HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE QUEEN!

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Queen Elizabeth II actually turned 81 on April 21, but does not officially celebrate her birthday until June 16, 2007. You have plenty of time to shop, and in between, why not sign her birthday card online? Just click above and leave your best personal wishes and appreciation for the Royal visit to the Colonies!

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EIGHTY-ONE FASCINATING QUEEN ELIZABETH II FACTS

1. Queen Elizabeth II is the 40th monarch since William the Conqueror.

2. At 76 years old in 2002, the Queen was the oldest monarch to celebrate a Golden Jubilee. James I was the youngest at 51 years old.

3. Her Majesty has handed out 387,700 awards and honours in her reign.

4. The Queen has held 540 investitures.

5. The monarch can speak fluent French.

6. She has received 3million items of correspondance since the beginning of her reign.

7. Around 1.1million people have attended garden parties at the Queen’s homes.

8. The Queen has held Tuesday evening audiences with 10 British Prime Ministers.

9. Tony Blair is the first British Prime Minister to be born during the Queen’s reign.

10. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh hold small lunch parties to meet distinguished people from all professions, trades and vocations.

11. She is patron to 620 charities and organisations.

12. During her reign, the Queen has undertaken 256 official overseas visits to 129 different countries.

13. The Royal yacht Britannia, launched by the Queen in 1953, travelled more than a million miles on royal and official duties until it was decommissioned in 1997.

14. The Queen first used Britannia to go on a tour of the Commonwealth with the Duke of Edinburgh in May 1954. She last used it to travel to Arran in August 1997.

15. She has visited Australia 15 times, Canada 23 times, Jamaica six times and New Zealand 10 times.

16. The Queen has visited Edinburgh nearly every year since 1952.

17. The most unusual gifts she has received are a live jaguar and some sloths. She has also been given beavers and 7kg of prawns.

18. Her majesty has sent around 100,000 telegrams to people in the UK and the Commonwealth on their 100th birthdays.

19. She has sent more than 280,000 telegrams to couples in the UK and Commonwealth celebrating their 60th wedding anniversaries.

20. The Queen’s real birthday is on April 21, but it is celebrated in June.

21. She has attended 34 Royal Variety performances.

22. The monarch has opened 15 bridges in the UK during her reign.

23. The Queen has given more than 91 state banquets during her reign.

24. Since 1952, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have undertaken 78 state visits.

25. The monarch has launched 23 ships in her lifetime.

26. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have sent 37,500 Christmas cards.

27. The Queen has given out about 78,000 Christmas puddings to staff.

28. Every year, the Queen sends Christmas trees to Westminster Abbey, Wellington Barracks, St Paul’s Cathedral, St Giles, Edinburgh, The Canongate Kirk, Edinburgh, Crathie Church and local schools and churches in the Sandringham area.

29. She learnt to drive in 1945 when she joined the Army.

30. The Queen was a Girl Guide and Sea Ranger.

31. She travelled on the London Underground for the first time in May 1939.

32. The Queen is a keen photographer and enjoys taking pictures of her family.

33. Queen Elizabeth was born at 17 Bruton St, London W1 on 21 April 1926.

34. She became the first reigning sovereign to have a child since Queen Victoria with the birth of Prince Andrew in 1960.

35. The Queen has 30 godchildren.

36. The first football match she attended was the 1953 FA Cup Final.

37. She has only ever missed one Trooping the Colour ceremony since the start of her reign, in 1955, when it was cancelled due to a national rail strike.

38. The Queen has sat for 139 official portraits during her lifetime, including one for Rolf Harris.

39. The Queen sat for the first and only hologram portrait in 2003.

40. There have been 11 sculptures of the Queen.

41. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh did their first royal ‘walkabout ‘ on a tour to Australia and New Zealand in 1970.

42. The first TV film about the family life of the Royal Family was made in 1969.

43. The first time Buckingham Palace was opened to the public was in 1962 when a gallery was opened in the private chapel.

44. The Queen opened the first “children’s trail” in the Buckingham Palace garden in the Summer of 2005.

45. The only time the Queen has had to interrupt an overseas tour was in 1974 when she had to rush back to Britain from Australia and Indonesia when a general election was suddenly called.

46. The Queen has opened Parliament every year except 1959 and 1963, when she was pregnant.

47. The Queen went on her first state visit as Princess Elizabeth to South Africa in February 1947. Her Majesty’s first state visit as Queen was technically to Kenya, when King George VI died and the Queen acceded the throne during the tour.

