On February 6, 1952, after a long illness, King George VI of Great Britain and Northern Ireland died in his sleep. Princess Elizabeth, the oldest of the king’s two daughters was in Kenya at the time of her father’s death; she was crowned Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953, at age 27. Here are 5 things you didn’t know about the longest-reigning British monarch....
She Sent an Email Before the Internet Existed Long before the modern internet came about, the Queen sent her first email. In fact, she was among the first heads of state to do so. On March 26, 1976, the Queen sent an email from the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment (RSRE) in England via the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), the precursor to the Internet. Her participation was part of a networking technology demonstration.
She Has Two Birthday Celebrations Every Year While most people celebrate their birthdays just once a year, the Queen has two celebrations: one on April 21 (her actual birthday), and another in June. While that may seem odd, and perhaps even a little narcissistic, it's not a royal whim. Rather, the holding two annual birthday celebrations for the monarch is a tradition that dates back to 1784. The reason? To accommodate London's unpredictable weather. Inclement conditions could easily impact the military celebratory parade, an event for the public, so the royals celebrate in June when the weather is more likely to be pleasant.
Passport and Driver's License Requirements Don't Apply to Her Anyone who wishes to lawfully drive a vehicle on the road needs a valid driver's license, and crossing international borders requires a valid passport. But such documentation is not required for the Queen. She's free to drive without a license and she doesn't need a passport to visit other countries, partly because both documents are issued in her name. Over the years, in her duties as Queen, she's visited more than 100 nations on over 250 international trips, and has done all without the need to flash her passport at customs.
She Served in The Military
While we may be used to seeing the royal princes partaking in military training, some may be intrigued to know that the Queen herself was also a member of the military. In fact, she served in World War II.
Elizabeth joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1945 where she worked as a truck driver and mechanic. She is the only female royal family member to have served in the military, and the only current living head of state to have served in the Second World War.
She Has Reigned As The Head Of The Monarchy Longer Than Anyone Else in British History Queen Elizabeth II is the longest-reigning monarch in Britain's history, a feat that is quite remarkable. On February 6, 2017, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Sapphire Jubilee, which marked her 65th year on the throne. (Only Queen Victoria came close, reigning for 64 years.) The Commonwealth celebrated by issuing new coins and a new stamp, and many gun salutes helped to mark the momentous occasion.