Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 85th birthday today.
Her Majesty celebrated by attending the traditional Royal Maundy Service at Westminster Abbey.
A Royal romance
12. The Queen is the first British monarch to have celebrated a Diamond Wedding Anniversary.
13.Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip first met when they attended the wedding of Prince Philip’s cousin, Princess Marina of Greece to The Duke of Kent, who was an uncle of Princess Elizabeth, in 1934.
14.The engagement between Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten RN was announced on the 9th July, 1947. Prince Philip was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. He joined the Royal Navy in 1939 and after the war, in February 1947, became a naturalised British subject. Prince Philip was required to choose a surname in order to continue his career in the Royal Navy, and adopted Mountbatten, the name of his mother’s British relatives. He was created “Duke of Edinburgh” by King George VI on marriage.
15.The platinum and diamond engagement ring was made by the jewellers, Philip Antrobus Ltd, using diamonds from a tiara belonging to Prince Philip’s mother.
16 .Prince Philip had two stag parties the night before the wedding – the first at the Dorchester to which the press were invited and the second with his closest friends at the Belfry Club.
17.The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh were married in Westminster Abbey on the 20th November, 1947 at 11.30am with 2000 invited guests.
18..The eight bridesmaids were: HRH The Princess Margaret, HRH Princess Alexandra of Kent, Lady Caroline Montagu-Douglas-Scott, Lady Mary Cambridge, Lady Elizabeth Lambart, The Hon. Pamela Mountbatten, The Hon. Margaret Elphinstone, The Hon. Diana Bowes-Lyon.
19.There were two pages: HRH Prince William of Gloucester (aged 5) and HRH Prince Michael of Kent (aged 5).
20.The Queen’s wedding dress was designed by Sir Norman Hartnell. Norman Hartnell submitted designs for the dress in August 1947.
21.The fabric for the dress was woven at Winterthur Silks Limited, Dunfermline, in the Canmore factory, using silk that had come from Chinese silkworms at Lullingstone Castle.
22..The Queen’s Bridal Veil was made of tulle and held by a tiara of diamonds. This tiara (which can also be worn as a necklace) was made for Queen Mary in 1919. It is made from re-used diamonds taken from a necklace/tiara purchased by Queen Victoria from Collingwood and Co and a wedding present for Queen Mary in 1893. In August, 1936, Queen Mary gave the tiara to Queen Elizabeth from whom it was borrowed by Princess Elizabeth for her wedding in 1947.
23.The grave of the Unknown Warrior was the only stone that was not covered by the special carpet in the Abbey. The day after the wedding, Princess Elizabeth followed a Royal tradition started by her mother, of sending her wedding bouquet back to the Abbey to be laid on this grave.
24.The bride’s wedding ring was made from a nugget of Welsh gold which came from the Clogau St David’s mine near Dolgellau.
25..Around 10,000 telegrams of congratulations were received at Buckingham Palace and the Royal couple received over 2,500 wedding presents from well-wishers around the world.
26..As well as jewellery from their close relatives, including the King and Queen, the couple received many useful items for the kitchen and home, including salt cellars from the Queen, a bookcase from Queen Mary, and a picnic case from Princess Margaret.
27.The “wedding breakfast” (lunch) was held after the marriage ceremony at Westminster Abbey in the Ball Supper-room at Buckingham Palace. The menu was Filet de Sole Mountbatten, Perdreau en Casserole, Bombe Glacee Princess Elizabeth.
28.The couple departed Waterloo station with the Princess’s corgi, Susan, for their honeymoon.
29.The newlyweds spent their wedding night at Broadlands in Hampshire, home of Prince Philip’s uncle Earl Mountbatten. The second part of the honeymoon was spent at Birkhall on the Balmoral Estate.
30.Early in 1948 the couple leased their first marital home, Windlesham Moor, in Surrey, near Windsor Castle, where they stayed until they moved to Clarence House on 4th July 1949.
31.After marrying Princess Elizabeth, The Duke of Edinburgh continued his naval career, reaching the rank of Lieutenant-Commander in command of the frigate HMS Magpie.
32.Although he was The Queen’s husband, The Duke of Edinburgh was not crowned or anointed at the Coronation ceremony in 1953. He was the first subject to pay Homage to Her Majesty, and kiss the newly crowned Queen by stating “I, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, do become your liege man of life and limb, and of earthly worship; and faith and truth I will bear unto you, to live and die, against all manner of folks. So help me God.”
33.Prince Philip has accompanied The Queen on all her Commonwealth tours and State visits, as well as on public engagements in all parts of the UK. The first of these was the Coronation tour of the Commonwealth from November 1953 to May 1954, when the couple visited Bermuda, Jamaica, Panama, Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, Cocos Islands, Ceylon, Aden, Uganda, Libya, Malta and Gibraltar, travelling a distance of 43,618 miles.
34. The Coronation took place in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. It was a solemn ceremony conducted by Dr Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury.
35. The Coronation was followed by drives through every part of London, a review of the fleet at Spithead, and visits to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
36.The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have four children: Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales (b. 1948), Princess Anne, The Princess Royal (b. 1950), Prince Andrew, The Duke of York (b. 1960), and Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex (b. 1964).
37.With the birth of Prince Andrew in 1960, The Queen became the first reigning Sovereign to give birth to a child since Queen Victoria, whose youngest child, Princess Beatrice, was born in 1857.
38.The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have eight grandchildren – Peter Phillips (b. 1977), Zara Phillips (b. 1981) Prince William (b. 1982), Prince Harry (b. 1984), Princess Beatrice (b. 1988), Princess Eugenie (b. 1990), Lady Louise Windsor (b. 2003) and James, Viscount Severns (b. 2007) She has one great-grandchild Savannah (b. 2011)
39. The Queen has delivered a Christmas message every year except in 1969, when she decided the royals had been on TV enough after an unprecedented family documentary. Her greeting took the form of a written address.
