Once upon a time on February 6, 1952, King George VI died. Instantly, because that’s how these things work, his daughter Elizabeth became queen. (She wasn’t crowned until a year and a half later. I don’t really know why–maybe it takes a long time to plan a coronation?)
Anyway, Lilibet (as she was known to her family) became the 40th British monarch since William the Conqueror. There have been 12 US presidents during her reign (as of today). Extra points if you can name them.
Queen E’s popularity has soared and dipped over the years, much the way any public figure’s popularity (except Winnie The Pooh) does. What is indisputable is that she has been around a long time (monarch years are about 3 or 4 normal human years) and that she is media savvy.
She allowed her coronation to be televised even though Winston Churchill objected. A zillion years later she allowed herself to be part of the Olympic opening ceremonies in a rather un-crownlike way. Too cool.
She was sending email eons before anyone sent email. March 26, 1976 to be exact (which is a million years ago in technology years). She was the first Head of State to send electronic mail.
The Royal Channel on YouTube was launched in 2007. She joined Twitter in 2009 and Facebook in 2010 (note: before you go try, it is not possible to poke the royal family). And when I say “she joined,” I mean The Crown joined. The Queen herself does not tweet or update her FB status. There are buckets of people who maintain her social media accounts.
Her Majesty is fluent in French and Royal Looks (which is kind of like a Mom Look but with a crown).
The Queen’s birthday is April 21st (quite a marvy day) but it is celebrated in May and June depending on where you live. Each country in the Commonwealth celebrates on a different day, which I think is brilliant. Your Auntie M used to drag her birthday out from late December through early March but she hasn’t yet managed to get the entire world to join in an elongated celebration.
Speaking of royal birthdays, Her Majesty did not learn to drive when she was 16. The then princess learned to drive in 1945 when she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service to help in the war effort. She was trained to be an expert driver and mechanic. The best part? The Queen is the only person in Britain who can drive without a license or number plate on her state car. Because of being the Queen, not because of her war service.
Random fact: She once demoted a footman for giving her corgis whiskey. That is nothing compared to what would happen to someone who tried to give Booker alcohol.
Queen Elizabeth has traveled–a lot–in her life. She has been to 116 countries (several more than once) and yet she does not have a passport. Since British passports are issued in the queen’s name, she doesn’t need one.
Presidents during Queen Elizabeth’s reign: