50 Surprising Facts About Queen Elizabeth II

With the future of the throne in place, Elizabeth has scaled back her duties due to advancing age. Now is a great time to look deeper into Queen Elizabeth’s world and find out who she is, what she likes, and some of the facts about this incredible woman you may not know.Newsweek
She doesn’t have a drivers license. Ben Stansall/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II has been queen since 1952, making her the longest reigning monarch in Britain’s history. She also holds the title of the longest-reigning female monarch in world history. So yes, she’s a big deal.

But with 89 years of photos and information about the queen out there, it’s surprising how much isn’t known about the queen. The little things, like her full official title (Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith), that she speaks fluent French, or that her favorite cake is honey and cream sponge.

One of the most surprising things about her is that she was never supposed to be queen in the first place. In 1936, her uncle and heir to the throne, Edward VII, abdicated it, leaving his younger brother, Albert (who became George VI upon coronation) to become king. Elizabeth, being the oldest daughter, became the rightful next heir, and the rest is history.

In a radio speech delivered from South Africa on her 21st birthday, Elizabeth declared, "I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong."

The current transfer of the throne is less dramatic than Elizabeth’s path to queen. Prince Charles is next-in-line, followed by his son, Prince William.

With the future of the throne in place, Elizabeth has scaled back her duties due to advancing age. Now is a great time to look deeper into Queen Elizabeth’s world and find out who she is, what she likes, and some of the facts about this incredible woman you may not know.

She’s seen seven Popes during her reign. Arthur Edwards/WPA Pool/Getty Images
She loves corgis. Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images
She sent her first tweet in 2014.Chris Jackson/Getty Images
She’s visited 117 countries.Reg Lancaster/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
As a child she was homeschooled.Public Domain
During World War II, Elizabeth learned how to drive a military truck. Imperial War Museum
She doesn’t need a passport. Arthur Edwards/WPA Pool/Getty Images
She’s had 139 official portraits.Herbert James Gunn/Royal Collection
Her first official portrait was in 1933, when she was just seven-years-old. Philip Alexius de László / Royal Collection
There have been thirteen U.S. presidents during her reign.SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
There have been thirteen prime ministers during her reign. REUTERS/Kieran Doherty
Her horses have won over 1,600 races. This makes her one of the most successful racehorse owners in history. REUTERS/Hannah McKay