History & Culture
93 Facts to Celebrate Monarch's Birthday!
Queen Elizabeth celebrates her birthday twice a year as head of state. Her official birthday is celebrated in June, which always includes a public parade called Trooping the Colour. But her real birthday is April 21.
Here is a look back at the Queen’s life in 93 facts.
Little known facts
1. There are 237 streets with the word Elizabeth in them in honour of the Queen, compared with only 153 streets named after Victoria.
2. The place she was born in London is now a Chinese restaurant.
3. She is a descendant of the House of Windsor, but this was known as the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha before World War One.
4. She has been a fan of Corgi dogs since being given her first at the age of 18 in 1944, which she called Susan.
5. Since then, the Queen has owned more than 30 Corgis.
6. Contrary to popular belief, the Queen does not own all the swans in the UK. She actually only owns one type of Swan, called the mute swan. They live in certain parts of the River Thames.
7. However, she does own all the whales and dolphins in the waters around the UK.
8. The first football match the Queen went to was in 1953, when she watched Blackpool beat Bolton Wanderers 4-3.
9. The royal chefs always avoid cooking meals with onions or garlic, as the Queen does not enjoy the taste of either.
10. The Queen is around 5ft 4ins
11. The Queen also loves Scottish country dancing and holds balls every years for her neighbours estate and castle staff in Balmoral, along with people in the community.
12. Not many people know the Queen sent her first email in 1976 from a computer at a British Army base.
13. She also sent her first tweet when she visited the Science Museum in 2014. The tweet from the @BritishMonarchy account said: “It is a pleasure to open the information age exhibition today at the @ScienceMuseum and I hope will enjoy visiting. Elizabeth R.”
14. The Queen was involved in the London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony. A stunt double jumped out of a plane in a James Bond sketch, before the real Queen then found her seat in the audience.
15. The Queen also holds a world record for her portrait being on currency in more than 35 different countries.
16. The Queen’s full name is Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor
17. She was born at 17 Bruton Street in London, on April 21 1926.
18. Elizabeth’s parents were Prince Albert, Duke of York and his wife Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. Her father later became King George VI.
19. Her grandfather King George V ruled from 1910 to 1936.
20. Elizabeth lived in Piccadilly in London with her family during the first few years of her life.
21. Her family nicknamed her Lilibet when she was a child.
22. Elizabeth was christened on May 29, 1926 in the private chapel in Buckingham Palace.
23. She was given her first pony for her fourth birthday.
24. She was described by her cousin Margaret Rhodes as a “jolly little girl, but fundamentally sensible and well behaved”.
25. She had a younger sister called Margaret Rose, who was born in 1930.
26. Some of the sisters’ favourites hobbies were reading and playing games with their parents.
27. The two girls also enjoyed playing the piano, as well as dressing up for plays. Once they performed the pantomime Cinderella, with Elizabeth playing Prince Charming.
28. The reason Elizabeth did not live at Buckingham Palace as a child was because she was never meant to be first in line to the throne.
29. She also didn’t go to school as she was taught at home with a governess called Marion Crawford, along with other teachers.
30. Princess Elizabeth had her first meeting with her future husband Philip Mountbatten, also known as Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, when she was at a wedding at the age of eight in 1934.
31. Her family moved to Buckingham Palace in 1937, when her father was crowned at Westminster Abbey.
32. His older brother Edward was supposed to become king after King George V died in January 1936.
33. But Edward turned down the job as he chose love over sovereignty and this meant Elizabeth was now first in line to the throne.
34. Elizabeth was 13 years old when World War One broke out in 1945 and 19 when it ended.
35. She was not evacuated along with many other children in the UK.
36. Elizabeth and Margaret stayed at Windsor Castle for five years instead.
37. To stay safe, the windows of the castle were blocked with sandbags and the lights were dimmed.
38. But their parents still lived at Buckingham Palace, as they had promised the country they would do so.
39. The palace was bombed during the blitz of 1940 and 1941.
40. Rather than leave, the princesses’ mother learned how to use a weapon instead.
41. Elizabeth also spent her teenage years preparing for royal duties and even gave her first speech when she was 14 in 1940.
42. Her speech was for children who had been evacuated from the UK and included her hope they were safe.
43. When the war finally ended, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret were able to go back to Buckingham Palace.
44. After the war ended, Elizabeth also leant to drive. She is the only person able to drive without needed a driving licence.
45. She became engaged to Prince Philip and the announcement came when she was 21. They got married on November 20 1947 in Westminster Abbey.
