10 Shocking Things You Didn’t Know About Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II has ruled England for over 70 years beating Queen Victoria’s 63 years of reign. During that time, she became a national symbol of strength and integrity. Her reign also represented something more significant: the maintenance of the United Kingdom under a constitutional monarchy in one of the most diverse countries in the world.

She was famous and loved even when her popularity almost plummeted because she didn’t address the death of Princess Diana; she regained the people’s hearts with her grace. Her supporters adored her and even kept keen on her diet. There was a time when garlic and onion were trending because Queen Elizabeth II prohibited them at the palace. After all, members of the Royal family had to do a lot of talking, and those spices caused bad breath. Her Majesty’s life was reverenced and celebrated through her reign.

Everyone knows that Queen Elizabeth II is the longest-reigning monarch in Britain and a celebrated historical figure. But did you know all of these facts? Here are 10 shocking facts you didn’t know about Queen Elizabeth II.

1. Queen Elizabeth II participated in World War II


Once her father’s brother, King Edward VIII, abdicated the throne, her father, King George VI, who was once the Duke of York, became the king. From then on, Queen Elizabeth II became the heir to the throne. She was taking on public duties, and during World War II, she served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service(ATS), the branch of the British army formed for women. At the ATS, Queen Elizabeth II trained as a lorry driver and mechanic.

2. Queen Elizabeth’s husband was never regarded as King, and they were related

Queen Elizabeth II was married to Philip Mountbatten when she was 23 years old, and their marriage lasted for 73 years as Philip died in April 2021. Philip Mountbatten was a Prince of Greece and Denmark and met Queen Elizabeth II as a child. He and Queen Elizabeth II were related through Queen Victoria as third cousins. Prince Philip was the great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria through his maternal side, and Queen Elizabeth II was associated with the same queen through her father, King George VI, the father. The latter was a great-grandson of Queen Victoria.

Prince Philip was never regarded as a king as he would have outranked Queen Elizabeth II. Together, they conceived four children: Charles III; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. Prince Andrew has been known as her Majesty’s favourite child.

3. Queen Elizabeth II became a queen at 25 years old

When Queen Elizabeth’s father died in February 1952, she became the queen at 25. That was when the Commonwealth countries were just seven; South Africa, United Kingdom, Pakistan, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sri Lanka. On her death at 96 years old, the commonwealth countries are now 54, including the United Kingdom and Nigeria. Queen Elizabeth II was the monarch of the United States and 14 countries under the Commonwealth.

4. Queen Elizabeth II had two birthdays

Each year, the queen had two birthdays. Like every monarch since King George II back in 1748 who wanted to celebrate his birthday when it was warm and bright enough for outdoor occasions, Queen Elizabeth II also chose another birthday outside her actual date – the 21st of April.

Her Majesty initially chose the second Thursday of June, which was her father’s actual birthday but later changed it to the second Saturday of June after seven years in power. This day is popularly known as the Troop of Colours.

5. Queen Elizabeth II wasn’t born in a hospital

Rarely said, but Queen Elizabeth II wasn’t born in a hospital, nor was she born with natural means. Her Majesty was born in a townhouse in Mayfair, London, via caesarean, and she was the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York – who later became King George VI and Queen Mother. Though Queen Elizabeth II was named Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, she was nicknamed Lilibet by her grandfather King George V, who picked up the name from the queen as a toddler who couldn’t pronounce her name.

6. Queen Elizabeth II became a queen because of a scandal

Remember how the queen’s father, King George VI, became a king because his brother, King George VIII, abdicated the throne? Yeah, that was the scandal that removed King George VIII’s family from the line of succession and was transferred to King George Vi. King George VIII abdicated the throne because the woman he had chosen to marry, Wallis Simpson, was a divorcee and wouldn’t have been allowed to be the queen. He had to choose between the woman he loved and the throne – the choice he made thereof was obvious.

With this, Queen Elizabeth II has been said to get her succession to the throne due to a royal scandal.

7. Queen Elizabeth II termed a year annus horribilis because of sex scandals

Though the queen’s marriage with Philip lasted for 73 years, her children didn’t seem to key into a sweet marriage of commitment. Queen Elizabeth II termed 1992 as her annus horribilis, which means horrible year in Latin

In 1992, Sarah Ferguson, the wife of Queen Elizabeth’s favourite child, Prince Andrew, sparked the internet with a picture of her toe-sucking escapade with John Bryan, the then US financial adviser.

Secondly, the sweet love between Prince Charles and Princess Diana became sour when they both accused each other of cheating. This cheating led to rumours that the children Princess Diana had for Prince Charles – Princes William and Harry, were not biologically his.

Finally, Princess Anne, who got married to Captain Mark Phillips in 1973, had a divorce after 19 years of marriage.

8. Queen Elizabeth II was alleged to be racist and had a “white” monarchy


The queen’s entire monarchy was built on imperialism, racism and colonialism that inflicted suffering on not just Africans but also South and North Americans with no recovery to date. It was said that late into the 1960s, Buckingham palace banned people of colour from working in the palace for over eight years of Her Majesty’s reign.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry also gave up their roles as senior members of the Royal family because of racism and bullying within the family. An unrevealed royal family member allegedly commented on the colour of Megan’s children. Prince Harry himself had a viral video of him making racist comments before his racist claims within the royal family.

In the midst of this was the friendship between Nelson Mandela and Queen Elizabeth II. Mandela used to call her by her name (probably the only non-royal that could do that) and they appeared to be close friends before his death.

Another moment was when the queen saved South Africa from Margaret Thatcher’s apartheid sanctions.

9. Her Majesty was once the Queen of Nigeria


The queen has visited Nigeria twice during her reign. In 1956 when she toured the British empire, and in 2003 for a Commonwealth heads of government meeting.

Britain’s reign in Nigeria will not be completed without mentioning the 1897 Benin expedition that caused the Kingdom of Benin to be absorbed into Nigeria. With this was the loss of many artefacts scattered worldwide. Some have been returned, but those in the British museum remain as relics of their war spoils – unreleased even during the queen’s reign.

Not to forget, Queen Elizabeth II was once the Queen of Nigeria as she was the only reigning monarch when Nigeria was a sovereign state and was operating on an independent constitutional monarchy (a system of government in power is shared by a monarch with a constitutionally organised government) from 1960 to 1963.

Queen Elizabeth II visited 100 nations during her lifetime.

10. Her Majesty had escaped three assassination attempts

Queen Elizabeth II escaped assassination attempts on three different occasions and time gaps. The first was in 1970 on her travel with Prince Philip in Australia, where a log was placed on the road by unknown assailants, but luckily, the train was moving too slowly for the log of wood to cause an accident.

The second was in 1981 when a 17-year-old, Marcus Sarjeant, who wanted to be famous like John Lennon, attempted to kill the queen by firing six blanks from a startling pistol.

The third assassination attempt of Queen Elizabeth II was the same as the second when Christopher John Lewis, an aggravated 17-year-old, shot at the queen on her New Zealand tour.

Months before her death, Queen Elizabeth II suffered health setbacks since late last year that caused her to miss important events and even survived the pandemic in February.

Now that her Royal Highness has passed away, she will be buried in King George VI Memorial Chapel, St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. Her death has caused the launching of an operation termed “London Bridge has fallen“. In her lifetime, she saw 15 prime ministers and seven decades.

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