Queen Elizabeth II has died aged 96, making her eldest son – formerly known as the Prince of Wales – King Charles III. In a statement, Buckingham Palace said: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.
“The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.” She might have been our longest-reigning monarch, but given that the royal family is shrouded in privacy, there’s a lot that the British public might not know about Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen rarely gave interviews, leaving people with little insight into her life aside from her the fact that she had a penchant for corgis and boasted an eclectic hat collection. From her surprising education history to how many times she was portrayed on screen, here are the most interesting facts about the Queen.
1. She was portrayed in roughly 100 films and TV shows
According to data from IMDb, the Queen was portrayed by actors on screen an estimated 100 times, with notable portrayals including Claire Foy, who played her in Netflix’s The Crown and Helen Mirren, who won an Oscar for her role as Elizabeth II in The Queen.
2. She drank one glass of champagne every night before bed
Some swear by an apple a day, however, the Queen’s daily rituals came complete with an elevated sense of grandeur. According to the Queen’s cousin, Margaret Rhodes, our late royal monarch took a gin and Dubonnet before lunch and would drink a glass of wine with her meal, followed by a dry martini and a pre-bedtime flute of champagne. Were she to do this every day, Her Majesty would have been consuming six alcohol units per day, which would have qualified her as a binge drinker by government standards.
3. She didn’t have a passport
While most of us would be fairly immobile without either a passport, it was all fair game for the Queen, who could happily travel overseas without needing the booklet the rest of us require to leave the country. “As a British passport is issued in the name of Her Majesty, it is unnecessary for The Queen to possess one,” read the royal family’s website before her death, adding that all other members of the royal family, including The Duke of Edinburgh and The Prince of Wales, do have passports.
4. She had two birthdays
The Queen was born on 21 April 1926, however, her “official” birthday was celebrated by the nation in June at the annual Trooping the Colour parade, which has been a traditional celebration since 1748.
5. She saw 15 different UK Prime Ministers come into power
From Sir Winston Churchill to Liz Truss, Her Majesty saw it all.
6. She was an Arsenal fan
The monarch was outed as a fan of the North London football team by none other than Jeremy Corbyn, himself an avid Gooner, during a speech in the House of Commons in 2016. “Now, we know the Queen is absolutely above politics. She may be above football, too, but many locals harbour this quite secret view that she’s actually, privately, a Gooner,” the Labour party leader revealed. The club’s former midfielder Cesc Fabregas has also claimed that Her Majesty told him she was “a fan” of the team during a reception at Buckingham Palace in 2007.
7. She speaks fluent French
The Queen was one of the most well-travelled British monarchs in history and delivered a number of official speeches in French when visiting the country, showing off her prowess for languages.
8. She hosted more than 50,000 people at Buckingham Palace each year
Thanks to a thriving social calendar, the Queen was truly the hostess with the mostess, welcoming thousands of people into the Palace at various lunches, dinners, banquets and garden parties.
9. She was married for more than 70 years
In 2017, the Queen and Prince Philip celebrated 70 years of marriage, marking the couple’s platinum wedding anniversary.
They married at London’s Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1946 and reportedly celebrated the milestone with a private, low-key party at Windsor Castle.