In the UK, this long weekend is all about Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee. She has been on the throne for 70 years, and to help her celebrate, most of us get a four-day weekend.
All across the country, there are street parties, parades, and special events. In the little city of Chichester, where we live, flags were strung up across the streets and shop windows were all royally decorated. Saturday morning there was a parade through the town center with all the local organizations participating. Then everyone went to the park where there was a family fun day.
I think Queen Elizabeth is respected by nearly everyone. Over the past 70 years she has carried out her duties with dignity and has been able to change and adapt with the times.
To do my bit to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee, here are some fun facts about our long-reigning Queen.
Princess Elizabeth (Before she was Queen)
She Didn’t Expect to be Queen
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born 21 April 1926 to the Duke and Duchess of York. When she was 10 years old, her uncle became King Edward VIII. Everyone assumed he would marry and have an heir to the throne. But after only one year, Edward abdicated the throne to marry a divorced American. (Marrying a divorcee was forbidden… and an American to boot? What was he thinking?) This meant that Elizabeth’s father became king, and Elizabeth became next in line to the throne.
She Was a Truck Driver and Mechanic During the War
In 1945 Princess Elizabeth joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service and learned to drive a truck and be a mechanic. She was the first female in the Royal Family to join the armed services as a full-time, active member.
She Married her Third Cousin
Princess Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten 20 Nov 1947. They were both great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria and were third cousins. They had four children and were married 74 years until Prince Philip died in 2021, at age 99.
This is the official wedding picture of Princess Elizabeth and her new husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, made after their return to Buckingham Palace after their marriage in Westminster Abbey, Nov. 20, 1947.
She Used Ration Coupons for her Wedding Dress
It was just two years after the end of World War II, when Princess Elizabeth became engaged. Britain was still war-torn, and rationing was still in place. The young princess Elizabeth saved up her clothing ration coupons and the government gave her an extra 200 coupons to buy the fabric for her wedding dress. When the engagement was announced, well-wishers from all over the country sent Princess Elizabeth some of their own clothing ration coupons for her dress. However, these were all returned with a note of thanks as transferring these coupons between households was illegal.
Her Coronation was the First to be Televised
On 6 February 1952, Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, died. Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II. She was 25 years old and had two young children at the time. Her coronation was the first to be televised and was watched by 20 million people.
She Loves her Corgis
When Elizabeth was seven years old, her father brought home a Welsh corgi called Dookie. She fell in love with him and has had corgis ever since. In fact, she has owned more than 30 of this breed during her lifetime. Queen Elizabeth and her sister are responsible (indirectly) for inventing a new breed of dog, the dorgi. This came about when one of Queen Elizabeth’s corgis fell in love with her sister’s dachshund and a dorgi was the result. The sisters went on to breed several more dorgis.
No Driving License, Licence Plate, or Passport
The queen is the only person in the UK allowed to drive without a licence. In addition, she’s not required to have a license plate on her car, and she doesn’t need a passport to travel.
14 Prime Ministers
Queen Elizabeth has been served by 14 UK Prime Ministers Including Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, and Boris Johnson.
She Uses the Internet
The Queen sent her first email 46 years ago, in 1976, when she was 50. She published her first Instagram post in 2019 at age 93.
She Speaks French
Queen Elizabeth learned to speak French as a child from her French and Belgian governesses. She has put her fluent French to good use on state visits and with ambassadors and heads of state from French-speaking countries.
She Has a Sense of Humor
The Queen (and her corgis) made a cameo appearance with James Bond for the 2012 Olympics. She appeared to join actor Daniel Craig on board a helicopter, and a queenly stunt double parachuted out onto the Olympic stage. Then the real Queen stepped out onto the stage to open the Olympics. It was hilarious. Watch it Here
And this year, she has made a video appearance with another British icon, Paddington Bear. As the Queen has tea with Paddington, we finally learn what she carries in her royal purse. Watch it Here.
No Alarm Clock Necessary
The Queen doesn’t need an alarm clock. She wakes up every morning at 9:00 am to a bagpipe being played outside her window. The Queen’s Piper plays for 15 minutes – That should be enough to get anyone out of bed. (I’m not a bagpipe fan!)
She’s a Colourful Dresser
You’ll see the Queen making appearances in dresses of many colours – often bright, almost neon ones. You might assume that she just likes bright colours, but there is more to her choice of clothing. The colours are chosen to stand out so that she can be easily spotted. She doesn’t want anyone who has made an effort to come out and see the Queen to be disappointed by not being able pick her out of the crowd. Very thoughtful, I’d say.
She Has Two Birthdays
The Queen has two birthdays: her actual birthday – 21 April – and her official birthday, which is held on a Saturday in June. This is not because she wants to double the number of gifts. No, this tradition has to do with the weather and goes back to George II in 1748. King George’s birthday was in November, and it was just too cold to have a parade. So he tied his birthday celebrations in with the annual Trooping the Colour military parade so his loyal subjects wouldn’t catch cold. Elizabeth is just continuing a long tradition.
She has Been Queen for a Very Long Time
Queen Elizabeth II is the longest reigning monarch ever in Britain. In 2015 she surpassed Queen Victoria’s (her great-great-grandmother’s) record. Victoria reigned for 63 years, seven months, and two days. This weekend we are celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne.
A hearty congratulations to our Queen on her Platinum Jubilee!
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