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11 things you didn’t know about the Queen

It’s a well-documented fact that Queen Elizabeth II is a living British legend, but not everyone knows that the queen is also a total badass as well. On September 9, Queen Liz will officially become Britain’s longest reigning monarch and with that in mind, we’ve rounded up some facts, each one of them arguably more badass than the last.

SEE ALSO: London Days Out

1. She doesn’t need a passport to travel

11 things you didn't know about the Queen Elizabeth

Yep, that’s right: because all passports in Britain are technically issued in the Queen’s name, her madge doesn’t need one to travel herself. “As a British passport is issued in the name of Her Majesty, it is unnecessary for The Queen to possess one,” according to royal.gov.uk. “All other members of the Royal Family, including The Duke of Edinburgh and The Prince of Wales, have passports.”

2. She knows how to fire a gun

11 things you didn't know about the Queen
This photo (which is arguably the best picture taken of anyone, ever) was snapped during a royal visit to Surrey’s National Shooting Centre. The Queen couldn’t resist some target practice when she was shown this L85 battle rifle.

3. She served during WWII

The Queen is the only living head of state in the world to have served during World War II and she was the only female member of the British royal family to do so. She joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service when she was 18 and learned how to drive a military truck, during which time she also acquired some serious engine-fixing skills (which leads us nicely on to our next fact).

4. She’s a trained mechanic

11 things you didn't know about the Queen

The Queen – or the Princess, as she was then – didn’t just drive trucks during WWII; she also learned how to repair them. “When the training centre was visited by the King and Queen and Princess Margaret, they found Princess Elizabeth in overalls, working on the engine of a Red Cross lorry,” says the narrator in the video. “Princess Elizabeth, honorary second subaltern, ATS, is now a competent mechanic, and proud of the fact.”

5. She has two birthdays

11 things you didn't know about the Queen

The Queen doesn’t just celebrate one birthday a year like regular folk, oh no; as well as probably getting better presents than you (she got her first corgi, Susan, for her 18th), she also gets twice as many birthdays. She was actually born on April 21, but her “official” birthday is held in early June on a Saturday, during which she hits the town for the Trooping the Colour parade.

6. She was sending emails before the internet was even a thing

Think you’re good at technology? You ain’t got nothing on Liz. She may have only just got in on the Twitter game last year, but the Queen sent her first email from an Army base back in 1976 (becoming the first Monarch to do so).

7. She owns a ton of the most badass birds around

Queen Elizabeth II

A lot of people think the Queen owns all the swans in Britain, but this isn’t technically true. According to the official website of the British Monarchy, “the Crown retains the right to ownership of all unmarked mute swans in open water, but The Queen only exercises her ownership on certain stretches of the Thames and its surrounding tributaries”. She still owns more swans than the average person, though, and every year the Swan Upping ceremony (aka the annual Thames swan census) provides an opportunity for her to take to the waters and count her glistening, feathery flock first-hand.

8. She’s not averse to the occasional photobomb

During the Commonwealth Games in 2014, Australian hockey player Jayde Taylor tweeted one of the most epic selfies of all time, which featured a grinning and slightly blurred Queen Elizabeth in the background, peering into the lens.

9. She’s starred alongside James Bond

She can fix an engine in the blink of an eye, she can fire a gun, she knows how to handle intruders AND she’s pals with James Bond – as the evident suggests, the queen is basically a secret agent. The clip above was filmed as part of the opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic Games, which saw Daniel Craig escorting Her Majesty out of Buckingham Palace and into a helicopter, before the pair made a grand entrance by skydiving into the Olympic Stadium (the Queen may have used a stunt double for that last bit, but given her proven track record in badassery it’s impossible to be sure).

10. Celebrities queue up to hang out with her

Royal visit to Google headquarters

Models, actors, Hollywood A-listers, and even members of One Direction – the Queen has met them all. And they always come to her.

11. She’s been known to enjoy Ali G impressions

Or, more specifically, Ali G impressions given by her mother. Yep that’s right, the Queen Mum was an Ali G fan – a fact confirmed by Prince William and Prince Harry in an interview in which they described a Christmas around the turn of the Millenium when the Queen Mother came across them watching Ali G on TV, and they showed her how to click her fingers and say ‘Respec’.

“It was at the end of the meal, and she stood up and said: ‘Darling, lunch was marvellous – respec,’ and clicked her fingers,” said Prince Harry, before William went on to describe how the whole family burst out laughing – including the Queen, who the impression had been directed at.

RELATED STORY: The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

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