Amazing facts you didn’t know about the late Queen Elizabeth II

We uncover what you probably didn't know about Europe's longest-reigning monarch before she died.
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Queen Elizabeth II has died peacefully at Balmoral aged 96 – and now we are remembering all the stories about Europe’s longest-reigning monarch.

She was Queen for 70 years and lived a life at the centre of the public eye.

Over the past seven decades the 96-year-old saw a lot – from the rise and fall of empires, new political leaders and of course, highly-publicised changes in her very own family. But the Queen always remained a constant, calming, omnipresent figure throughout history.

Despite the Queen being one of the most recognisable faces on earth, there is still so much about the British monarch that many do not know.

To commemorate the life and service of this truly amazing woman, we’ve created a list of amazing, little-known facts about Her Majesty.

The Queen was reportedly gifted an iPod from Barack and Michelle Obama back in 2009 when they visited her in England. And if you thought that new-fangled gadget was simply collecting dust, you’d be mistaken. Speaking with Vogue, royal expert Ingrid Seward explained that the beloved monarch was actually a “big fan of musicals, traditional hymns, and Scottish ballads, and even the Beach Boys’s songs, especially “California Girls”.’

The Queen was known to wear a few different styles of shoes from shoemaker Anello & Davide, but according to Stewart Parvin, who has been the Queen’s dressmaker for 11 years, she never had to risk getting blisters when she bought a new pair of shoes.

breaking in shoes

That’s because a member of staff was charged with breaking in every new pair, wearing cotton ankle socks and walking on carpet to soften the leather for Her Majesty. What a gig!

Queen Elizabeth II previously celebrated 65 years on the throne, which is known as the Sapphire Jubilee, by re-releasing a stunning portrait snapped in 2014 by British photographer David Bailey. Her Majesty opted to spend the day in private, as the day is one that is bittersweet as it also marked her father’s 65th death anniversary.

Many may know the Queen’s childhood nickname was “Lilibet”, because she couldn’t pronounce her own name. But the Duke of Edinburgh was also known to affectionately call her “Cabbage.”

Her Royal Highness had her very own train and it came with chefs, lace-trimmed pillows, and a no bumpy track rule during the Queen’s 7:30am bath.

She may have been sweet and lovable, but don’t mess with the Queen! In 1982, an intruder invaded her bedroom. Not flinching, the royal remained calm, and even had a conversation with the deranged man until the police arrived seven minutes later.

No need to press snooze! Every morning Elizabeth used to wake to the sound of her personal bagpiper and she could even tell if someone different to her usual piper was playing. It looks like son Charles can leave that job to professionals…

It is said that when her eldest, the Prince of Wales, married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, Her Majesty was so happy she did a little jig of excitement as she left the reception.

Who doesn’t love a bit of pomp and theatre? When she just a teenager, Princess Elizabeth loved to participate in numerous pantomimes during the Second World War. Here she is at the age of 15 in a rare image of her playing the part of Prince Florizel alongside her sister Margaret in Cinderella back in 1941.

64 years ago, on February 6th 1952, Princess Elizabeth was in Kenya on a royal tour when her husband, Prince Philip, broke the news that her father had died.

She was just 25 and reportedly atop an African fig tree at the moment the King died and in turn, the moment she became queen.

Queen Elizabeth, Duke of Edinburgh, passport

The Queen’s kingdom extends to the sky! She may have visited more countries than any other British royal (rumoured to be more than 116 nations!), but she didn’t even have a passport! The cover of the British passport features the Royal Arms, and followed by the words “Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State requests and requires in the name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.” Since the passport is issued in the Queen’s name, she was not required to have one to travel outside of Britain.

Prince Philip and Queen

Love seals a monarch! Princess Elizabeth fell in love with Prince Philip, her third cousin and a Greek prince, in her late teens. When Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1953, it was the first and so far only time in British history where the heir to the throne wasn’t actually single.

Even the queens that preceded Elizabeth did not marry until after they were crowned, if they got married at all. Breaking even more boundaries, the beloved royal was a working mother.

Like many parents, their ups and downs lie in their children. For the British Monarch, she cited 1992 as her “Annus horribilis” [horrible year]. The disastrous period saw a devastating fire at Windsor Castle and the break down of her children’s – Prince Charles, Prince Andrew and Princess Anne – marriages.

No matter what, the Queen always looked her best.

In fact she would go nowhere without her handbag, where she always kept on hand her trusty lipstick. And she wasn’t afraid to reapply in public!

When former US president George Bush’s wife, Laura Bush, was spotted reapplying in DC, she simply quipped, “The queen told me it was all right to do it!” Gallery continues after the video

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Her Majesty The Queen, Elizabeth II, celebrates her 90th Birthday

It has been noted that as an intelligent little girl, the then-Princess knew she was meant to be a leader. Princess Margaret is believed to have asked her sister if she was the next Queen, to which Elizabeth responded: “Yes, someday!” Young Margaret was quick to declare: “Poor you!”

And what a fearless leader she turned out to be, fighting alongside her troops! During World War II, Princess Elizabeth had no qualms getting her hands dirty, joining the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1945.

Trading in her royal title for “Second Subaltern Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor” the then-18-year-old trained as a mechanic and driver. Her Majesty performed quite well and is still the only female royal to have entered the army and was, until her death, the only remaining head of state who served in WWII.

As one of the longest-ruling heads of state, it’s no surprise the Queen loved to entertain… and just like us, she loved a tipple!

The Queen’s cousin, Margaret Rhodes, told The Independent that Her Majesty performed the same excessive daily drinking ritual everyday. “Before lunch she enjoys a gin and Dubonnet on the rocks with a slice of lemon. She also likes to have wine with lunch, and finally, a glass of champagne to finish off the day.”

There’s no question the Queen was one cool lady… Here, she met the Spice Girls in London back in 1997.

Did you know she sent her first e-mail in 1976 from a British army base? According to royal biographer, Sally Bedell Smith, she also started using a mobile to text message her grandchildren before her death in 2022.

While Elizabeth was known for love of corgis…

The Queen was also gifted some of the world’s most unusual and exotic animals. According to The British Monarchy website, these include two tortoises given to her during a tour of the Seychelles in 1972; a seven-year-old bull elephant called Jumbo, presented by the president of Cameroon in 1972 to mark the Queen’s Silver wedding anniversary; and two black beavers during a royal visit to Canada. The animals were placed in the care of London Zoo.

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