6 Funny Facts About Queen Elizabeth II

She’s 88 years old. She’s been on the British throne for 62 years. And she’s the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, the Head of the Commonwealth, and the constitutional monarch of 16 different member states in the Commonwealth of Nations. There’s no doubt about it: Queen Elizabeth II has become one of the most important and talked-about monarchs in British history, but there’s a lot about Queen Elizabeth II that isn’t common knowledge. 

She may come across as the prim-and-proper Queen of England, but Elizabeth Windsor is a human too, you know; and she also has a few funny stories hidden underneath that crown of hers:

Queen Elizabeth
Photo credit: Paul Shaw

1. She’s been the Queen of England for a loooooong time

Yes, we all know she celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in 2012, but let’s just put this into perspective for a moment:

Over the course of her reign, there have been 12 different U.S. Presidents, six Roman Catholic Popes, and 12 British Prime Ministers. As a matter of fact, Tony Blair was the first Prime Minister to be born during her reign. (Yes, she is THAT old).

2. She’s so special she doesn’t need a driver’s license, a license plate or a passport

The Queen is the only living person in Britain who is allowed to drive without a license or a license plate on her car, and since all British passports are issued in her name, she doesn’t need a passport to travel around the world either.

Some of the many perks of being the Queen of England…

3. She owns 88 swans as well as every sturgeon, porpoise, whale and dolphin in the UK

Besides being the Queen of 16 different countries, in 2005 she claimed ownership of 88 cygnets (AKA young swans), and she owns each and every single sturgeon, whale and dolphin swimming in the United Kingdom’s waters. This is because a 1324 statute declared by King Edward II states: “Also, the King shall have…whales and dolphins taken in the sea or elsewhere within the realm,” meaning that any of these animals captured within three miles of shores of the United Kingdom are claimed on behalf of the Crown.

Queen Elizabeth
Photo credit: Michael Chu

4. She sent her first e-mail before you did

On March 26th, 1976, the Queen sent her first e-mail from a British army base while participating in a network technology demonstration at the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment in Malvern, England. The e-mail was transmitted over ARPANET (the “forerunner” of the Internet as we know it today), which means she was the first head of state to use electronic mail.

5. Corgis are clearly her favourite dog breed

The Queen has owned over 30 different corgis during her reign, with her first dog being Susan (who was given to her as a present on her 18th birthday). Many of her later corgis were actually descendants of Susan because she loved her first pup so much. As a matter of fact, the Queen is such a big corgi fan she actually demoted a footman for giving one of her corgis whiskey; (the horror!)

And another fun fact for the day: Elizabeth also introduced a new breed of dog (The “dorgi”) after one of her corgis mated with Princess Margaret’s daschund Pipkin.

6. She knows how to change a spark plug

When Elizabeth was 18 years old she joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War II, and proudly put on a pair of coveralls and trained as a mechanic and military truck driver. This would make her the only British monarch in history to be trained to change a spark plug, and the only female member of the royal family to enter the armed forces.