Queen Elizabeth II: Things You Didn't Know About Her Majesty

By | April 19, 2020

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Queen Elizabeth II waves during a walk in 2016. (Getty Images)

On this day 94 years ago, the longest reigning monarch in British history was born. Although no one could have known it when she slid into the world on April 21, 1926, Queen Elizabeth II of England would become one of the most recognizable faces on planet Earth. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, her image has appeared on the currency of 35 different countries, more than any other person in history. Let's celebrate her royal legacy with fun facts about the Queen you may not know!

Queen Elizabeth II Wasn't Born To Be Queen

It's hard to believe, but the longest reigning monarch wasn't meant to be a monarch at all. For one thing, her father was never supposed to be king. Albert Windsor was the second boy born to King George V, and it was expected that his older brother, Prince Edward, would ascend the throne when their father died. That all changed, however, when Prince Edward fell in love with a glamorous American divorcee named Wallis Simpson. Despite the fact that the Church of England was basically founded for the sake of royal divorce, it was nonetheless a major religious, cultural, and political scandal for him to marry a divorced woman. Edward's heart overcame ambition, and he served as king for less than a year before he abdicated his throne to little brother Albert.

Because Albert never had a son, his eldest daughter, Elizabeth, became heir apparent at the age of 11. Nowadays, the fact that he never had a son wouldn't be an issue at all thanks to Parliament, who changed the law in 2013 to allow the monarch's first-born child to become their heir regardless of gender.  

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Queen Elizabeth II in 1959. (Wikimedia Commons)

Queen Elizabeth II Is So Rich

Sure, we all know the royal family is rich, but it's mind-boggling to find out just how rich. The Windsor family overall is valued at an estimated $88 billion. To put that into perspective, if you earned $1,000 a day, it would take you 2,738 years just to make $1 billion.

Before you go storming Buckingham Palace, however, you should know that 1) this estimation encompasses the entire royal family, not just Her Royal Purse Strings, and 2) a lot of this so-called value lies more in "the royal brand and other, less tangible contributions" rather than cold hard cash or actual property. Queen Elizabeth's own private wealth is still over half a billion dollars, but the royal brand also contributes over $1.7 billion annually to the British economy by way of merchandise and tourism. Maybe it's okay that the queen has over 5,000 hats and a 3,106-carat diamond broach—in the end, the people of Britain seem happy enough to foot the bill for their beloved Queen.