Few public figures have been subject to more speculation about their private life than the Queen, but we believe it’s possible to get a strong sense of her personality without having to seek out scandal or hearsay – as these ten carefully-curated facts will attest.
I. One of the Queen’s closest and most trusted companions is Angela Kelly, the daughter of a Liverpudlian dock worker who, in 2007, was promoted from her role as one of the Queen’s dressers to become the monarch’s first ever personal assistant. When they’re alone together, the laughter of the Queen and her PA can be heard echoing down the corridors of the royal residences. Kelly told the Telegraph, “I do worry about her and care about her…but we also have a lot of fun together. The Queen has a wicked sense of humour and is a great mimic. She can do all accents – including mine.
“The young princess was chased by a ticket inspector when she forgot to hand in her ticket.”
II. Having seen that the Queen did her washing up without rubber gloves, the former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, took the liberty of later sending her a pair as a Christmas gift.
III. The Queen was the first royal ever to travel on the London Underground – as a 13-year-old princess, when her nanny Marion Crawford took her for an incognito trip in a third-class smoking carriage on the District Line. Unfamiliar with the rules of tube travel, the young princess was chased by a ticket inspector when she forgot to hand in her ticket after disembarking at St James’s Park!
IV. Everyone knows the Queen loves corgis, but did you know she received her first one as an 18th birthday present in 1944 – and that it was called Susan?
V. During the Second World War, the Queen was a mechanic and military truck driver in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service – making her the only female member of the royal family to have entered the Armed Forces.
“She is considered to be the world’s first head of state to have sent electronic mail.”
VI.The Queen is a genuine world authority on bloodstock – her thoroughbred horses have won more than 1,600 races! And although she is a regular visitor at Ascot, her interest in the races is pure passion for the sport; she never places a bet.
VII. It’s a common misconception that the Queen owns all of the UK’s swans – this is not the case; she actually only owns a type called the mute swan and only on parts of the River Thames and it’s tributaries.
VIII. The Queen does, however, own all of the whales and dolphins living in British waters.
IX. The Queen is the UK’s biggest pigeon fancier, and spent £40,000 on a luxury loft for her pedigree birds at the Sandringham Estate
X. A keen lover of innovation, the Queen sent her first email in 1976, during a visit to the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment research facility in Malvern. She is considered to be the world’s first head of state to have sent electronic mail – at a time when most people were yet to even use a computer.