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10 Facts You May Not Know About Queen Elizabeth II

How much do you know about the longest-reigning monarch in British history?

Netflix’s “The Crown,” which chronicles the early reign of Queen Elizabeth II, continues to get rave reviews, currently holds a 90 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has now been nominated for three Golden Globes—including Best TV Drama Series.

The show premiered on Nov. 4, 2016 and is Netflix’s most expensive show ever made, costing over $130 million.

While we await the winners of the 74th Golden Globe Awards ceremony on Sunday, Jan. 8, here are some interesting facts you may not know about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II:

1. She Was An Unexpected Queen.

When Queen Elizabeth II was born, it was not expected she would become queen.

Her uncle, King Edward VIII, was crowned king following the death of her grandfather, George V.

Fate had other plans however: Edward fell in love with American divorcee Wallis Simpson, and in order to marry her, Edward had to give up the crown.

Elizabeth’s father then became King George VI, paving the way for Elizabeth to one day become queen.

2. She’s Been Queen For More Than 60 Years.

Queen Elizabeth II has been queen since Feb. 6, 1952, when she was just 25 years old. She was crowned on June 2, 1953 after her father, King George IV, died of coronary thrombosis.

The Queen is currently the longest-reigning monarch in British history. Her 60-year reign was celebrated in June 2012 with the Diamond Jubilee. One million people attended the celebration.

3. She’s Involved In A Huge Number Of Charities And Organizations.

The Queen is patron of 620 charities and organizations. She has held 433 of them since she became queen in 1952.

4. She’s Received Some Extremely Unusual Gifts.

The Queen has received a number of interesting gifts during her reign, including two tortoises, an elephant and a canary.

She received the canary after a visit to Germany in 1965 and the tortoises and elephant in 1972.

5. She’s An Expert Driver And Was A Mechanic In WWII.

In 1945, before she was queen, Elizabeth joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service to help the war effort.

She is reportedly the only British monarch in history to be properly trained to change a spark plug.

Her volunteer work lasted a few months and gave her a look into the life of the non-royal world.

6. She’s Fluent In French.

The Queen learned French from multiple French and Belgian governesses. She often speaks with ambassadors and heads of state from French-speaking countries, so this skill has proven quite handy.

7. She’s A Pretty Epic Correspondent.

The Queen has answered more than 3.5 million pieces of correspondence.

She has even sent more than 540,000 telegrams to couples celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary.

When it comes to the holidays, she has sent more than 45,000 Christmas cards during her reign.

8. Talk About Puppy Love…

The Queen has owned more than 30 corgis during her reign, with her first coming as a present for her 18th birthday.

Many of her dogs have been descendants of her first dog, which was named Susan.

She even once demoted a footman for giving her corgis whiskey.

The Queen has also introduced her own breed of dog—the “dorgi”—after one of her corgis mated with a dachshund that belonged to Princess Margaret, the Queen’s sister.

9. The Pope Paid Her An Rather Unprecedented Visit.

Pope John Paul II visited Britain in 1982; he was the first Pope to do so for 450 years. The Queen, the Titular Head of the Church of England, received the Pope at Buckingham Palace.

10. She Was Nearly Shot By A Former Guardsman.

The Queen was once almost shot by a member of her royal guard.

A former guardsman told The Times Diary that he spotted the Queen on a walk around the palace grounds at around 3 a.m. He believed he had come across an intruder and says he nearly shot her. The Times Diary reports the Queen said, “Next time I’ll ring through beforehand so you don’t have to shoot me.”

Eager to learn more about this fascinating monarch? You can stream the first season of “The Crown” now on Netflix.