Queen Elizabeth II has logged world records for being the longest-serving monarch in British history, and in the history of the world. No other monarch has reigned as long as she has.
The Queen’s lifetime achievement was marked on February 6, 2017, when Her Majesty had her Sapphire Jubilee, a reminder that she has sat on the throne as the Queen of England for record-breaking 65 years.
Since Queen Elizabeth II holds such an important title, which practically makes her one of the most powerful women in the world, she does have some special privileges.
She doesn’t have to sing the national anthem, God Save the Queen, as it is dedicated to her. She is also not obligated to pay taxes, though it’s said the Queen pays them anyway, voluntarily.
A still-active legal statute from the 14th century says she is also the owner of all “whales and sturgeons taken in the sea or elsewhere within the realm,” according to Mental Floss.
But what are the most intriguing privileges of being the Queen?
About the Queen’s name and surname
The now 92-year-old reigning monarch is the second in its country’s history to bear the name Elizabeth, though her name has nothing much to do with 16th century Queen Elizabeth I.
The Queen’s full name by birth is Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, a name that truly honors her own mother Elizabeth, and also her great-grandmother Queen Alexandra, and her grandmother Queen Mary. The latter two are ancestors from the line of the Queen’s father.
Regarding her family name of “Windsor”: the Queen is the fourth British monarch of the House of Windsor, a branch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha which was renamed by King George V during World War One (taking the name from Windsor Castle) due to anti-German sentiment of the public.
But in 1960, Elizabeth and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, opted for another change of the surname. Their official surname now reads Windsor-Mountbatten.
The Queen, however, never has to actually use her last name. For obvious reasons — everyone knows who she is. There is only one Queen Elizabeth and she is free from specifying which Elizabeth she is. Her signature normally reads Elizabeth R., with R. denoting her status of Regina (Latin for Queen).
She is well-traveled and without a passport
Another gain for Queen Elizabeth is that she doesn’t use a passport when she travels overseas. In Britain, all passports are officially issued in the Queen’s name, so it apparently doesn’t make sense that she owns one, too.
Passport-free, Her Majesty has traveled wide and far. She has been to over 120 countries during her official visits as the head of state.
In addition to the Commonwealth countries, she has also seen other far-flung places such as the Middle East, Mexico, Botswana, and Russia.
According to the Telegraph, “the Queen has traveled more than 1,032,513 miles, equivalent to 42 journeys around the entire circumference of the Earth.”
Her trip of longest duration was a 1953 Commonwealth tour, a journey that measured an astonishing 44,000 miles, for which she was “armed with 12 tons of luggage.”
The last time the Queen made a state visit was in late 2015 when she flew to Malta.
The Queen has never paid a visit to Israel, perhaps due to political reasons, nor Greece, possibly due to the estranged relationship between her husband’s birth country and his family history.
The list of souvenirs the Queen has taken home, as you might imagine, is exotic to say the last. From Fiji: a grass skirt and whales teeth; from the Seychelles: an intricate collection of shells, from Cameroon: an elephant.
Canada and the United States have respectably gifted an ice-hockey t-shirt and cowboy boots to the Queen, not that we’ve seen evidence of her wearing them.
The Queen doesn’t need a driving license
The Queen mastered her driving skills during her time being with the Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War II.
Still only a princess during the wartime, she opted to join the military unit of women who fulfilled duties as drivers, mechanics, or postal workers.
The engagement makes Her Majesty the only woman from the royal family who has taken part in military service, and she remains the single living head of state today who served in WWII.
Aside from that, if someone asks Her Majesty to show her driving license, well she doesn’t own one.
Just like passports, driving licenses in Britain are issued under Her Majesty’s authority.
An anecdote tells us how the now late Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, who was a guest of the Queen at her Balmoral residence in Scotland, was taken by surprise in 2003.
King Abdullah was about to get a tour around Balmoral when he was told to take the front passenger seat. The Queen, who was 77 years old at the time, befuddled her guest by hopping behind the driver’s seat of her Land Rover.
“To his surprise, the Queen climbed into the driving seat, turned the ignition and drove off,” recounted Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, at the time serving a term as British ambassador to Saudi Arabia, for the Sunday Times.
Queen Elizabeth was probably the first and the last woman to ever give a ride to King Abdullah. His country lifted an age-old ban on issuing driving licenses to women only in 2018. Rumor has it the Queen talked to him the entire time while driving, even after he remarked she should watch on the road.
Animals: the Queen’s ‘love relationship’ with corgis
It’s a widely known story that the Queen loves her corgis. She has been keen to this breed ever since she was a child, when her father brought home the first Pembroke Welsh corgi called Dookie.
For her 18th birthday in 1944, Elizabeth received Susan and her love for corgis was sealed for eternity. Susan went on to be the stepping stone for a royal corgi breeding program that has produced all corgis that have barked within the royal quarters ever since.
The breeding program has been overseen personally by the Queen through at least 14 generations and over the period of 50 years, according to Vanity Fair.
But at present, the Queen also owns two “dorgis” named Candy and Vulcan. This new crossbreed was engineered when one of her corgis mated with a Dachshund named Pipkin that was owned Princess Margaret. It basically means the Queen has created her own breed of dogs.
The pair of dorgis, accompanied by Holly and Willow, two corgis owned by Her Majesty, appeared on photographs issued by the Buckingham Palace on the occasion of the Queen’s 90th birthday in 2016.
The Queen has taken care of at least 30 different corgis during her reign. And she always looks pretty happy around them.
She celebrates her birthday both in April and June
Well, only a Queen can have her own slice of birthday cake twice a year.
Just as earlier occupants of the British throne, Her Majesty gets to celebrate two birthdays. The first one is her real one, the second is her public official birthday.
Queen Elizabeth was born on April 21, 1926, and this is the day when she celebrates privately with close family members. The day is formally observed with gun salutes made from three different locations: Hyde Park, Windsor Great Park, and the Tower of London.
The Queen’s official birthday is celebrated with a lavish ceremony, the Trooping the Colour, on the second Saturday of each June.
The exact date of the ceremony varies almost every year, but mid-June is chosen as there is a much better chance of good weather for the outdoor celebrations.
On her official birthday, Elizabeth II also makes an appearance at Buckingham Palace. While the U.K. holds the Trooping the Colour ceremony, other realms of the Commonwealth join in by declaring a public holiday to honor their Queen’s birthday.