8 things you probably never knew about Queen Elizabeth II

  • Queen Elizabeth II is the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch in history.
  • She's ruled over the United Kingdom as a constitutional monarch since her 1953 coronation.
  • The queen and her family are frequently in the news — but there are some facts about Queen Elizabeth II that might fly under the radar.


Queen Elizabeth II has had quite a career.

Not only is she the longest-reigning British monarch in history — she's also the longest-reigning current monarch in the world, and the longest-serving current head of state. On Saturday, April 21, she turns 92 years old.

She's the first UK monarch to ever celebrate a sapphire jubilee, which marked her 65-year reign in 2017. CNN reported that, should the queen still be reigning on February 6, 2022, she will be the first British monarch to celebrate a platinum jubilee.

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8 wild facts about the queen
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8 wild facts about the queen

Elizabeth was a favorite of her grandfather, King George V.

In "Queen and Country: The Fifty-year Reign of Elizabeth II," biographer William Shawcross wrote that the monarch made for "a surprisingly playful figure" who loved to play games with his first female grandchild. British politician Winston Churchill also reportedly described her as "a character."

The queen has at least two family nicknames — "Lilibet" and "cabbage."

Shawcross wrote in "Queen and Country: The Fifty-year Reign of Elizabeth II" that her grandfather coined "Lilibet." The family nickname also may have arisen from the way Queen Elizabeth II pronounced her own name as a small child.

Town and Country reported that the queen's husband Prince Philip also may affectionately refer to her as "cabbage" — possibly a twist on the popular French pet name "mon petit chou," which means both "my little cabbage" and "my little pastry puff."

Elizabeth II reportedly made the first ever royal transatlantic telephone call in 1939.

The 13-year-old called her parents King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, who were touring Canada at the time, according to"I Never Knew That About Royal Britain"

Queen Elizabeth reportedly fell in love with Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark when she was 13.

"Fifty Years the Queen: A Tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Her Golden Jubilee" biographers Arthur Bousfield and Garry Toffoli mark the summer of 1939 as the beginning of her romantic interest; the then-18-year-old Royal Navy midshipman escorted Elizabeth and her sister Margaret on a tour of the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.

For her 1953 coronation, the queen's coronation gown featured symbolic embroidery that reflected the Commonwealth at the time.

Biographer Robert Lacey wrote in "Monarch: The Life and Reign of Elizabeth II" that the dress featured the English rose, the Scottish thistle, the Irish shamrock, the Welsh leek, the Australian wattle, the Canadian maple leaf, the New Zealander silver fern, the South African protea, the Indian and Ceylonese lotus flowers, and the Pakistani jute.

The queen was the victim of one of the worst royal security breaches in modern history. 

On the night of July 9, 1982, she awoke to discover Michael Fagan in her bedroom, the BBC reported. Fagan had reportedly managed to dodge guards and electronic alarms, according to UPI. A security alarm that the queen pressed didn't go off, as it wasn't properly set up. A footman who had been out walking the queen's corgis subsequently returned and subdued Fagan, according BBC.

Queen Elizabeth is the first-ever head of state to open not one, but two Olympic Games in two different countries.

She helped to kick off the 1976 Montreal Games, according to the Montreal Gazette. The queen also made a splashy appearance in the 2012 Summer Games, starring with James Bond actor Daniel Craig in an action-packed short film run during the opening games, Business Insider reported.

The finances of Queen Elizabeth and her son and heir Prince Charles were scrutinized after their names appeared in the leaked Paradise Papers.

The leak revealed that millions of dollars from The Duchy of Lancaster and The Duchy of Cornwall — private estates belonging to the royals — had been invested offshore. Spokespeople from both duchies denied wrongdoing and pointed to the fact both royals voluntarily pay taxes on their incomes, Business Insider previously reported.

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Her career was recently fictionalized in the Netflix historical drama series "The Crown," and the royal family is often in the news. But that doesn't mean there aren't a few facts out there about the queen that you might not have heard before.

Here's a look at some surprising facts about Queen Elizabeth II.

RELATED: Leaders the queen has outlasted

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Every world leader Queen Elizabeth II has outlasted
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Every world leader Queen Elizabeth II has outlasted

United States President Dwight Eisenhower

(Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

French President Rene Coty

(Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Russian Leader Georgi Malenkov

(Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

Russian Leader Nikita Khruschchev

(Photo via Getty Images)

British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan

(Photo by Terry Disney/Central Press/Getty Images)

British Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden

(Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

French President General Charles de Gaulle

(Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

United States President John F. Kennedy

(Photo via Getty Images)

British Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home

(Photo by Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

United States President Lyndon B. Johnson

(Photo via Getty Images)

German Chancellor Ludwig Erhard

(Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

British Prime Minister Harold Wilson

(Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

German Chancellor Kurt-Georg Kiesinger

(Photo via Getty Images)

United States President Richard Nixon

(Photo via PA)

British Prime Minister Edward Heath

(Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

French President Pompidou

(Photo by J. Cuinieres/Roger Viollet/Getty Images)

German Chancellor Willy Brandt

(Photo by Mike Lawn/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

United States President Gerald Ford

(Photo by: Photo12/UIG via Getty Images)

French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing

(Photo credit ARCHIVE/AFP/GettyImages)

German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt

(Photo by Thomas Imo/Photothek via Getty Images)

Russian Leader Leonid Ilich Brezhnev

(Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

British Prime Minister James Callaghan

(Photo by David Ashdown/Keystone/Getty Images)

United States President Jimmy Carter

(Photo via Getty Images)

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

(Photo via Getty Images)

United States President Ronald Reagan

(Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

French President Mitterrand

(Photo via PA)

German Chancellor Helmut Kohl

(Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Russian Leader Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov

(Photo credit should read AFP/Getty Images)

Russian Leader Konstantin Chernenko

(Photo via Getty Images)

Russian Leader Gobrachev

(Photo by Peter Turnley via Getty Images)

United States President George H.W. Bush

(Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)

British Prime Minister John Major

(Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)

Russian Leader Boris Yeltsin

(Photo via TASS / Valentin Cheredintsev via Getty Images)

United States President Bill Clinton

(Photo credit should read GERRY PENNY/AFP/Getty Images)

French President Chirac

(Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Prime Minister Tony Blair

(Photo by Pool Photograph/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder

(Photo credit JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin

(Photo by Julian Herbert/Getty Images)

United States President George W. Bush

(Photo credit STEPHEN HIRD/AFP/Getty Images)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

(Photo credit JOHN STILLWELL/AFP/Getty Images)

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown

(Photo via PA)

French President Nicolas Sarkozy 

(Photo by EMPICS Entertainment/PA)

Russian Leader Dmitry Medvedev

(Photo by Anton Novoderezhkin\TASS via Getty Images)

United States President Barack Obama

(Photo by Lewis Whyld - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Prime Minister David Cameron

(Photo by John Stillwell/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

French President Francois Hollande

(Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

British Prime Minister Theresa May

(Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

United States President Donald Trump

(Photo by Molly Riley/Pool via Bloomberg/Getty Images)

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SEE ALSO: Queen Elizabeth has a fortune worth over $500 million — here's where the royal family got their riches

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