In 70 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II has experienced and accomplished historic things. But some things are not so well known to the public. For example, that the monarch is even the elected head of state in a country.
Born on April 21, 1926 at 2.40 a.m., Queen since February 6, 1952: The most important data on Queen Elizabeth II are known. But in the 70 years of their rule, a few curiosities and a number of numbers have accumulated. The German Press Agency presents a selection:
Animals: The Queen’s love for her dogs – especially corgis – and horses is world-renowned. What is less well known is that the Queen owns many more animals. To be precise: all dolphins and whales and sturgeon in British waters. This is due to a 1324 decree from the time of King Edward II, which designated the sea creatures as “Royal Fish” – and has never been changed. So in 2004 fisherman Robert Davies informed the Palace that he had caught a sturgeon in Swansea Bay. He was approved to keep the fish. In such cases, the “receiver of the wreck” is responsible.
Title: Elizabeth is Queen because her father was King. The title is usually inherited. But there is one exception: In Papua New Guinea, the Queen was elected Queen. After independence in 1975, parliament asked her to take over as head of state – she “graciously” agreed. In Tok Pisin Creole she is called “Missis Kwin” and “Mama belong big family”. More formally, her full official title is: Elizabeth II, By the Grace of God Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and her other realms and territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.
Danger of death: Only on Sunday did a man run into the Buckingham area because he wanted to see the Queen, and a few months ago a man managed to penetrate the grounds of the Windsor Castle residence. He had a crossbow with him. In fact, there are always critical incidents. In 1982, a man broke into the Queen’s bedroom at Buckingham Palace. He meant the queen no harm. It was different at least twice: On June 13, 1981, a 17-year-old fired bullets from a replica pistol at the Queen, who was on horseback near Buckingham Palace on her way to a parade. He was sentenced to five years in prison and served three. Months later, a 17-year-old shot the monarch in Dunedin, New Zealand, but missed. He was sentenced to three years in prison, and the crime was not officially known until years later.
Turbo: In March 2019, just before her 93rd birthday, the Queen gave up driving on public roads. But she couldn’t hand in her driver’s license because she doesn’t have one. Nor does the Queen have a passport. Because the documents are issued in their name. The first page of British passports states: “The Foreign Secretary of Her Majesty, Her Majesty, requests and requires all concerned to permit the bearer the freedom of transit without permission or hindrance and to afford him such assistance and protection as may be necessary .» The rule that neither a passport nor a driver’s license is required only applies to the monarch personally and not to her family.
Technology: As early as 1940, Elizabeth – as a 14-year-old heir to the throne – addressed the nation for the first time via radio. In a speech, she assured the British soldiers in World War II that they would support children and young people at home. Even as queen, she kept up with modern technology: her coronation in 1953, which was broadcast live by the BBC for hours, is considered a milestone in the breakthrough of television. The Queen was also one of the first to e-mail: on March 26, 1976, she announced the UK-US collaboration on a military programming language to the US Secretary of Defense.
Dream trips: The Queen traveled to more than 100 countries during her 70-year reign. Leader: Canada with 22 visits, in Europe France leads (x13). Elizabeth was officially abroad for the first time in 1947 as a princess, when she and her father King George VI. and her mother traveled to South Africa, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and the Bechuanaland Protectorate (Botswana). After her coronation, the Queen traveled 168 consecutive days from November 1953 to May 1954, visiting 13 countries. Language-wise, many visits pose few problems. Thanks to her French and Belgian governesses, the Queen speaks fluent French. In the meantime, however, she is represented abroad by family members. Her last trips took her to Germany and Malta in 2015.
Tea guests: It is not clear how many people the Queen has already shaken hands with. Hobby estimates speak of around 10,000 people she met in the course of a regular working year. This is also due to the more than 21,000 official appointments that she has completed during her reign. The most well-known occasions include state guests: the Queen has arranged 112 receptions. She saw not only 14 British Prime Ministers on the throne, but also 14 US Presidents. Only Lyndon B. Johnson did not meet her personally. There is a larger gap in the Catholic Church: Since her coronation, the Queen, as the secular head of the Anglican Church, has met four of the seven popes: John XXIII, John Paul II, Benedict XVI. and Pope Francis.