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Her Majesty The Queen is without a doubt a national treasure who has seen and experienced a lot in her 60 years on the throne. From war, to the good times, to political scandals and economic crisis. She has seen the country grow and develop, come together in times of need and she has watched as technology and science progressed faster than anyone could have imagined. The Queen herself has also had her fair share of good and bad times. From royal romances to scandalous divorces, the death of Princess Diana, the Queen mother and Princess Margaret, she has stuck by her family through thick and thin and still clings tightly to Prince Philips side. A truly remarkable woman and it is easy to forget that above all she is a wife, a mother, a grandmother (and great-grandmother) but most importantly she is human just like anyone else and she too enjoys some of the more simple things in life. In celebration of the Queens Diamond jubilee here are 20 facts you may not know about Her Majesty.
1) The Queen speaks fluent French and often uses the language for Audiences and State Visits. Her Majesty does not require an interpreter.
2) Since Her Majesty’s accession to the throne in 1952, she has visited Edinburgh nearly every year, taking up residence in the Palace of Holyrood house during Holyrood Week.
3) The Queen has received many unusual gifts including a variety of live animals, some of which have been placed in the care of the London zoo. Amongst them jaguars and sloths from Brazil, and two black beavers from Canada. Other unusual gifts include pineapples, eggs, a box of snail shells, a grove of maple trees and 7kg of prawns.
4) The Queen learnt to drive in 1945 when she joined the Army.
5) The Queen was a Girl Guide (1937) and Sea Ranger (1943).
6) The Queen first travelled on the underground in May 1939. She travelled with her governess, Marion Crawford and sister, Princess Margaret.
7) The Queen is a keen photographer and enjoys taking photographs of her family. The Duke of York is also a keen photographer and has taken a number of photographs of The Queen, including an official photograph for Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee in 2002.
8) The first football match The Queen attended was the 1953 FA Cup Final.
9) The Queen sat for the first and only hologram portrait in 2003.
10) The first ‘Royal walkabout’ took place during the visit by The Queen and Prince Phillip to Australia and New Zealand in 1970. This would allow the royal couple to meet a greater number of people, instead of just dignitaries.
11) The Queen was the first British Monarch to visit China when she visited in 1986.
12) The Queen sent a message of congratulations to Apollo 11 astronauts for the first moon landing on the 21st July,1969. The message was micro-filmed and deposited on the moon in a metal container.
13) The Queen sent her first email in 1976 from an Army base.
14) When one of Her Majesty’s corgis was mated with a dachshund named Pipkin which belonged to Princess Margaret, The Queen also introduced a new breed known as a “dorgi”.
15) As well as corgis and dorgis, The Queen also breeds and trains Labradors and Cocker Spaniels. A special Sandringham strain of Black Labrador was founded in 1911.
16) The Queen has visited the sets of a number of British soaps including Coronation Street, Eastenders and Emmerdale.
17) In 1997, The Queen launched Buckingham Palace’s first official website.
18) After 100,000 copies of the CD of the ‘Party at the Palace’ were sold within the first week of release, The Queen is the first member of the Royal Family to be awarded a gold disc from the recording industry.
19) In November 2004, The Queen invited the cast of Les Miserables to perform for French President Jacques Chirac at Windsor Castle. It was the first time the cast of a West End musical had performed at a Royal residence.
20) In 2005, The Queen claimed ownership of 88 cygnets on the river Thames. They are looked after by the Swan Marker. The first Royal Swan Keeper was appointed around the 12th Century.