To celebrate the 94th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II today, here are ten things we bet you didn’t know about the British monarch.
Sleeping in the dungeons
To be safer during WWII, the young Elizabeth and her sister Margaret stayed at Windsor Castle. When they heard the air-raid sirens, they had to hide and sleep in the dungeons of the castle that were infested with bugs and had no heating.
Truck driver and mechanic
Queen Elizabeth is the only female member of the royal family to have joined the armed forces. In 1945, she trained as a truck driver and mechanic at the age of 18. In fact, she is the only living head of state to have served in World War II.
Queen Elizabeth doesn’t recall first meeting her husband when she was eight years old at the wedding of Prince Philip’s cousin, Princess Marina of Greece, and Prince George, the Duke of Kent, Elizabeth’s uncle. She does, however, remember meeting again Prince Philip, then a dashing cadet at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, when they were 13 and 18 respectively.
Queen Elizabeth accepted Prince Philip’s marriage proposal without even consulting her parents. She also put her foot down and chose her own surname, Windsor-Mountbatten.
What she carries in her handbag
Obviously, the Queen doesn’t need to carry a wallet or keys in her bag. But we know she has in her iconic Lauder handbags a lipstick, a mirror, reading glasses, mints and a pen. And on Sundays, small bills for the Church donations, of course.
Why she really carries a bag
The Queen’s handbag serves mostly to send secret, and extremely discreet, messages to her staff. For example, by placing the bag on the dinner table, the Queen signals the event should end in the next five minutes. If you were talking to her, you wouldn’t want her to move the purse from one hand to the other, that would tell her staff that the conversation was over and they would find an excuse to take you away politely. Even worse would be if she put the bag on the floor; in this case, her lady-in-waiting would appear swiftly to rescue her from the boring or unpleasant situation! Now, if you were to annoy her seriously, the Code Red Alert would be the monarch spinning her ring. By the way, did you know she sends unspoken messages through the brooches she wears?
Queen Elizabeth II is the longest-reigning monarch. In 2022, she will celebrate in her 70th anniversary as the Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries!
The Queen relies on homeopathy for her good health. Whenever she travels, she takes a small case with a supply of homeopathic remedies. The Queen mother, who lived to be 101, and her husband, George VI, were also fans of the natural medicaments to the point the king named one of his racehorses after the remedy Hypericum.
Driving license and passport
The Queen is the only person in the UK who does not need a driving license to drive, and her cars don’t have number plates. Also, she doesn’t need a passport for travelling abroad.
For the first time in 68 years, Queen Elizabeth cancelled the traditional royal gun salute and Trooping the Colour that mark her birthday because of the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, her 94th birthday will be celebrated on social media, like the rest of the world. Yes, the Queen keeps up with the digital era. She joined Twitter in 2009 and has had a Facebook page called British Monarchy since 2010.
Photo via Shutterstock.