Queen’s Diamond Jubilee: facts you never knew about the monarch

Queen Elizabeth is marking her 60th year of rule in 2012, and the country is joining together in celebration of the occasion.

This weekend a series of prestigious events will be staged in London, including the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, the Diamond Jubilee Concert, and the State Procession.

As the country comes together to mark 60 years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, we take a look back at the monarch’s achievements, personal life and other interesting facts from her time on the throne.

1. The Queen is the second longest serving monarch, with Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years, taking the lead. George III reigned for 59 years, James VI of Scotland (James I of England) for 58 years, Henry III for 56 years and Edward III for 50 years.

2. We all know the Queen is a huge dog lover, but did you know that Her Majesty has owned more than 30 corgis - her favourite type of dog – in her lifetime, the first of which was a pooch called Susan, gifted to the Queen on her 18th birthday? Lizzy currently owns three corgis, called Monty, Willow and Holly.

3. The Queen also introduced a new breed of dog called the “dorgi” when one of her corgis mated with a dachshund named Pipkin which belonged to Princess Margaret. There have been 11 dorgis - Tinker, Pickles, Chipper, Piper, Harris, Brandy, Berry, Cider, Candy and Vulcan.

4. The Queen learnt to drive In 1945.

5. The Queen has a mammoth 30 godchildren. How does one remember all the birthdays?!

6. During her Silver Jubilee, the Queen started her tour in Glasgow on May 17, touring around 36 counties in the UK and Ireland.

7. The Queen's wedding ring was made from a nugget of Welsh gold which came from the Clogau St David's mine near Dolgellau. Her official wedding cake was made by McVitie and Price Ltd, using ingredients given as a wedding gift by Australian Girl Guides.

8.The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh have been married for 64 glorious years, taking their vows on November 20, 1947 in Westminster Abbey. The wedding gown was designed by 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.

9. During her reign, the Queen has attended 35 Royal Variety performances.

10. She has also launched 21 ships in that time.

11. You might not see the Queen as a footie fan, but in fact Her Majesty attended her first football match, the FA Cup Final, in 1953.

12. In the average year the Queen will host more than than 50,000 people at banquets, lunches, dinners, receptions and Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace. The Queen also hosts more than 8,000 people each year at garden parties and investitures at Holyroodhouse, during Holyrood Week. Phew!

13. Her Majesty has sat for 129 portraits during her reign.

14. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh took part in the first ever first 'Royal walkabout' in 1970, to allow the Royals to meet as many people as possible - not simply officials and dignitaries.

15. Queen Victoria was the last and to date the only British Monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee, marking it in 1897 when 77. During Queen Elizabeth’s reign, there have been only three Diamond Jubilees of Heads of State celebrated throughout the world: King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand celebrated 60 years on the throne in 2006; the former Sultan of Johor (now a part of Malaysia) celebrated his in 1955; and the late Emperor Hirohito of Japan celebrated his in 1986.

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