It's official: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has begun a whirlwind year of Platinum Jubilee celebrations to mark a historic reign of 70 years on the throne.
The celebration kicked off on Feb. 6, which marks seven decades to the day since a 26-year-old Princess Elizabeth became Queen, following the death of her father King George VI.
While the day is marked by the tragic loss of her father, the Queen is also looking forward to using the celebrations as a way for loved ones to come together across the globe.
"I hope this Jubilee will bring together families and friends, neighbours and communities – after some difficult times for so many of us – in order to enjoy the celebrations and to reflect on the positive developments in our day-to-day lives that have so happily coincided with my reign," she shared in a message on Saturday to mark the occasion.
After all these years in the public eye there are still plenty of surprising things about Queen Elizabeth II that you may not know. That's why we've gathered some of the little-known facts about Her Majesty in honour of this year's historic celebrations.
If you thought you knew everything about the Queen, read on.
She’s doesn’t just rule in the U.K.
Did you know that the Queen does not just reign in the U.K? Other countries include members of the Commonwealth like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Saint Lucia, Jamaica, Ghana and others.
When she is travelling to these countries, she is the only U.K. resident that does not need a passport or a driver’s license.
She speaks a second language
Oui, c’est vrai – It’s true. She is fluent in French. When she is in a French-speaking country, she speaks the language fluently and does not need a translator.
She favours bright colours when doing public appearances
When making public appearances, the Queen always wears brightly coloured coats so that she can be spotted immediately by her onlookers. According to her biographer, Robert Hardman, she was once quoted as saying, “I can never wear beige because nobody will know who I am.”
She's a creature of habit
While many of us love to change things up, Queen Elizabeth II has been wearing the same pink nail polish since 1989: Essie’s Ballet Slippers, an elegant and timeless shade of sheer pink.
She has also been known to drink a glass of champagne every night before bed as a way to cap off the day.
The Queen sends secret messages with her handbags...
It's rare that the Queen is ever seen without a handbag, and that’s because she uses them to send signals to her staff. For example, when she wants to leave dinner, simply setting her bag on top of the table lets her aides know the party is ending shortly and she’s ready to depart.
She also switches her handbag from her left hand to her right to indicate when it's time for a conversation to politely begin wrapping up.
She has two birthdays
While her official birthday is April 21, it is always celebrated on a warm Saturday in June. Given that English weather can be quite unpredictable in April, the date was moved to June to offer her a more fitting, and weather appropriate celebration.
The Queen’s ‘other’ favourite country
Other than the U.K., the Queen lived in one other country for a span of two years. While many of us might be inclined to guess somewhere in France or Italy, the country is in fact, Malta. She found it irresistibly charming and the people extremely welcoming.