Friday, April 21, 2006

This Day in History: April 21, 1926

Queen Elizabeth II is born

From Wikipedia

Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor), born on 21 April 1926, is Queen of sixteen independent nations known as the Commonwealth Realms. These are the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. By the Statute of Westminster 1931 she holds these positions equally; no one nation takes precedence over any other.

She became Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon upon the death of her father, King George VI, on 6 February 1952. As other colonies of the British Commonwealth (now Commonwealth of Nations) attained independence from the UK during her reign she acceded to the newly created thrones as Queen of each respective realm so that throughout her 54 years on the throne she has been Monarch of 32 nations. Elizabeth II has seen a number of her former territories and realms leave this shared relationship and become kingdoms under a different dynasty, or republics. (See Commonwealth Realm — Former Commonwealth Realms.)

Today about 128 million people live in the 16 countries of which she remains Head of State.

She also holds the positions of Head of the Commonwealth, Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Lord of Mann and Duke of Lancaster.

She is currently the second-longest-serving head of state in the world, after King Bhumibol of Thailand and the fourth-longest serving British monarch (after Queen Victoria, King George III and King James VI of Scotland). Her reign of over half a century has seen ten different Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom and numerous Prime Ministers in the other Commonwealth Realms of which she is or was Head of State.

Also here are some really interesting facts about her life I thought I should share:
From ABC News

1. Blowin' Out The Candles Twice? — The queen's real birthday is on April 21, but will be officially celebrated this summer. No, it has nothing to do with more cake. The tradition of having an official birthday on a different date began for practical reasons. Monarchs who had their birthdays in the winter months often encountered problems due to cold, wet weather spoiling parades and other outdoor celebrations. This year the queen will blow out another set of candles on June 17.

2. Life's a Party — Over the course of her reign, more than 1 million people have attended garden parties hosted by the queen. In 2002 the queen went all out for her Golden Jubilee (50 years in power) by having a concert open to the public in the lush gardens of Buckingham Palace. It wasn't all bagpipes or classical music either —the queen attended the pop concert featuring rock icons Ozzy Osbourne, Paul McCartney, Elton John and Phil Collins.

3. Blue Ribbon Overload — Since 1952, the queen has gathered over 387,700 honors and awards. And it's not only for her stable of horses or collection of roses. The queen became the first member of the Royal Family to be awarded a gold disc from the recording industry for the record CD sales of the Golden Jubilee rock concert.

4. Air Miles Galore — As much as Queen Elizabeth II loves Scotland and her regal home in London, she's spent a good portion of her time in the air. The queen has traveled to 129 different countries on 256 official overseas visits. It seems like she's got a soft spot for maple syrup because the queen visited Canada 23 times vs. Australia 15 times.

5. From Sloths to Prawns: Gifts Fit for a Queen? — Live animals rank high among the more unusual gifts, including jaguars and sloths from Brazil, and two black beavers from Canada. Worry not, they're not parading around the gardens, they now live at the London zoo. It doesn't end there. The queen has also received pineapples, eggs, a box of snail shells, and prawns.

6. At The Wheel — Horses and custom-built, chauffered Rolls Royces and Bentleys are fine for outings but it wasn't always so. Queen Elizabeth learned how to drive in 1945 when she joined the Army. Speaking of transportation, the queen also ventured into the London subway. In May 1939, she and her governess Marion Crawford along with Princess Margaret dared to take the Tube.

7. Pretty Picture — Despite all of her official duties, the queen has found the time to pose for 139 official portraits during her lifetime. Her Majesty was just 7 years old when she sat for her first portrait in 1933.

8. Dogs vs. Cats — Dogs win out in the Royal household. The queen has owned more than 30 corgis during her reign, starting with Susan who was a present for her 18th birthday. Currently five corgis pad around the palace and in case you want to send them treats, they're called: Emma, Linnet, Monty, Holly and Willow.

9. Mad Scientist? — The queen has dabbled in science too. She's introduced a new breed of dog known as the "dorgi" when one of Her Majesty's corgis was mated with a dachshund. Cider, Berry, Candy and Vulcan all keep the five corgis company. This sounds like a doggie soap opera in the making.

10. Bling, Bling — The palaces rule but that's nothing compared to the piles of jewelry. Most are Crown Jewels and some were inherited but let it be known (J. Lo, you've got serious competition) that the queen has the largest pink diamond in the world. The tiaras may sparkle and shine but that's nothing compared to a necklace of large square cut aquamarines and diamonds with earrings (a gift from Brazil) that the queen last wore on her visit to monarch-less France in 2004.

Happy Friday everyone! I’m really excited for this weekend. And today for lunch everyone at work is going to this super yummy restaurant called Brian’s and they have the best mac & cheese in the world. I’m not kidding about this.


Related Products:

Miniature Crown of the Queen Mother
Celebrate Her Majesty's birthday with this regal-piece crown. Each of these miniatures, handcrafted in England under Royal Warrant, is an exact 1/12 scale replica of the actual Crown of the Queen Mother in the Tower of London. Cast in pewter, gilt in gold and/or plated in silver, then hand-set with dozens of sparkling Swarovski® crystals. 1¼".


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