Queen Elizabeth II Facts
1) Queen Elizabeth ll is the Head of the Commonwealth and Queen of 12 countries that have become independent since her accession: Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.
2) Queen Elizabeth ll has seen major constitutional changes, such as devolution in the United Kingdom, Canadian patriation, and the decolonisation of Africa.
3) In 2015, Queen Elizabeth ll surpassed the reign of her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, to become the longest-reigning British monarch and the longest-reigning queen regnant and female head of state in world history.
4) In October 2016, Queen Elizabeth ll became the longest currently reigning monarch and head of state following the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand.
5) In 2017, Queen Elizabeth ll became the first British monarch to commemorate a Sapphire Jubilee.
6) Elizabeth received private tuition in constitutional history from Henry Marten, Vice-Provost of Eton College, and learned French from a succession of native-speaking governesses.
7) During her grandfather’s reign, Elizabeth was third in the line of succession to the throne, behind her uncle Edward, Prince of Wales, and her father, the Duke of York.
When her grandfather died in 1936 and her uncle succeeded as Edward VIII, she became second-in-line to the throne, after her father.
Later that year, Edward abdicated, after his proposed marriage to divorced socialite Wallis Simpson provoked a constitutional crisis.
Consequently, Elizabeth’s father became king, and she became heir presumptive.
8) If Elizabeth’s parents had had a later son, she would have lost her position as first-in-line, as her brother would have been heir apparent and above her in the line of succession.
9) Elizabeth’s only sibling, Princess Margaret, was born in 1930. The two princesses were educated at home under the supervision of their mother and their governess, Marion Crawford, who was casually known as “Crawfie”.
10) In 1940, the 14-year-old Elizabeth made her first radio broadcast during the BBC’s Children’s Hour, addressing other children who had been evacuated from the cities during the World War II.
She stated: “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.”
11) In 1943, at the age of 16, Elizabeth undertook her first solo public appearance on a visit to the Grenadier Guards, of which she had been appointed colonel the previous year.
12) In February 1945, Elizabeth joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service as an honorary second subaltern with the service number of 230873.
She trained as a driver and mechanic and was promoted to honorary junior commander five months later.
13) At the end of the war in Europe, on Victory in Europe Day, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret mingled anonymously with the celebratory crowds in the streets of London.
Elizabeth later said in a rare interview, “We asked my parents if we could go out and see for ourselves.
I remember we were terrified of being recognised … I remember lines of unknown people linking arms and walking down Whitehall, all of us just swept along on a tide of happiness and relief.”
14) Welsh politicians suggested that she be made Princess of Wales on her 18th birthday.
Home Secretary, Herbert Morrison supported the idea, but the King rejected it because he felt such a title belonged solely to the wife of a Prince of Wales and the Prince of Wales had always been the heir apparent.
15) In 1947, Princess Elizabeth went on her first overseas tour, accompanying her parents through southern Africa.
During the tour, in a broadcast to the British Commonwealth on her 21st birthday, she made the following pledge:
“I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”
16) Elizabeth met her future husband, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, in 1934 and 1937.
After another meeting at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth in July 1939, Elizabeth – though only 13 years old – said she fell in love with Philip and they began to exchange letters. She was 21 when their engagement was officially announced on 9 July 1947.
17) Elizabeth and Philip were married on 20 November 1947 at Westminster Abbey. They received 2500 wedding gifts from around the world.
18) Elizabeth gave birth to her first child, Prince Charles, on 14 November 1948. One month earlier, the King had issued letters patent allowing her children to use the style and title of a royal prince or princess, to which they otherwise would not have been entitled as their father was no longer a royal prince.
A second child, Princess Anne, was born in 1950.
19) The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh became the first couple in the Royal Family to celebrate 60 years of marriage, also known as their diamond wedding anniversary.
20) During Elizabeth’s 80th-birthday celebrations, she held a “Children’s Party at the Palace” and invited 2,000 kids.
On April 19, two days before her birthday, she invited guests who also turned 80 years old to Buckingham Palace.
21) For the queen’s 60th wedding anniversary, she returned to her honeymoon location, Broadlands in Hampshire; she and Philip recreated their wedding photos.
22) Once a week for an hour, Queen Elizabeth meets with Britain’s prime minister.
23) The queen is the only person in the UK who doesn’t need a driver’s license or a license plate to drive.
Elizabeth also does not need a passport to travel internationally.
24) Two of the more recent prime ministers were born during her reign: Tony Blair and David Cameron were born in 1953 and 1966, respectively.
25) Elizabeth celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in 2012, marking 60 years as queen.
As part of the jubilee festivities, a special BBC concert was held on June 4 featuring the likes of Shirley Bassey, Paul McCartney, Tom Jones, Stevie Wonder and Kylie Minogue.
26) As of 2017, Elizabeth has had 13 prime ministers placed into power during her reign, with Queen and PM having a weekly, confidential meeting.
Queen Elizabeth II Family Tree