Advertisement

The Queen of hearts

The Queen of hearts
Getty Images

Princess Elizabeth never expected to become queen. Even when she was first in line to the throne, she didn’t think she’d have to assume the role of monarch so soon. But after her father died young, the new wife and mother took the throne at just 25 years old, dedicating her entire life, “whether it be long or short,” in service to the country. As it turns out, it was the latter, and the nearly 94-year-old Queen Elizabeth II is perhaps more beloved today than ever. Even if you’ve seen The Crown, the Netflix series about her life, you probably don’t know the real story behind this famously tight-lipped royal, so let’s take a closer look at the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

She has only given one sit-down interview in her entire reign

She has only given one sit-down interview in her entire reign
Shutterstock

Dubbed ‘Elizabeth the Silent’ by historian David Starkey, Queen Elizabeth II rarely gives press interviews and is said to keep her politics hidden from the public eye at all times. Part of the Queen’s “enduring appeal is that she has never bared her soul to the public…Even in this era of the celebrity confessional, she has remained enveloped in mystery,” according to the Daily Mail.  She did break with tradition, however, to give the BBC her first sit-down interview in 2018, on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of her coronation.

She enjoys Scottish dancing

She enjoys Scottish dancing
Getty Images

You might know that the Queen spends her summer vacation at the lovely Balmoral Castle in Scotland. But you might not know that she picked up an invigorating hobby during her time there. “A lesser-known interest is Scottish country dancing,” reads her official biography. “Each year during her stay at Balmoral Castle, the Queen gives dances known as Gillies’ Balls, for neighbours, estate and Castle staff, and members of the local community.” One clip form 1990 shows the Queen giddily dancing the Eightsome Reel at the ball with Prince Philip and the rest of her family.

She once fooled tourists who didn't know who she was

She once fooled tourists who didn't know who she was
Getty Images

Speaking of Balmoral, the Queen takes the opportunity while relaxing in Scotland to let her guard down a bit. Instead of her usual queenly demeanour, she enjoys the outdoors in an everyday raincoat and kerchief. One of her former security guards told a funny story about the Queen running into some American tourists on one of her country walks. Not knowing who she was, they asked if she lived around there, to which she cheekily told them that she had a house nearby. When they asked if she’d ever met the Queen, she replied, “No, but he has,” pointing to her security guard. She’s definitely not lacking in that dry English wit!

Find out more about Queen Elizabeth, a mighty monarch.

She jokes about her age

She jokes about her age
Getty Images

If you still don’t believe the buttoned-up monarch has a sense of humour, you haven’t seen Queen Elizabeth come up with a quick retort. Case in point: while introducing her at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in 2015, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reverently said, “I am deeply mindful of Your Majesty’s long and tireless service.” After coming to the microphone, the Queen deadpanned, “Thank you, Mr Prime Minister of Canada, for making me feel so old.” Her off-the-cuff remark elicited a huge laugh from the audience.

It wouldn’t be the last time she joked about getting older: In 2016, upon being asked by a minister from Northern Ireland if she was well, she cheerily replied, “I’m still alive, anyway!” In November, while meeting a 100-year-old veteran, she joked, “[You] beat me!”

She acted in a James Bond scene

She acted in a James Bond scene
Getty Images

The light-hearted Queen also starred opposite Daniel Craig in a James Bond skit to open the 2012 London Olympics. Reportedly, the director inquired whether he could use her likeness – to which Queen Elizabeth responded that she wanted to appear in it herself! According to the Queen’s former dresser, Angela Kelly, she even insisted on having a speaking role. “I asked whether she would like to say, ‘Good evening, James,’ or, ‘Good evening, Mr. Bond,'” Kelly wrote in her recent book. “She chose the latter, knowing the Bond films.” In the skit, after the Queen and James Bond left Buckingham Palace on a helicopter, a real helicopter appeared live over the Olympic stadium, and the Queen appeared to parachute out – but she left that one to a stunt double.

Advertisement

But she declined to sit on the Iron Throne

But she declined to sit on the Iron Throne
Getty Images

James Bond may have delighted Queen Elizabeth, but a stop by the Game of Thrones set may have left her feeling a bit ‘meh.’ The Queen and Prince Philip toured the HBO series while on a visit to Northern Ireland in 2014, and they even chatted with members of the cast, including Kit Harington and Sophie Turner. In the show, the seat of all the kingdoms everyone is competing for in the titular ‘Game’ is the Iron Throne, made up of swords and spikes. However, when shown the throne-room set and the Iron Throne itself, the Queen chose not to try it out. Most people would jump at the chance to sit upon it – but maybe if you’ve got your own real-life throne, a fake one pales in comparison.

Game of Thrones fan? You need to read these 9 great fantasy epics.

She's not the richest person in Britain

She's not the richest person in Britain
Getty Images

For all her influence, Queen Elizabeth is not the wealthiest person in the United Kingdom. Although she no doubt lives in a world of privilege, she hasn’t even recently appeared in the UK’s Sunday Times list of the 300 richest people in the country. According to the Independent, she’s worth around £340 million (about $421 million); Forbes estimates $500 million, but that’s still way below the 2153 billionaires on that magazine’s 2019 richest-people list. Much of the Queen’s money comes from private income from her estates. Taxpayers do pay for expenses for her official duties, but Forbes estimates that amount is much less than the tourism and economy boost the royal family provides the country.

She hosts 30,000 people a year at garden parties

She hosts 30,000 people a year at garden parties
Getty Images

Even if she isn’t the richest, Queen Elizabeth is no doubt one of the most popular people in the country. Each year, she hosts 30,000 people at her garden parties at Buckingham Palace and Holyroodhouse, her official residence in Scotland. According to the Queen’s website, ‘at each Garden Party, around 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches, and 20,000 slices of cake are consumed.’ And these gatherings are not just for royalty and aristocrats: regular folks go, too, so the Queen has an opportunity to speak to people ‘from all walks of life.’ But you can’t just show up, and you can’t ask for an invitation: you have to be nominated through a network of sponsors, as recognition for your public service to and positive impact on your community.

Read on for the the fascinating reason why British Royals save the top of their wedding cake.

Her Christmas broadcast is an annual tradition

Her Christmas broadcast is an annual tradition
Getty Images

Another way Queen Elizabeth gets close to her people is with her yearly Christmas television broadcast, in which she addresses the nation and reflects on the past year and what Christmas means to her. The Christmas address was started by her grandfather, King George VI, with radio broadcasts in 1932. The first television broadcast was made by the Queen in 1957, and since then, it has become a tradition for families throughout Britain to watch on Christmas Day. The Queen herself enjoys Christmas with her family at Sandringham House, her estate in Norfolk, and spends Christmas morning attending church. Before the holiday, she sends out around 750 Christmas cards to family, friends, and some government officials; she also gives about 1500 Christmas puddings to palace staff.

Never miss a deal again - sign up now!

Connect with us: