20 facts about the Queen you probably didn’t know

In 2015, Elizabeth II passed the milestone set by Queen Victoria to become Britain’s longest-serving monarch. In 2022, she became the first British monarch to Platinum Jubilee.

Here we reveal 20 facts about the Queen you probably didn’t know.

  • She’s allergic to cats
  • She’s our 40th monarch since William the Conqueror
  • She doesn’t have a passport
  • She’s the only person in Britain who can drive without a licence or numberplates on her stalking cars
  • She always starts the day with a copy of Racing Post
  • She drinks Darjeeling tea for breakfast and a Dubonnet and gin in the evening
  • She dislikes Champagne and only drinks it when taking a tiny sip at toasts
  • She prefers simple dishes such as grilled sole on a bed of spinach for lunch, but is partial to Special K for breakfast and chocolate cake and jam sandwiches at teatime. She’s a fan of Bombay mix
  • Her racing colours are a purple jacket with gold braid and scarlet sleeves worn with a black velvet cap with a gold fringe
  • She was the first head of state to have sent an email—from an army barracks on March 26, 1976
  • She’s had a mobile phone since 2001 —it was given to her by Prince Andrew, pre-programmed with family numbers
  • She’s the first British monarch to receive a gold album, for Party at the Palace
  • She’s the only British monarch properly trained to change a spark plug
  • When asked what her regnal name was to be, she replied: ‘My own, of course— what else?’
  • She has a keen sense of humour, which is celebrated in The Wicked Wit of Queen Elizabeth II, compiled by Karen Dolby and What A Thing To Say To The Queen by Thomas Blaikie
  • She collects pepper grinders
  • As Windsor Castle is underneath the Heathrow flightpath, Her Majesty is adept at recognising types of aeroplane by their roars
  • She’s the first British monarch to celebrate her diamond wedding anniversary
  • What does she carry in her handbag? Reading glasses, mints, a fountain pen, tissues or a handkerchief, lipstick and a compact. It sometimes contains a metal hook that The Queen uses to hang it from a dining table. It also holds good-luck charms from her children
  • One important function of the handbag is to send signals to staff. If all is well, it’s held in the crook of Her Majesty’s left arm. When she wishes to move on, it’s dropped to the side significantly. Its appearance on the table at lunch or dinner indicates that The Queen is ready to leave in five minutes. Most ominous is when the bag is placed on the floor—it means she’s bored and wants to be rescued

A version of this article was published in 2016.

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