The Queen in numbers: 60 facts and figures about Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II is about to celebrate becoming our longest-reigning monarch

Wednesday 09 September 2015 09:13 BST
Queen Elizabeth II's length of reign: 63 years 215 days, so far
Queen Elizabeth II's length of reign: 63 years 215 days, so far

1 Some time on Wednesday, the Queen will become Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, overtaking her great-great-grandmother Victoria by reaching 23,226 days, 16 hours and 24 minutes on the throne.

2 The Queen – or rather the royal household - cost the public purse £40m in 2015-16, in the form of the Sovereign Grant, the means by which the monarchy is funded.

3 Since 1952 the Queen has given royal assent to more than 3,500 Acts of Parliament.

4 Each morning, the Queen's breakfast table is laid out with cornflakes and porridge oats in Tupperware containers, yoghurt and two kinds of marmalade – light and dark.

5 A royal footman who poured whisky into the corgis' water as a party trick was rewarded with a salary cut and a demotion.

6 When she crossed a corgi with a dachshund to create the dorgi the Queen perhaps unwittingly began the craze for designer cross-breeds.

The royal family at the Trooping the Colour parade in London this year

7 The Queen is patron of more than 600 charities and organisations.

8 The Queen is the first monarch to have seen three of her children divorce.

9 Britain's monarchy is the most expensive in Europe, though the Netherlands isn't far behind. Spain's royal family gets a comparatively meagre £6.5m allowance each year.

10 The Queen is thought to be worth around £340m, making her the 302nd richest person in the UK.

11 All 5,000-plus breeding pairs of mute swan in Britain are officially owned by the Queen.

12 'Fishes Royal' applies to all sturgeon, whales, porpoises and dolphins in the water around the UK. Like swans, they also officially belong to the Queen.

13 The Queen sent her first email in 1976 from an army base.

Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she visits Bowring Park in St. John's, Newfoundland, on the third day of a 10-day official visit to Canada, 1997

14 The top video on Her Majesty's official YouTube Channel is a clip of the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton from 2011, with nearly 2.5million views.

15 At an official photocall marking the end of 2009's G20 summit, Her Majesty was offended by Silvio Berlusconi hollering "Mr Obama!" at the US President. Unimpressed, the Queen snapped: "What is it? Why does he have to shout?"

16 The Queen was educated by her governess Marion Crawford, to whom she gave the nickname "Crawfie".

17 Ms Crawford's services were not enough to grant her everlasting favour with the royals, however. In 1950, she published a book titled The Little Princesses, recounting the time she spent with Elizabeth and Margaret. The royals were apparently furious.

18 There have been seven Archbishops of Canterbury during the Queen's reign – Geoffrey Fisher, Michael Ramsey, Donald Coggan, Robert Runcie, George Carey, Rowan Williams and Justin Welby. There have also been seven popes – Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis.

Kate Middleton and the Queen at Vernon Park in Nottingham in 2012

19 Should the royal chauffeur take a day off, the Queen is quite capable of driving for herself, having learnt to drive in 1945. But she doesn’t have a driving licence and is not obliged to show number plates.

20 The Royal Train comes with chefs, lace-trimmed pillows, and a no bumpy track rule during the Queen's 7:30am bath.

21 According to former Arsenal player Cesc Fabregas, the Queen is a Gunners fan. The first football match the Queen attended was the 1953 FA Cup Final – the famous Matthews final where a Stanley Matthews-inspired Blackpool beat Bolton-Wanderers 4-3.

22 When Her Majesty visited Centre Court's Royal Box for an Andy Murray match in 2010, it ended a 33-year Wimbledon snub.

23 When former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating dared to put an arm round his royal overlord, the press branded him "the Lizard of Oz".

24 The Queen's vocal range is as yet untested, but a recording of a concert to celebrate her Golden Jubilee in 2002 called Party at the Palace sold 100,000 copies in its first week of release, making the Queen the first member of the Royal Family to be awarded a gold disc.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip at St Paul's Cathedral in 2012

25 Her Majesty has endured 37 Royal Variety Performances.

26 Diageo, the world's biggest distiller, put 60 decanters of Scotch whisky up for sale for £100,000 apiece for the Diamond Jubilee.

27 According to Margaret Rhodes, the Queen's cousin, HM's alcohol intake never varies. She takes a gin and Dubonnet before lunch, with a slice of lemon and a lot of ice. She will drink wine with lunch and a dry Martini and a glass of champagne in the evening. That comes to 6 units per day, which would make Her Majesty a binge drinker by government standards.

