On this date in 1952, Elizabeth II became queen regnant of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms when her father, George VI, died.
Here are some things you may not have known about Queen Elizabeth II.
She was born by cesarean section on April 21, 1926, at her maternal grandfather’s home in Mayfair, London. Her full name, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, is in honor of her mother, her paternal great grandmother, and her paternal grandmother, respectively. Early, she had difficulty pronouncing her name and called herself “Lilibet,” which is what her immediate family ended up calling her. As a child she was described as being responsible, organized, sensible and well-behaved.
In 1952, Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, were beginning a tour of Australia and New Zealand with a stop in Kenya. They were staying in a treehouse at Treetops Hotel, near Mount Kenya, when George VI died at Sandringham House in Norfolk. She didn’t get the news until the next day. She chose to retain the name Elizabeth as her regnal name, and the royal party returned home to the UK.
On the advice of Winston Churchill and Queen Mary, it was decided that instead of a new royal house bearing Philip’s name of Mountbatten, the house would continue as the House of Windsor. Philip responded that “I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his own children.” Following Churchill’s resignation and Mary’s death, it was decided the last name of Mountbatten-Windsor would be given to all male descendants without royal titles.
Mary died about two months before Elizabeth’s June 2, 1953, coronation at Westminster Abbey. That ceremony was the first to be televised, with the exception of the anointing and communion portions.
Here are some quick facts about Elizabeth II:
In 1991, Elizabeth became the first British monarch to address a joint session of the United States Congress.
In 2015, she became the longest reigning British monarch and the world’s longest reigning queen regnant and female head of state in history. In October 2016, she became the longest currently reigning monarch and head of state following the death of the King of Thailand.
As of 2015, it was estimated that Queen Elizabeth’s estate is valued at about 340 million pounds, making her the 302nd richest person in the U.K.
Despite widespread criticism of the British monarchy as a system of government, Elizabeth remains personally popular. Some polls show she has favorability ratings as high as 90 percent.
In 2016, a story revealed Elizabeth’s still quick wit. She was walking near her 50,000-acre private estate of Balmoral in Scotland, dressed in tweeds and a headscarf, when a group of American tourists approached her and her bodyguard. The tourists, not recognizing her, asked if she lived in the area. She replied that she had a house nearby. One of the tourists supposedly asked her if she had ever met the queen. She replied truthfully, “No, but he has,” gesturing to the bodyguard.
Our question: How are Sandringham House and Balmoral Castle different from other British royal residences?
Today is Waitangi Day, commemorating the founding of New Zealand; and International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation Day.
It’s unofficially National Frozen Yogurt Day, and Pay-A-Compliment Day.
It’s the birthday of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who was born in 1911; musician Bob Marley, who was born in 1945; and musician Rick Astley, who is 51.
This week in 1991, the top song in the U.S. was “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” by C+C Music Factory.
The No. 1 movie was “Home Alone,” while the novel “Cold Fire” by Dean Koontz topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.
Weekly question: What country did the world’s longest-reigning monarch rule over?
Submit your answer at triviapeople.com/test and we’ll add the name of the person with the first correct answer to our winner’s wall … at triviapeople.com. We’ll have the correct answer on Friday’s episode.
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