46. Her dress was paid for by ration tokens from the war.
47. The happy couple were given 2,500 wedding presents from royal fans all over the world, along with 10,000 telegrams wishing them congratulations.
48. At the age of 25, her father died. This meant she was about to become Queen.
49. Elizabeth found out the sad news while she was in Africa and apparently her secretary had been carried around paperwork in case this happened, as King George’s health had not been good for a while.
50. The Queen was amended to the February 6, 1952 and her coronation was just over a year later on June 2, 1953 in Westminster Abbey.
51. Queen Elizabeth II was the 39th monarch to be crowned at Westminster Abbey.
52. More than 8,251 people were present in the abbey to watch the three hour service.
53. Elizabeth’s dress for her coronation was made a by British fashion designer Norman Hartnell. The dress was made out of white satin and had the symbols of the UK and the Commonwealth embroidered in to it with gold and silver thread. The Queen has also worn the dress six times since her coronation.
54. The popular British dish coronation chicken was aptly served when the Queen was crowned. The dish was created specially for the occasion for overseas guests.
55. The dish was created by Constance Spry, who was a florist.
56. The Queen is the longest serving monarch ever.
57. The Queen is also the world’s oldest monarch and has even beat her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria, who died when she was 81.
58. Similarly, she is also the world’s longest reigning female monarch.
59. Some of the Queen’s titles include Head of State, head of the Nation, Head of the Commonwealth, Head of the Armed Forces, as well as Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
60. She has to remain neutral on political matters as Head of State.
61. The Queen is also not allowed to vote or stand for election.
62. She has travelled to more than 116 countries around the world during her reign.
63. The Queen’s first royal tour started on November 24, in 1953. She went to Canada, Bermuda, Jamaica, Panama, Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, the Cocos Islands, Ceylon, Aden, Uganda, Libya, Malta and Gibraltar.
64. The Queen often is given presents during her duties. Some of the gifts have included horses but once in 1972, she was given two tortoises. Later that same year, the President of Cameroon gave her a seven-year-old bull elephant called Jumbo.
65. The Queen created the royal “walkabout”, which involves meeting local people in the places she travels to. Many royal have followed her lead in this tradition over the years.
66. The Queen also opens Parliament every year. The only times she has missed this was in 1959 and 1963, when she was expecting her two children Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.
67. The Queen has ties with more than 600 charities and organisations.
68. She has always had a charitable side and said during a speech at the Cenotaph war memorial in 2014: “The true measure of all our actions is how long the good in them lasts… everything we do, we do fro the young.”
Day to day life
69. The Queen has seen 13 British Prime Ministers come and go.
70. The Queen is considered one of the most famous people in the world.
71. She also received about 60,000 letters and messages every year.
72. The Royal Family’s official website said: “The Queen is shown almost all of her correspondence on a daily basis by one of her private secretaries, and she takes a keen interest in the letters she receives.".
73. She is said to spend a massive amount of time at her desk reading through the enormous amount of paperwork she receives.
74. The Queen lives at Buckingham Palace during the week.
75. But she goes to Windsor Castle most weekends.
76. The reason for this has been explained by Royal expert Christopher Warwick: “It was a place that was very much home to the Queen and to her sister for a very long time [during the war] and that cemented the emotions and attachment that she has to a place she loves dearly."
77. A huge fire broke out at the castle in 1992 and repairs cost the Queen nearly £40 million.
78. Summers are spent at Balmoral Castle, in Scotland, while Christmas is a time for the Queen to visit her Sandringham Estate in Norfolk.
79. The Queen has four children, as well as eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
80. She will soon have another when Meghan Markle gives birth to Prince Harry’s child this month.
81. The Queen is also godmother to 30 people.
82. The Queen has reduced the number of duties she carries out now and Prince Philip has retired altogether.
83. They were the first couple in the Royal Family to celebrate their Diamond Wedding anniversary in 2007, after tying the knot 60 years earlier.
84. She once described her husband as “quite simply, my strength and stay all these years.”
85. Now younger members of the Royal Family help out the Queen with public engagements.
The Christmas message
86. Since becoming Queen, she has always addressed the nation in a televised message every year.
87. There has only been one year when the Christmas message wasn’t broadcast.
88. This was in 1969 as a documentary had been scheduled instead and so she had to give a written statement instead.
89. The Christmas message also stopped being broadcast live in 1960.
90. This is to help show the message at convenient times for other counties in the Commonwealth.
91. The Christmas message was first broadcast in 3D in 2012.
92. The first Christmas message was delivered by Elizabeth’s father in 1932.
93. The message is watched by millions of people across the Commonwealth every year.