28 On a state visit to Australia in 1954, during an argument with Prince Philip, the Queen was filmed "hurling shoes, threats and sporting equipment, and venting the sort of regal fury that, in another age, would have cost someone their head", according to writer Robert Hardman. "I'm sorry for that little interlude," she later said, "but, as you know, it happens in every marriage."

29 The Queen has been at the saluting base of her troops in every Trooping the Colour ceremony since the start of her reign, with the exception of 1955, when a national rail strike forced the cancellation of the parade.

Queen Elizabeth II on a walk-about in Portsmouth during her Silver Jubilee tour of Great Britain, 1977

30 A message of the Queen's congratulations to Apollo 11 astronauts for the first moon landing was microfilmed and deposited in a metal container on the satellite's surface.

31 What gives the Queen the giggles? Ali G impressions, according to Prince William.

32 The Queen is the 40th monarch since William the Conqueror obtained the crown of England.

33 The Queen, the head of the Church of England, first entered a mosque in July 2002, in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire.

34 During her reign, the Queen has undertaken 82 state visits.

35 She's received over 100 inward state visits since 1952.

36 The first "royal walkabouts", designed so the Queen could meet the public, took place in Australia and New Zealand in 1970.

37 She has broadcast a Christmas message every year since her coronation in 1952, except in 1969.

38 The Queen was born on 21 April 1926, but her official birthday is celebrated in June.

39 The Royal Collection, a vast hoard of art including 7,000 paintings, 40,000 watercolours and drawings, and about 150,000 old master prints by the likes of Rubens, Rembrandt, Titian and Raphael, is held in trust by the Queen for the nation.

40 The monarch has answered over three and a half million items of correspondence and more than 175,000 telegrams sent to centenarians in the UK and the Commonwealth.

41 The Queen has sat for at least 129 portraits during her reign, painted in a variety of styles. Lucian Freud's 2001 depiction of HM divided critics.

42 At least one and a half million people have attended garden parties at Buckingham Palace or the Palace of Holyroodhouse during Elizabeth’s reign, with around 8,000 people head through the gates every year.

43 Owing to the collapse of the Empire the Queen has presided over the loss of sovereignty of more countries than any of her predecessors.

44 Since 1952, the Queen has conferred more than 400,000 honours and awards.

45 The Queen's first portrait was painted in 1933, when she was seven.

46 During her reign the Queen has paid five official visits to the United States.

47 Twelve prime ministers have been in office during Elizabeth II’s reign: Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan, Alec Douglas-Holme, Harold Wilson, Ted Heath, James Callaghan, Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

48 The Queen became the first monarch to open the doors to Buckingham Palace to the public in 1993. She needed the cash for the repair of Windsor Castle after a fire.

49 The design of the 1st class stamp is to be updated for the Diamond Jubilee in 2012. The traditional gold was be replaced with a blue colour scheme and the words "Diamond Jubilee" highlighted in iridescent ink.

Queen Elizabeth rides her horse in the grounds of Windsor Castle, 2002

50 Elizabeth has four children – Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward – and eight grandchildren, Peter and Zara Phillips, Princes William and Harry, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn.

51 Apparently, it has always been the Queen's dream to see one of her horses win the Epsom Derby. Aureole came second in 1953, and in 2011 Carlton House – the favourite - managed third.

52 The Queen's racing colours are a purple body with gold braid, scarlet sleeves and black velvet cap with gold fringe. They were adopted from those used by Edward VII; one of his most successful horses was called Diamond Jubilee.

53 The Queen and duke have been married for 68 years.

54 Queen Victoria was the last, and previously the only, British monarch to celebrate a diamond jubilee.

55 The Queen has bought a lot of Christening gifts thanks to her 30 godchildren.

56 In 1974, the Queen had to call off a visit to Australia and Indonesia when she was called back to the UK when a snap general election was called. It was the first time a sovereign had to interrupt and overseas tour.

57 The Queen's official visits have ranged from the Cocos Islands, 5.4 square miles with a population of 596 to China, 3.7 million square miles with a population of 1.34 billion.

58 In May 2011, the Queen became the first British monarch to visit the Republic of Ireland since the creation of the of the Irish state in 1922.

59 The Queen has laid her wreath at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday every year of her reign, except in 1959, 1961, 1963, 1968, 1983 and 1999 when she was either pregnant or overseas on official visits.

60 On a state visit to Brazil in 1968, the Queen was given two sloths. The animal gifts she receives tend to be placed in zoos, though a horse donated by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands was housed in the Royal Mews.

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