40. In her 1991 message, the Queen silenced rumours of abdication as she pledged to continue to serve.
41. The Queen issued a writ against The Sun newspaper after it published the full text of her 1992 broadcast two days before transmission. She later accepted an apology and a £200,000 donation to charity.
42. The Queen’s grandfather, King George V, delivered the first royal Christmas broadcast live on the radio from Sandringham in 1932.
43. George V was at first unsure about using the relatively untried medium of the wireless, but eventually agreed.
44. There was no Christmas broadcast in 1936 or 1938, and it was the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 that firmly established the tradition.
45. This year the Queen delivers her address from Hampton Court Palace – the first time the historic building has been used.
46 The speech is written by the Queen and each has a strong religious framework, reflects current issues and often draws on her own experiences.
Interest and hobbies
48. An animal lover since childhood, The Queen takes a keen and highly knowledgeable interest in horses. As an owner and breeder of thoroughbreds, she often visits other race meetings to watch her horses run, and also frequently attends equestrian events.
49. She attends the Derby at Epsom, one of the classic flat races in Britain, and the Summer Race Meeting at Ascot, which has been a Royal occasion since 1911.
50. The Queen’s horses won races at Royal Ascot on a number of occasions. There was a notable double on 18 June 1954 when Landau won the Rous Memorial Stakes and a stallion called Aureole won the Hardwicke Stakes, and in 1957 The Queen had four winners during Ascot week.
51. Other interests include walking in the countryside and working her Labradors, which were bred at Sandringham.
52. A lesser known interest is Scottish country dancing. 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.
53. The Queen is the only person in Britain who can drive without a licence or a registration number on her car.
54. The Queen is patron to more than 600 charities
55. To formally greet the Queen men should perform a neck bow (from the head only) whilst women do a small curtsy. On presentation to The Queen, the correct formal address is ‘Your Majesty’ and subsequently ‘Ma’am’.
56. Norman Hartnell, who first worked for the then Princess Elizabeth in the 1940s, produced many of the finest evening dresses in Her Majesty’s wardrobe. His signature style of the 1940s and 1950s was full-skirted dresses in sumptuous silks and duchesse satins
57. Hardy Amies began designing clothes for The Queen in the early 1950s and established his name with the deceptive simplicity of his accomplished tailoring. The portraits by Cecil Beaton released to mark Her Majesty’s birthday in 1969 the are amongst the most memorable designs by Hardy Amies.
58. n the 1970s The Queen awarded her patronage to Ian Thomas, who was an assistant designer to Norman Hartnell before setting up his own salon. Thomas’s flowing chiffon dresses from the 1970s reflect the relaxed style of the decade. Maureen Rose of the same house continued to design for Her Majesty after Ian’s death until the late 80’s.
59. Between 1988 and 1996, Her Majesty’s dresses were designed by John Anderson. His business partner Karl Ludwig Rehse took over the mantle after his death in 1988 and the Queen still wears his designs today.
60. Stewart Parvin, the youngest of Her Majesty’s designers, trained at Edinburgh College of Art. He began to design for The Queen in 2000 and continues to do so.
61. Angela Kelly is Personal Assistant and Senior Dresser to The Queen. Her role includes designing for The Queen, which she has done since 2002. Angela and her team try and use both old and new fabrics when designing. Some of the material they incorporate has been given to Her Majesty many years ago, some dates from when she was Princess Elizabeth.
62. The Queen celebrates two birthdays each year: her actual birthday on 21 April and her official birthday on a Saturday in June.
63. he Queen usually spends her actual birthday privately, but the occasion is marked publicly by gun salutes in central London at midday: a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park, a 21 gun salute in Windsor Great Park and a 62 gun salute at the Tower of London.
64. In 2006, Her Majesty celebrated her 80th Birthday in 2006 with a walkabout in the streets outside of Windsor Castle to meet well-wishers.
65. On her official birthday, Her Majesty is joined by other members of the Royal Family at the spectacular Trooping the Colour parade which moves between Buckingham Palace, The Mall and Horseguards’ Parade.
And the rest…
66. Queen Elizabeth II is the fortieth monarch since William the Conqueror
67. She has visited Australia 15 times, Canada 23 times, Jamaica six times and New Zealand ten times
68. She has sent around 100,000 telegrams to centenarians in the UK and the Commonwealth
69. The Queen has launched 23 ships and met five astronauts at Buckingham Palace
70. She first flew in an aeroplane in July 1945
71. She is the only British monarch in history properly trained to change a spark plug
72. On VE Day she and her sister slipped into the crowd to celebrate
73. She collected clothing coupons for her wedding dress
74. The Queen has a bank account at Coutts & Co. There is a Coutts cash-dispensing machine in Buckingham Palace
75. The Queen celebrated her Golden Jubilee in 2002, including visiting 70 cities and towns around the UK
76. Tony Blair was the first prime minister to be born during her reign, which has already seen nine prime ministers
77. The Queen has sat through 91 state banquets and posed for 139 official portraits
78. She has visited the sets of EastEnders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale
79. The Queen introduced a new breed of dog known as the “dorgi”, when one of the corgis mated with a dachshund named Pipkin
80. The Queen is the first British monarch to see three of her children divorce
81. She demoted a footman for feeding her corgis whisky
82. Prince Andrew and Prince Edward were the first children to be born to a reigning monarch since Queen Victoria had her family
83. She is a Patron of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association. One of the Queen’s birds is called Sandringham Lightning
84. There have been six Archbishops of Canterbury during the Queen’s reign
85. She has sent around 100,000 telegrams to centenarians in the UK and the Commonwealth