Elizabeth II: stories and facts that you might not know well

Whether you’ve been following the exploits of the British royal family for years, or you’re just a huge  Crown  fan , you might think you know a lot about Queen Elizabeth II. After all, she is the longest-reigning monarch in British history. She may have made a lot of queens, but she keeps a lot of it under wraps. Here are some little-known facts about the Queen and her life as a royal. 

She loves the sound of bagpipes in the morning

Many of us would rather wake up to the soft sound of music than the harsh sound of an alarm clock. Queen Elizabeth II is no different, except perhaps for her gender choice. The Queen reportedly loves the sound of the bagpipes in the morning, so much so that she employs a royal piper to play outside her bedroom window every day from 7am to 9am

She has no formal education

Although members of the royal family receive nothing but the best of education, Queen Elizabeth II and her sister, Margaret, never attended school. Instead, the young sisters were tutored at home by private tutors. When her father ascended the throne in 1936 and the full weight of his future responsibilities hit her, Elizabeth decided that even her elite guardians were insufficient. She enlisted the help of Henry Marten, the Vice Chancellor of Eton College, to instruct her in law and constitutional history, two areas she felt were important to master as a future monarch.

a long romance

Elizabeth was just 13 years old when she started falling in love with her 18-year-old cousin, Prince Philip of Greece. Within a few years, the couple began an affair, but they did not marry until Elizabeth turned 21. This year, Elizabeth and Philip will celebrate their 73rd wedding anniversary. 

She had a wardrobe malfunction on her wedding day

Even royals have occasional wardrobe issues. On her wedding day, Elizabeth’s diamond tiara broke and the official court jeweler had to be called in to fix it. Elizabeth was considered a good sport about the incident, refusing to take it as an ominous warning about her future marriage. After the quick fix, she donned the tiara for her trip down the aisle. 

She traded crowns for hats

In recent decades, Queen Elizabeth is more likely to be seen wearing an oversized hat than a crown. She has an impressive collection of hats, most of which, like her outfits, are colorful. It’s not fancy: because the queen is petite, she always wears bright colors because she wants to make sure her loyal followers can spot her in a crowd. 

For most Britons, she’s the only monarch they’ve ever known.

Queen Elizabeth II has reigned for so long that only around 19% of Britons have ever lived under a different ruler. To put this in perspective, England has had 14 different prime ministers and the US has had 13 presidents since 1952, but there can only be one queen.

The queen is not always able to sit on her throne, so she needs comfortable shoes. (history.com)

She has a real internal shoe breaker

As anyone who can’t wait to buy a new pair for a night out knows, shoes need to be worn a few times before they get comfortable. As Queen, Elizabeth cannot be seen taking off a stiff pair of shoes or even changing them into a proper pair, nor can she endure painful blisters. Since she has enough money to pay anyone to do anything, she pays someone to break her shoes for her. The Craigslist ad must have sounded amazing.

She still has a champion

In antiquity, members of the royal family had a designated person who fought in their stead in duels or challenges. Although we are beyond dueling to resolve our issues, this tradition still exists today. Since the Norman Conquest of 1066, the master of Scrivelsby Manor in Lincolnshire has also served as the Honored King or Queen’s Champion. The current champion is Francis John Fane Marmion Dymoke, but if anyone really expects him to duel for the Queen, they’re going to have a hard time. The old accountant and former sheriff is probably not in fighting shape.

Technically, the Queen owns all swans and dolphins in the UK.

In medieval times, mute swans were considered a delicacy, and the British monarchy declared that all mute swans in the United Kingdom would forever be the property of the head of the royal family. Queen Elizabeth doesn’t like the taste of swans as much, but she is still responsible for the health of the kingdom’s mute swan population. She commands a Swan Marker, who leads an annual event called Swan Upping, in which he takes inventory of all the swans in the country and monitors their health. We can also thank a medieval charter, dating from 1324, for the fact that the reigning monarch also owns all the “royal fish” in the waters surrounding the UK. Included in this group are dolphins, whales and sturgeons. 

The queen loves animals, but prefers land mammals.

Like most wealthy people, Queen Elizabeth loves horses and dogs. She owned over 30 Corgis, her favorite breed of dog, the first being a female dog named Susan, who was given to her by her father for her 18th birthday. Many of the Queen’s royal Corgis are descended from this beloved first pup. Queen Elizabeth is also responsible for introducing a new breed of designer dog, a Corgi-Dachshund hybrid called “Dorgi”.

The Queen Has Money, Just Not As Much As You Think

While it’s true that the Queen is an obscenely wealthy woman, she doesn’t come close to being the richest person in the UK (That honor goes to a pair of British Indian business brothers, Gopichand Hinduja and Srichand Hinduja.) Still, be of royalty brings some financial advantages. The Queen is not required to pay taxes, but Elizabeth II chooses to do so anyway, filing her return application, as have all of us commoners, every year since 1993. Generally, the Queen doesn’t have to carry cash, but if she did need one, there is a private ATM inside Buckingham Palace. It was placed there by one of the UK’s most prestigious banks, Coutts. 

She uses her purse as a secret signal system.

Queen Elizabeth II has reportedly devised a secret method of signaling her staff during functions based on where she places her purse. If, during a dinner party, she puts her purse on the table, it is a signal to her team that she is ready for the meal to end. If the Queen puts her purse down, it means she wants to be rescued from the people she is talking to. Shifting her bag to the opposite side during a meeting means that the queen is bored and looking for an excuse to leave the meeting. 

She doesn’t have a driver’s license, but she drives

As a queen, Elizabeth doesn’t need a driver’s license or passport like us commoners. She didn’t let her lack of a license stop her from driving, however. In fact, in her youth, she was said to be a speed demon. She once drove Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in a Land Rover, much to his surprise. 

Even your sleeping pills are fancy

Studies show that a glass of wine a day is good for your health, and Queen Elizabeth II takes this seriously. It is said that she has a glass of champagne every night before bed as a way to help her relax. Maybe it’s the key to her longevity.