Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Interesting things you might not know about Queen Elizabeth II

Yesterday's kick-off to Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee year had many people wondering more about the life of the long-reigning monarch. Here is a partial list of trivia that is known about her majesty the queen:

Associated Press file photo.
Long live the queen!
When news of George VI's death swept the world on Feb. 6, 1952, it was the Privy Council of Canada -- headed then by prime minister Louis St. Laurent -- that rushed to be first among the
commonwealth nations to proclaim "with one voice and consent of tongue and heart" its "constant obedience" to the king's 25-year-old daughter, the new queen: "Supreme Liege Lady in and over Canada."
The headline in the Globe and Mail, "Canada First to Proclaim Princess Elizabeth as Queen," trumpeted the accomplishment. The Toronto Star likewise crowed that "Elizabeth was proclaimed Queen of Canada before she was proclaimed Queen of the United Kingdom."

Dame Agatha Christie
Mystery fan
The queen was particularly fond of crime thrillers by Agatha Christie. In 1971, Christie was made a dame for her contribution to the country as a writer. In England, the title dame is equivalent to that of "Sir" as in Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Elton John, who were honored for their musical and humanitarian contributions.

Royal riches
Forbes magazine estimated the queen's net worth to be $450 million. Among her riches is the historic collection of jewels owned personally by the monarch known as the Queen's Jewels (or the King's Jewels, when the monarch is male). Although the distinction is vague, these pieces, some of which date back to the 16th century, are separate from the British Crown Jewels. Of her many tiaras is the Vladimir Tiara, which has large cabochon emeralds. Queen Elizabeth II inherited it directly from her grandmother. She wore this tiara for several official photographs.

Chocolate biscuit cake.
Sweet tooth
According to former royal chef Darren McGrady, chocolate biscuit cake is "her majesty the queen's favorite afternoon teacake by far." It also was Prince William's favorite. "I used to prepare it for both of them when they had tea together. The queen would request the cake in the menu book for Sunday tea when she knew her grandson would be joining her from Eton," wrote the Royal Chef, http://www.theroyalchef.com/2011/03/prince-williams-wedding-cake/

Dog lover
The queen was given her first corgi as a gift for her 18th birthday in 1944. She named it Susan. Since then, she has owned more than 30 corgis. After one of the Queen's corgis mated with a dachshund named Pipkin, the world was introduced to a new breed of dog known as the "dorgi."

Associated Press file photo.
Royal etiquette
In anticipation of the royal wedding and the opportunity to meet Prince William and his bride along the parade route, many little girls enrolled in special schools to learn how to properly greet a prince or princess. Americans do not have to curtsy in the presence of the queen. However, as with Brits, anyone who addresses the queen for the first time should refer to her as "Her Majesty," then as "ma'am."

What to give a queen?
Queen Elizabeth has received everything from a feather cape and snail shells to a jaguar and sloths. Most recently, Queen Elizabeth was given an early gift from Canada to mark the 60th anniversary of her time on the throne: a diamond, gold and platinum brooch featuring a maple leaf encrusted with 60 individual diamonds, a gold cannon and a stylized crown set with a sapphire, emeralds and rubies.

Still of Helen Mirren in "The Queen."
Hollywood's queen
In the 2007 film "The Queen," actress Helen Mirren worn jewelry that was based on actual jewels owned by Elizabeth II, including her trademark 2 or 3 strands of pearls, Queen Victoria's bow brooch (worn at Diana's funeral), and Queen Mary's button earrings (the large pearl earrings each topped by a tiny diamond.)

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