TASS. Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, who ascended to the British throne in 1952, died at the age of 96 in Balmoral Castle in Scotland on Thursday afternoon.
Below are a few facts about the world's longest-serving monarch.
Queen’s Official Birthday
The Queen’s official birthday is a national holiday in the United Kingdom and in the majority of the Commonwealth realms, although the date has no connection to the monarch’s factual date of birth (Elizabeth II was born on April 21, 1926). The holiday is traditionally celebrated in June (normally on the second Saturday of June, but an alternative date may be chosen depending on weather conditions). The tradition was created by King George II in 1748, who was born in November. The king disliked the idea of marking his birthday in cold and rainy weather and postponed official celebrations for the summer season.
Records and innovations
Elizabeth II was the oldest and longest-serving monarch in the history of the United Kingdom, having reigned for 70 years and 214 days. The previous record was held by Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years, 7 months and 2 days. Besides, Elizabeth II was also the longest-serving contemporary monarch.
Her marriage continued for 73 years, until her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, died aged 99 on April 9, 2021.
In 1954, the Queen became the first monarch to circumnavigate the globe, departing on a journey that lasted over six months. Overall, Elizabeth II made over 300 visits to 130 countries worldwide during her reign.
On March 26, 1976, the Queen became the first royal to send an email while visiting a telecommunications research facility in Malvern. The message was addressed to all users of the computer network ARPANET, a prototype of the Internet.
In April 2013, Elizabeth II changed the rules of royal succession, making it no longer dependent on gender.
In 2019, Elizabeth II became the first member of the royal family to stop wearing real fur.
The Queen and Prime Ministers
Throughout her reign, the Queen worked with 15 prime ministers. She was reported to have friendly relations with the first of them, Winston Churchill (1951-1955), and the two shared passion for horses, derby and polo.
Five UK premiers were born during Elizabeth II’s rule: Tony Blair (1953), Theresa May (1956), Boris Johnson (1964), David Cameron (1966) and incumbent Prime Minister Liz Truss (1975), who took the office on September 6, 2022, two days before the Queen’s death.
Meeting with Soviet dignitaries, visit to Russia
On July 14, 1961, the Queen met with the first person in space, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, for breakfast in the Buckingham Palace. According to a special correspondent covering the event, the Queen was easy-mannered and informal during the meeting and did not stick to the strict protocol. When Gagarin ate a piece of lemon out of his cup of tea in breach of the protocol, the Queen supported him by following the suit.
On April 7, 1989, the Queen received Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the Windsor Palace.
She visited Russia’s capital Moscow and the second largest city of St. Petersburg in 1994, and was received by then Russian President Boris Yeltsin. It was the first visit of a British monarch to the country since the 1917 October Revolution.
Finances and fortune
According to the Sunday Times Rich List, the Queen’s personal fortune is estimated at approximately 370 million pounds (434 million euro). The list of her real estate holdings includes Balmoral Castle in Scotland and Sandringham House in Norfolk. She also owns the Duchy of Lancaster.
Other lands and real estate holdings of the Crown are managed by the parliament-controlled Crown Estate company, whose assets are estimated at 14.4 billion pounds (16.9 billion euro). Its net profit in fiscal year 2020-2021 declined from 345 million pounds (405 million euro) to 269 million pounds (314 million euro).
Elizabeth II was not obliged to pay taxes, but did so regularly since 1993 by paying the income tax and the capital gains tax.