48. The Queen’s covered 43,618 miles on her first Commonwealth tour in 1953. She visited Bermuda, Jamaica, Panama, Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, the Cocos Islands, Ceylon, Aden, Uganda, Libya, Malta and Gibraltar.

49. In 1986, the Queen was the first British Monarch to visit China.

50. The Queen has made a Christmas broadcast to the Commonwealth every year of her reign except 1969, when a repeat of the film ‘Royal Family’ was shown and a written message from The Queen issued.

51. In 1953, the Queen made her first Christmas broadcast from overseas, live from New Zealand.

52. The Queen sent a message of congratulations to Apollo 11 astronauts for the first moon landing on July 21,1969. The message was micro-filmed and deposited on the moon in a metal container.

53. The Queen has met the first astronauts to go into space, the first woman in space and the first man on the moon at Buckingham Palace.

54. The Queen sent her first email in 1976 from an Army base.

55. There have been six Archbishops of Canterbury during The Queen’s reign.

56. The Queen played host to Pope John Paul II at Buckingham Palace in 1982 when he became the first pontiff to visit Britain in 450 years.

57. The Queen first visited a UK mosque in July 2002.

58. The Queen has attended 50 Royal Maundy services during her reign at more than 39 different cathedrals.

59. The Queen has owned more than 30 corgis during her reign.

60. The Queen also introduced a new breed of dog known as the “dorgi” when one of Her Majesty’s corgis was mated with a dachshund.

61. The Queen also breeds and trains Labradors and Cocker Spaniels at Sandringham.

62. The Queen’s first pony was a Shetland pony called Peggy which was given to her by her grandfather, King George V.

63. The Queen also takes a keen interest in horse breeding. She has about 25 horses in training each season.

64. The Queen’s racing colours are: Purple body with gold braid, Scarlet sleeves and Black velvet cap with gold fringe.

65. In recognition of her interest in the sport, the Queen is Patron of a number of racing societies, including the Royal Pigeon Racing Association.

66. The Queen’s wedding dress was designed by Sir Norman Hartnell and was woven at Winterthur Silks Limited, Dunfermline, in the Canmore factory, using silk that had come from Chinese silkworms at Lullingstone Castle.

67. The Queen’s wedding ring was made from a nugget of Welsh gold which came from the Clogau St David’s mine near Dolgellau.

68. The Queen’s dressmakers over the years have included Sir Hardy Amies, Sir Norman Hartnell, Karl-Ludwig Couture and Maureen Rose. The Queen’s hat-makers have been Frederick Fox, Philip Somerville and Marie O’Regan.

69. The Queen has the largest pink diamond in the world in her extensive jewellery collection.

70. The Queen has laid her wreath at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday every year of her reign, except in 1959, 1961, 1963, 1968, 1983 and 1999 when she was either pregnant or overseas on an official visit.

71. The Queen has visited the sets of Coronation Street, EastEnders and Emmerdale.

72. In 1997, The Queen launched Buckingham Palace’s first official website.

73. In 1998, The Queen introduced “theme days” to promote and celebrate aspects of British culture.

74. In June, 2002, 200 million people watched on TV as the Queen hosted the first public concerts in the garden of Buckingham Palace to celebrate her Golden Jubilee.

75. The Queen is the first member of the Royal Family to be awarded a gold disc after 100,000 copies of the CD of the ‘Party at the Palace’ concert, were sold.

76. The Queen hosted the first women-only event “Women of Achievement” at Buckingham Palace in March, 2004.

77. In November 2004, The Queen invited the cast of Les Miserables in the West End to perform for French President Jacques Chirac at Windsor Castle.

78. The Queen acted in a number of pantomimes during World War Two including playing the part of Prince Florizel in Cinderella in 1941.

79. In 2005, The Queen claimed ownership of 88 cygnets on the river Thames. They are looked after by the Swan Marker. The first Royal Swan Keeper was appointed around the 12th Century.

80. The Queen owns the sturgeons, porpoises whales and dolphins captured within three miles of UK shores.

81. The Queen reportedly did not watch the movie about herself starring actress Helen Mirren.

A royal source said: “There is no way Her Majesty would sit down and watch a film about the days after the death of Princess Diana.

“The memories and the subject matter are far too close to the bone.”

“EVERYBODY IS UP TO SOMETHING” sm

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