Queen Elizabeth II: A few facts you may not know.
Do you know how the queen starts her day?
At 8 am her dresser enters the royal bedroom and places a tray with Earl Grey tea by the bedside. At the same time, the corgis rush into the bedroom. Then the dresser opens the heavy curtains wide to ensure that the light streams in.
At 9 am the queen walks through her sitting room and into her dining room and enjoys a comparatively frugal breakfast of one slice of granary toast with a smear of butter and a thin layer of dark marmalade.
The queen is a marvellous mimic.
She has a particular fondness for mimicking her favourite accents which include Cockney, Irish, Australian, Liverpool and of course, Yorkshire.
At one Royal Ascot meeting, a cockney in the crowd shouted out ‘Gi’ us a wave, Liz’. Prince Charles asked the queen what the man had shouted and the queen repeated it mimicking the accent perfectly.
What dictates the queen’s fashions?
When she is enjoying life in private, the queen wears muted colours, tweeds and tartans suitable for country life. But when she’s on official visits, it’s a different story. This is because she knows that the crowds will want her to stand out.
So she wears outfits that are mostly one bright color – blue, pink, green, yellow – with a matching hat. This way, even people who are far back in the crowds can say that they caught a glimpse of the queen. That’s show business!
The queen avoids having thirteen people at the dinner table.
My mum used to do this too. If ever there were thirteen of us sitting down to eat (not unusual at Christmas or other occasions) she would hastily recruit an extra guest, rustling them up from somewhere. To her, thirteen sitting together at the table was unlucky.
The queen has a different logic however. As Defender of the Faith and the head of the Church of England, she maintains that seating thirteen was reserved for Christ and the disciples — in other words The Last Supper. Maybe my mum’s superstition also had its roots there.
Do you know the only time the queen carries money?
It’s well known that the queen’s famous handbag contains no money. After all, when is she going to use it? But there’s only one time that she breaks this tradition. That’s when she’s going to church.
Her dresser will take a crisp banknote, fold it into quarters then iron it into a flat rectangle. The queen then slips this into her handbag to add to the collection plate at the end of the church service.
The queen’s security.
We hardly ever see any evidence of the security that surrounds the royal family. But in the nineteen eighties, then US president, Ronald Reagan, was due to visit the queen at Windsor Castle. A week before the visit, US operatives arrived at the castle to check out the security.
It was the first time an American president had stayed there. The queen smiled when she saw the US security detail arrive and her famous sense of humour came to the fore. She instructed a member of her household to convey the following message to them: ‘This is my castle and if the security is good enough for me, then it’s good enough for the president.’
What if the queen is taken ill when travelling?
Every precaution is taken to ensure that she isn’t. When she travels her hosts are briefed well in advance to serve only plain, fresh food. Local seafood in places where it might be contaminated is forbidden for example and if local water supplies are nor reliable, bottled water is sent ahead.
But when the queen travels, local hospitals put a small ward and operating theatre on standby, just in case. I have also heard that both the queen and Prince Charles take blood with them in case they need a transfusion and no matches can be found locally.
How many servants does the queen have?
Yes, this is a trick question. The queen herself was asked this question and with a twinkle in her eye said ‘Actually, I don’t have any. But we do have members of staff’.
About four hundred people work at Buckingham Palace, for example. But they are certainly not servants. Buckingham Palace isn’t a home but a place of work combined with a top-class hotel for visiting dignitaries and a public sightseeing venue. Therefore there are many staff in varied jobs but few who work actually with (or for) the queen.
A book of revelations
Most of the information you see here came from the book you see here but they are mere asides in what is a truly fascinating true story. The author worked for the queen and later for the Prince and Princess of Wales. He continued to work for Diana after she and Charles had separated.
She confided in him and called him her ‘rock’. But there’s much more in this book….
After Diana’s death, author Paul Burrell was accused by the Spencer family of stealing Diana’s jewellery, letters, clothing and personal belongings. He was arrested and there was a highly publicised court case. You’ll never guess who was responsible for setting the record straight.
A fascinating true story.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR