1696432I’m not an official Royal Watcher, but I do take an interested peek at them now and again. My grandmother on my mother’s side hailed from Wookey Hole, England, and it was always rumored by my mother that Grandmother and the Queen “were just like that.” (Imagine my index and middle finger crossed and raised high in the air.)

Queen Elizabeth was born on April 21, but her birthday is celebrated in June. Yesterday officially marked her 88th trip around the sun, and I spent a portion of my morning reading the newsfeeds marking the occasion.

As a public service, I now offer up these little tidbits from the Queendom:

Did you know that the Queen is patron of more than 620 charities and organizations? (And I’ll bet she can’t even name 40 of them!)

During her reign, she’s received a variety of live animals as gifts, such as jaguars, sloths, and black beavers. She’s also been sent pineapples, eggs, a box of snail shells, a grove of maple trees and 7kg of prawns.

The Queen has opened 15 bridges in the United Kingdom, and launched 23 ships. She learned to drive in 1945, when she joined the army. She was a Girl Guide and a Sea Ranger. She has sat for 139 official portraits. She sent her first email from a British Army Base in 1976, and in 1997, she launched Buckingham Palace’s first official website.

Like me, she loves horse racing. Her racing colors: purple body with gold braid, scarlet sleeves and black velvet cap with gold fringe.

Technically, the Queen owns the sturgeon, whales, and dolphins in the waters around the U.K. A statute from 1324 is still valid, and if captured within three miles of U.K. shores, the “fish” may be claimed on behalf of the crown.eliabeth_beatles-1

And finally, 50 years ago yesterday, Queen Elizabeth “ordered” the Beatles to attend her birthday party—so of course, they did!

 Long live the Queen!