The Queen celebrates her 88th birthday on 21 April. To honour Her Majesty‘s big day, ! Online has gathered 25 fun facts about the popular British monarch that you may well not have known…
1. The Queen was born at 17 Bruton St, London W1 on April 21, 1926 and just four weeks later was christened on 29 May 1926 in the private chapel at Buckingham Palace.
2. She is the fortieth monarch since William the Conqueror obtained the crown of England.
3. Elizabeth II celebrates her birthday twice a year, her actual birthday on April 21, and her official birthday which takes place on a Saturday in June, with Trooping the Colour, which is attended by the whole Royal Family.
4. On February 6, 1952, the then Princess Elizabeth was in Kenya for an official visit when news broke of her father King George VI’s death, which meant she was now Queen. A year later on June 2, 1953, her Coronation took place with a service at Westminster Abbey, becoming the first Coronation to be televised.
5. Over the course of her reign, over 1.1 million people have attended Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace or at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
6. As one of the most hard-working royals, Her Majesty still attends hundreds of engagements each year and is patron of more than 620 charities and organisations.
7. In November, 1947, she married The Duke of Edinburgh at Westminster Abbey, which would become the same wedding venue for her grandson Prince William’s wedding to the Duchess of Cambridge in 2011. The royal couple went on to have four children, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.
8. The Queen’s wedding dress, which she paid for using coupons, was designed by Sir Norman Hartnell and was woven at Winterthur Silks Limited, Dunfermline, in the Canmore factory.
9. With the birth of Prince Andrew in 1960, Her Majesty became the first reigning Sovereign to have a child since 1857 when Queen Victoria welcomed her youngest child, Princess Beatrice.
10. The Queen, joined by Prince Philip, took part in the first ‘Royal walkabout’ during a visit to Australia and New Zealand in 1970. The monarch decided to introduce this so she and her husband could meet as many people as possible, and ever since it has been a royal tradition followed by the family.
11. In 1974, during a tour of Australia and Indonesia, The Queen had to return home when a general election was called suddenly.
12. The Queen became the first British King or Queen to visit China in 1986.
13. Always one to champion new technology, The Queen sent her first email in 1976 from an Army base.
14. The Royal Family’s matriarch has visited the sets of many British soaps including Coronation Street, EastEnders and Emmerdale.
15. She celebrated both her Golden Jubilee in 2002 and her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 by visiting cities and towns across the United Kingdom.
16. At the time of her birth, it was not expected she would be Queen as her father was not expected to become King, however after King Edward VIII’s abdication, and her father’s new position as King, she became first-in-line.
17. She became the first member of the Royal Family to be awarded a gold disc after selling 100,000 copies of the CD of the Party at the Palace.
18. The Queen was amongst the first to offer congratulations when astronauts landed on the moon in 1969, saying: “On behalf of the British people I salute the skill and courage which have brought Man to the moon. May this increase the knowledge and well-being of mankind.”
19. The Queen’s official Facebook page “The British Monarchy” has racked up over 1.1 million likes.
20. Her full title as Queen is “Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, 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”.
21. Technically the Queen still owns the sturgeons, whales and dolphins in the waters around the UK.
22. As a young Princess, the Queen acted in a number of Pantomimes during World War Two including playing the part of Prince Florizel in Cinderella in 1941.
23. The monarch usually spends her actual birthday in April privately. However the occasion is marked publicly by gun salutes in Central London at midday. This includes 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.
24. She is famously a lover of corgis, and has had more than 30 of the dogs during her reign. She was given her first corgi ‘Susan’ as a present for her 18th birthday in 1944.
25. The Queen learnt to drive in 1945 when she joined the Army.