Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Queen Elizabeth II Might Possibly Be The Coolest Person Ever

Succeeding her father, King George VI (the subject of the excellent film, The King's Speech) Her Royal Highness the Princess Elizabeth was proclaimed Queen of England in 1952. Her coronation took place on 2 June 1953.

The Queen recently celebrated her Diamond Jubilee which commemorated Her Majesty's 60th year on the throne.

Some interesting facts about Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain which shows me she just might be the coolest person of all time:
  • 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!”.

  • The Queen keeps a portable hook with a suction cup in her handbag so she can hang it discreetly under tables. 

  • In July 1982 unemployed father of four Michael Fagan climbed up a drain-pipe and into the Queen’s bedroom at Buckingham Palace. He sat on her bed for about 10 minutes as she engaged him in conversation and calmly called for her footman when he asked for a cigarette. Mr. Fagan tells a slightly different version of the story in a recent interview here. Fagan actually broke into the Palace twice!
  • She takes a keen interest in horses and racing. Her first pony, a Shetland called Peggy, was given to her by her grandfather King George VI when she was 4 years old. Elizabeth continues to ride at Sandringham, Balmoral and Windsor. The Queen also takes interest in horse breeding. Horses bred at the royal studs over the past 200 years have won virtually every major race in Britain. Elizabeth has about 25 horses in training each season.
  • Famously reserved in public, the queen may be a regular cut-up in private, reportedly doing surprisingly skilled impressions. But exactly whom she mimics is any commoner's guess -- her inner circle isn't telling.

  • The queen wakes to the sound of her personal bagpiper every morning.

  • 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.

  • She speaks fluent French and often uses the language for audiences and state visits. She does not require an interpreter.

  • In addition to being fluent in French— The Queen also speaks Latin on occasion. During an address in late 1992, she referred to the preceding twelve months as an “annus horribilis,” a horrible year. Two of her children—Andrew and Anne—got divorced; Charles and Diana separated;  and Windsor Castle suffered severe fire damage. 

  • The Queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, introduced small, informal luncheon parties at Buckingham Palace to meet distinguished people from all professions, trades and vocations. The first was held on May 11, 1956, and the tradition continues to this day. There are usually six to eight guests and two members of the royal household in attendance.

  • The Queen is the only person in Britain who can drive without a license or number plate on her state car.
  • Every year she sends Christmas trees to Westminster Abbey, Wellington Barracks, St. Paul's Cathedral in London, St. Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh, the Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, Crathie Kirk and local schools and churches in the Sandringham area of England.

  • Elizabeth learned to drive in 1945, when she joined the women's branch of the British army. Both she and Winston Churchill's daughter were members of the group, which was called the Auxiliary Territorial Service.

  • She was a Girl Guide (1937), a Scouting movement for girls and a Sea Ranger (1943), a section of the Girl Guides focused on sailing.

  • She drove a truck during World War II. After months of begging her father to let his heir pitch in, Elizabeth—then an 18-year-old princess—joined the Women’s Auxiliary TerritorialService during World War II. Known as Second Subaltern Elizabeth Windsor, she donned a pair of coveralls and trained in London as a mechanic and military truck driver. The queen remains the only female member of the royal family to have entered the armed forces and is the only living head of state who served in World War II.

  • The queen knows more about motor vehicles than just how to drive them; she learned how to fix truck engines during World War II as a member of the Auxiliary Territorial Service, the women's branch of the British army.

  • She sent an email in 1976. On March 26, 1976, Queen Elizabeth sent her first email while taking part in a network technology demonstration at the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment, a research facility in Malvern, England. The message was transmitted over ARPANET, the forerunner of the modern Internet. She is considered the first head of state to have used electronic mail.

  • 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. MarcusSarjeant, 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.
  • She made her first public address at the age of 14, on The Children’s Hour, a BBC radio broadcast. (The entire speech is in the video below) It was 1940, one of the most devastating years of World War II, and the young princess emphasized the necessity of hope:   "We are trying to do all we can to help our gallant sailors, soldiers and airmen, and we are trying, too, to bear our share of the danger and sadness of war. We know, every one of us, that in the end all will be well." she said.   

  • 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.

  • Many people sent the then-Princess Elizabeth clothing coupons for her wedding dress during post-war rationing in 1947. She returned the coupons as it was illegal to give them away.

  • She 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.

  • The Queen put on a mining outfit and went 500ft underground at Rothes Colliery in 1958. 

  • The only year she did not deliver a Christmas message was 1969. She felt the public had seen enough of her in a TV documentary. 
  • An avid reader, she loves crime thrillers by PD James, Agatha Christie and Dick Francis. 

  • She laughed when she shook hands with shot-put champion Geoff Capes at the Braemar Highland Games in 1982 and their hands stuck together because of the resin he used for his grip. 

  • After a Royal Command performance comedian Tommy Cooper asked her: “Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?” “No,” replied the Queen, “but I might not be able to give you a full answer.” “Do you like football?” asked Cooper. “Well, not really,” said the Queen. “In that case,” said Cooper, “do you mind if I have your Cup Final tickets?’” Mr. Cooper actually died on stage during a live performance in 1984.

  • “She has an air of authority and reflectiveness astonishing in an infant,” remarked Winston Churchill, when Elizabeth was just two.

  • When her father unexpectedly became King, Princess Margaret, then six, said to her: “Does that mean you’re going to be queen? Poor you.”

Long live the Queen!

1 comment:

  1. Queen Elizabeth is the only girl who joined British army and the facts to know about Queen Elizabeth II she learned how to fix a truck engine during word war 2.