver teapot, a water jug and milk… as well as a plate of biscuits for her dogs.
21. A royal footman who poured whisky into the corgis’ water as a party trick was rewarded with a salary cut and a demotion.
22. According to Margaret Rhodes, the Queen’s cousin, HM’s alcohol intake never varies. She takes a gin and Dubonnet before lunch, with a slice of lemon and a lot of ice. She will take wine with lunch and a dry Martini and a glass of champagne in the evening. That comes to six units a day, which would make Her Majesty a binge drinker by Government standards.
23. On a state visit to Australia in 1954, during an argument with Prince Philip, the Queen was filmed “hurling shoes, threats and sporting equipment, and venting the sort of regal fury that, in another age, would have cost someone their head”, according to writer Robert Hardman. “I’m sorry for that little interlude,” she later said, “but, as you know, it happens in every marriage.”
24. The Queen’s robes were so heavy that at the start of her Coronation she asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to give her a push, saying “Get me started!”.
25. The Queen keeps a portable hook with a suction cup in her handbag so she can hang it discreetly under tables. She also carries good luck charms from her children in her bag, including miniature dogs and horses and family photos. One picture of Andrew was taken after his safe return from the Falklands.
26. She enjoys reading The Racing Post every day.
27. Famously reserved in public, the queen may be a regular cut-up in private, reportedly doing surprisingly skilled impressions.
28. An undercover British tabloid reporter managed to get work at Buckingham Palace in 2003, and said that the Queen used Tupperware containers to house her cornflakes. The revelation made headlines.
29. When the Queen gets tired of talking to someone during an official or informal visit, she spins her wedding ring or switches her ever present handbag from one arm to another. The Queen signals to staff with her handbag. If she wants to leave a dinner in five minutes, she puts her bag on the table. She moves it from arm to arm to tell aides she is tired of talking to someone.
30. An avid reader, she loves crime thrillers by PD James, Agatha Christie and Dick Francis.
31. The Queen sleeps in the same bed with her husband, The Duke of Edinburgh, when they don’t have to wake up early.
32. Elizabeth’s wedding gown, designed by Norman Hartnell, was inspired by the Botticelli painting “Primavera”.
33. The Queen performed her first official solo engagement at the age of 17 and was so nervous one of her mother’s ladies-in-waiting gave her a barley sugar sweet to calm her nerves.
34. The Queen is said to have been a big fan of the 1970s’ cop show “Kojak,” which starred Telly Savalas.
35. In 1991 a security guard denied the Queen entry to a private stand at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. He later said: “I thought she was some old dear who had got lost.”
36. When the Queen and Prince Philip were reunited in Portugal in 1957 after a four-month separation because of official duties, he wore a tie with hearts on it.
37. As a young girl, the Queen acted in a number of pantomimes during the Second World War including playing the part of Prince Florizel in “Cinderella” in 1941. These private performances took place every year in the Waterloo Chamber at Windsor Castle.
38. In November 2004, The Queen invited the cast of “Les Miserables” in the West End to perform for French President Jacques Chirac at Windsor Castle. It was the first time the cast of a West End musical had performed for a monarch at a Royal residence.