Believe It or Not

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In facts...

Elizabeth met her future husband, Prince Albert, Duke of York, at a tea party, aged five. She gave him the crystallized cherries from her cake.
Her mother often said: "Nobody is boring, and if you find somebody or something a bore, the fault lies in you."
During World War I, she and her sister Rose caught a German spy, a dentist who got his servicemen patients drunk enough to spill secrets. They refused medals from the King.

Young Duchess
A sign set up in the middle of the busiest street in Nelson, New Zealand, in 1927, read: "Traffic must proceed quietly. Horns must not be sounded." This was to enable her to recover from tonsillitis in a nearby hotel.
On this 1927 tour of Australia and New Zealand, Elizabeth was obliged to accept three tons of toys and 20 parrots as gifts for "Baby Betty" (Princess Elizabeth, b. 1926), who remained in London.
When Albert and Elizabeth were crowned King and Queen in 1937, coronation novelties for sale in London included hairbrushes and cakes of soap bearing sculptured busts of them in bas relief. There was also a bathroom gadget that held, side by side, a bust of His Majesty and a toothbrush.

She said she never felt the same after her coronation. The diarist Harold Nicolson noticed it too, saying: "Nothing could exceed the charm and dignity which she displays, and I cannot help feeling what a mess poor Mrs. Simpson would have made of such a situation."
"At teatime in Buckingham Palace last week Princess Margaret Rose, 8, was invited to have a buttered scone with her father, mother and Queen Mother Mary. Proudly she strutted up and down, swinging a cane, wearing her new coronet. 'Who are you supposed to be, dear?' asked Queen Elizabeth. 'Are you Daddy or the Mad Hatter?' 'No, I'm Johnnie Walker,' said Princess Margaret Rose." (Time, May 17, 1937)
During World War II, she learned to shoot in the garden of Buckingham Palace and delivered broadcasts in fluent French to occupied France.

Queen Mother
In August she often repairs to her castle in Mey, on the windswept coast of north Scotland. There she loves to listen to her collection of bagpipe records, and, until she was 80, she donned waders and went fishing for salmon with her grandson Prince Charles. Once she noticed a farmhand struggling to herd his lambs into a pen. She scrambled over the stone wall to assist him.
A South African once accosted her with the challenge, "I don't think much of royalty. I think South Africa ought to be a republic." With flawless equanimity, she replied, "That's how we feel in Scotland too, but the English won't allow it."
Given a nebuchadnezzar of champagne (20 bottles worth), she quipped that even if her family didn't come for the holidays, "I'll polish it off myself."
She likes helicopters and jokes that "the chopper has changed my life as conclusively as it did Anne Boleyn's."
Her eyesight is poor. She uses a magnifying glass to read, but won't wear glasses. Both hips have been replaced.
Her politics are conservative. She has favored De Gaulle, the Shah of Iran and Margaret Thatcher.
She dislikes Jimmy Carter because he greeted her with a kiss on the lips. "Nobody has done that since my husband died," she fumed.
For her 85th birthday she took Concorde, eating a gourmet lunch and sitting in the cockpit as the plane broke the sound barrier.

...and figures
5 Homes
6 Grandchildren
6 British monarchs in her lifetime
9 Brothers and sisters
10 Age when fluent in French
29 Years of marriage to "Bertie"
41 Guns to be used in Royal Birthday Salute in Hyde Park
48 years as a widow
74 and 69 Age of her two daughters, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret
118 Official engagements she undertook in Britain during her ninetieth year, on top of many unofficial ones
440 Races won by her horses
$6 million Reported size of her overdraft last year
1937 Year Adolf Hitler pronounced her the "most dangerous woman in Europe," because of French public adulation