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8 surprising facts about The Queen’s reign

In celebration of HM The Queen's Platinum Jubilee, we have gathered some surprising facts about The Queen and her seventy-year reign.


Queen Elizabeth II looks at a display of roses

Queen Elizabeth II looks at a display of roses PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

1. There was a performance of Les Miserables at Windsor Castle

In 2004, The Queen invited the cast of Les Miserables in the West End to perform for French President Jacques Chirac at Windsor Castle. It was the first time the cast of a West End musical had performed at a royal residence.


2. Two roses are named after The Queen

The Queen has two roses named after her, a pink rose, to commemorate her coronation in 1953 and a pale apricot rose to commemorate her Platinum Jubilee in 2022.


3. The Queen has sat for over 129 portraits

Her first portrait was in 1933 at age seven when she was painted by Hungarian artist Philip Alexius de Laszlo. The Queen also sat for a hologram portrait in 2004. This was made by artist Chris Levine with holographer Rob Munday, to commemorate the 800th Anniversary of the Island of Jersey’s allegiance with the Crown. 


4. The moon contains a message from The Queen 

The Queen sent a message of congratulations to Apollo 11 astronauts for the first moon landing on the 21st July 1969. The message was micro-filmed and deposited on the moon in a metal container.


St Edward's Crown

St Edward's Crown, 1661 ©

5. There have been over 180 garden parties held at Buckingham Palace since 1952

In a normal year, The Queen hosts over 50,000 people at Buckingham Palace including at garden parties, investitures and receptions.


6. The Queen wore two crowns on her Coronation Day

The Queen wore the St Edward's Crown for the crowning ceremony and then the Imperial State Crown for the return procession and subsequent balcony appearances at Buckingham Palace. On the journey to Westminster Abbey, The Queen also wore the Diamond Diadem, a circlet of diamonds, which The Queen has traditionally worn for the journey to and from the State Opening of Parliament.


7. The Queen has a BAFTA

In 2013 The Queen became the first Monarch to be presented with an Honorary BAFTA in recognition of a lifetime's support of British film and television.


Queen Elizabeth II receives a BAFTA award.jpg

Queen Elizabeth II receives a BAFTA award REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

8. Throughout her reign The Queen has made a Christmas Broadcast every year except one

The Queen has made a Christmas Broadcast every year of her reign except 1969, when a repeat of the film Royal Family was already scheduled for the holiday period. Public concern at this apparent break with tradition prompted The Queen to issue a written message of reassurance that the Broadcast would return in the following year, so popular had it become.