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25 Facts About Queen Elizabeth II Most People Don’t Know

Queen Elizabeth II may be notoriously private, but that only makes Britain's longest-reigning monarch that much more fascinating. Here are 25 little-known facts about Canada's Head of State.

Queen Elizabeth II in LiverpoolPhoto: Shaun Jeffers/Shutterstock

The Queen’s proper title

The Queen’s full title—Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith—is rather a mouthful.

A beaver creating a damPhoto: ShutterStock

The Queen’s gift from Hudson’s Bay

In the 17th century, the Crown granted the Hudson’s Bay Company the right to exploit resources around Hudson Bay. The fee? Two elk skins and two black beaver pelts to be presented to the British royalty during a so-called Rent Ceremony upon visits to Canada. On July 14, 1970, in Winnipeg, rather than offer Queen Elizabeth the animals in their customary form, Hudson’s Bay gave her two live beavers that hammed their way through the proceedings. The frisky pair was later placed in the care of the London Zoo.

Check out Queen Elizabeth’s top Canadian milestones.

Queen Elizabeth in Malta in 1940sPhoto: McCarthy's PhotoWorks/Shutterstock

Long live the Queen

During the Queen’s seven decades on the throne, there have been seven popes, 12 Canadian prime ministers and 14 governors general.

Following the Queen’s fascinating journey on the Netflix series, The Crown? Here are a few brilliant The Crown quotes to live your life by.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince PhilipPhoto: Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock

The Queen’s go-to jewelry

In addition to horses, corgis and dorgis (a breed she introduced that’s a cross between a corgi and a dachshund), Queen Elizabeth II has a passion for jewelry. A wardrobe staple: the Williamson Brooch, fashioned from a pink diamond given to her by Canadian geologist John Thorburn Williamson as a wedding present. Williamson later offered her 203 white diamonds from his mine in what is now Tanzania, and the whole was used to form the jonquil-shaped bauble. 

Take a look back at the most memorable royal tours of Canada.

Queen Elizabeth Ii on the steps of St. Paul's CathedralPhoto: Mr. Pics/Shutterstock

The Queen’s gift from the RCMP

A committed equestrian, the Queen—who was still riding into her 90s—has been presented with several horses over the years. Between 1969 and 1986, at the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony, she rode a black mare named Burmese given to her by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Astronaut in spacePhoto: Shutterstock

The Queen’s message to Chris Hadfield

The Queen and her communications team released 32 messages and statements in 2013, one of which was addressed to superstar spaceman Chris Hadfield:

13 March 2013

I am pleased to transmit my personal best wishes, and those of all Canadians, to Colonel Christopher Hadfield as he takes command of the International Space Station on Wednesday. Our thoughts and best wishes are with him and the entire crew, as are our prayers for an eventual safe return to family, friends and fellow Canadians. 

Elizabeth R. 

Buckingham PalacePhoto: Shutterstock

What does the “R” in “Elizabeth R.” mean?

The R in “Elizabeth R.” stands for “Regina,” Latin for “Queen.”

Find out six everyday things the Queen has never done in her lifetime.

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She celebrates her birthday twice a year

Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her birthday on April 21—and then does it again in June. It’s actually been a tradition since 1784 that the British monarch’s birthday celebrations are held on a day that is not their actual birthday. That’s because London weather could literally put a damper on the military celebratory parade if not held in more climate-friendly months.

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She was only a tween when she fell in love with her distant cousin

According to a 1957 article in TIME, Prince Philip met Elizabeth, his third cousin, when they were children (they shared the same great-great-grandparents, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who were first cousins themselves). From the time she was 13, she was besotted. She never fell for another man, though he had other relationships while she grew into adulthood. Their love stood the test of the time and in 2007, Queen Elizabeth II became the first British monarch to celebrate her diamond wedding anniversary with 60 years of marriage to Prince Philip. Sadly, the Duke of Edinburgh passed away on April 9, 2021.

Take a look back at the long, full life of Prince Philip.

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Her grandmother disapproved of one of her wedding gifts

During her reign, the Queen has received some interesting gifts from jaguars and sloths to a grove of maple trees and 15 pounds of prawns. But it was one of her 1947 wedding gifts that had her grandmother concerned: According to the BBC’s royal correspondent at the time, Elizabeth’s grandmother, Queen Mary, disapproved of Mahatma Gandhi’s present of hand-spun lace calling it “indelicate.” Turns out she’d mistaken the tray cover for the Indian leader’s loincloth.

Here’s more royal wedding trivia most people don’t know.

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