The Queen celebrates two birthdays. Her actual birthday is 21 April, this year she will be 90. The Queen’s official birthday is second Saturday in June. The official birthday is held in the summer, so celebrations are less affected by the weather. On her official birthday, Her Majesty is joined by other members of the Royal Family at the spectacular Trooping the Colour parade which moves between Buckingham Palace, The Mall and Horseguards’ Parade as well as a public appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
When she resides in London, the Queen meets with the prime minister every Tuesday. Throughout Her Majesty’s reign she has met with ten prime ministers including Winston Churchill back in 1951-55, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and now David Cameron.
Technically The Queen still owns all the whales, dolphins and sturgeons for three miles off the coast of the UK. Traditionally, the British Monarch also retains the right to ownership of all unmarked mute swans in open water, but only exercises ownership on certain stretches of the River Thames and its surrounding tributaries. Once a year, ‘Swan Upping’ is a means of establishing a swan census through a process of ringing the swan’s feet and today also serves to check the health of swans. Swan Upping occurs annually during the third week of July.
The Queen was the elder daughter of Prince Albert, the Duke of York and his wife (Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon). She had a younger sister called Margaret Rose.
Queen married Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh in 1947.
The Queen heard of the death of her father whilst she was on tour in Kenya. Her Coronation was held at Westminster Abbey on the 2 June 1953.
She has four children – Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Andrew, Duke of York and Edward, Earl of Wessex. She also has eight grandchildren and a growing number of great grandchildren.
Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms, with over 800 staff members attending to its upkeep. It has its own chapel, swimming pool, doctor’s surgery and cinema.
1992 was a difficult year for the Queen, who called it her annus horribilis. Windsor Castle caught fire and the marriages of her three eldest children foundered.
In June 2012 the Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee – 60 years on the throne. She is now Britain’s longest serving monarch, beating Queen Victoria’s record of 63 years.
The Queen is the constitutional monarch, that is the non-party-political head of state, of 16 of the 53 Commonwealth nations. These countries include the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Jamaica.