Corgis, cushions and Commonwealth: 90 facts for Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday

She was once shot with a replica gun

A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in the Imperial State crown in Buckingham Palace, after her coronation at Westminster Abbey | Image: Sport and General / S&G Barratts/EMPICS Archive

A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in the Imperial State crown in Buckingham Palace, after her coronation at Westminster Abbey | Image: Sport and General / S&G Barratts/EMPICS Archive

She took her corgi on her honeymoon, is fluent in French and loves country dancing.

As Britain's Queen Elizabeth II marks her 90th birthday, here is a fact for every year of her life so far:

1. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born at 2.40am on April 21st, 1926, at 17 Bruton St, Mayfair, London.
2. She also has an official birthday in June - this year it falls on Saturday June 11th.
3. She was born by caesarean section - described at the time in a statement by royal doctors as "a certain line of treatment".
4. The then UK home secretary, William Joynson-Hicks, was waiting in a nearby room throughout the labour. The now dispensed with custom made sure the new arrival was a genuine descendant of the monarch and not an imposter who had been smuggled in.
5. She was named after her mother, while her two middle names are those of her paternal great-grandmother, Queen Alexandra, and paternal grandmother, Queen Mary.
6. She was christened on May 29th, 1926, in the private chapel at Buckingham Palace.
7. During the ceremony, Princess Elizabeth, as she was then known, cried so much that she had to be given dill water - an old fashioned remedy for colic - by her nurse.
8. She was called "Lilibet" by her close family.
9. She was much-loved by her grandfather George V and her visits were credited with aiding his recovery during his serious illness in 1929.
10. Her cousin Margaret Rhodes described her as "a jolly little girl, but fundamentally sensible and well-behaved".
11. She once fell in the lake at Buckingham Palace as a child, looking for a duck's nest, and ended up covered in green slime.
12. At age 19, she and her younger sister Princess Margaret, then 14, mingled incognito with ecstatic crowds celebrating VE Day, May 8th 1945, in London. She later recalled it was "one of the most memorable nights of my life".
13. She was educated at home with Margaret by tutors including their father and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
14. She speaks fluent French, learned from a number of her French and Belgian governesses.
15. She travelled on the London Underground for the first time in May 1939 with her governess Marion Crawford and Princess Margaret.
16. She was a Girl Guide (1937) and Sea Ranger (1943).
17. She learned to drive in 1945 when she joined the British Army.
18. She went on her first overseas tour to southern Africa in 1947, accompanied by her parents.
19. She married Prince Philip on November 20th, 1947, at Westminster Abbey in London.
20. Their engagement had been announced in July 9th, 1947.
21. On her wedding day, she lost her bouquet before the ceremony and only found it after a footman remembered he had put it in a cupboard to keep it cool.
22. Elizabeth and Philip are second cousins, once removed and third cousins through Queen Victoria.
23. They began to exchange letters when she was just 13.
24. She had eight bridesmaids.
25. She still needed to use ration coupons to buy the material for her gown, which was designed by Norman Hartnell.
26. She did her own make-up for her wedding.
27. On the morning of the ceremony, while getting dressed at Buckingham Palace, her tiara snapped but luckily the court jeweller was standing by in case of emergency.
28. Her wedding ring was made from a nugget of Welsh gold which came from the Clogau St David's mine near Dolgellau.
29. In post-war Britain it was not acceptable for Prince Philip's German relations, including his three surviving sisters, to be invited to the wedding.
30. The Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VII, was not invited either.
31. Princess Elizabeth became Queen at the age of 25.
32. Elizabeth was at the royal hunting lodge in Kenya when she found out her father, King George VI, had died in his sleep.
33. She was the 40th monarch since William the Conqueror obtained the crown of England.
34. She sent her first e-mail in 1976 from an army base.
35. In 1981, she was shot at by a teenager with a replica gun as she rode past crowds on horseback near Buckingham Palace.
36. At state banquets, she dislikes serving raw food or messy dishes such as spaghetti which can embarrass the eater.
37. In Papua New Guinea, where she is the constitutional monarch, she is known in the pidgin language of Tok Pisin as "Missis Kwin", and as "Mama belong big family".
38. She also has the titles the Lord of Man in the Isle of Man, the Duke of Normandy in the Channel Islands, and the Duke of Lancaster in the land of the Duchy of Lancaster.
39. She has a cushion in her private sitting room at Balmoral embroidered with the words "It's good to be Queen".
40. She became Britain's longest-reigning monarch on September 9th, 2015, breaking the record previously set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.
41. With the birth of Prince Andrew in 1960, she became the first reigning sovereign to have a child since Queen Victoria.
42. The first football match she attended was the 1953 FA Cup Final, in which a Stanley Matthews-inspired Blackpool beat Bolton Wanderers 4-3.
43. She sent a message of congratulations to Apollo 11 astronauts for the first Moon landing on July 21st, 1969. The message was micro-filmed and deposited on the Moon in a metal container.
44. She made a historic visit to the Republic in May 2011 - the first visit by a British monarch since Irish independence.
45. She was also the first British monarch to visit China - in 1986.
46. She has a well-known love of corgis. Her favourite breed is the Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
47. She has owned more than 30 corgis, starting with Susan who was a present for her 18th birthday in 1944.
48. Susan went on her honeymoon
49. She used to set off an ear-piercing alarm to break up dog fights between her many corgis and dorgis. Now she has only two corgis left, Holly and Willow, two dorgis - Candy and Vulcan.
50. A "dorgi" is a new breed introduced by Queen Elizabeth. It occurred when one of her corgis mated with a dachshund named Pipkin which belonged to Princess Margaret.
51. There have been 11 dorgis.
52. One of her corgis had to be put down in 2003 after it was attacked by Princess Anne's English bull terrier.
53. Her first pony was a Shetland called Peggy, given to her by her grandfather, King George V, when she was four.
54. She is a keen pigeon fancier. In 1990, one of her birds took part in the Pau race, coming first in the Section 5th Open and was subsequently named "Sandringham Lightning".
55. Madame Tussauds has showcased 23 different waxworks of her to date.
56. Queen Elizabethg and her husband are both great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria.
57. She has a keen interest in Scottish country dancing and hosts annual dances known as Gillies' Balls for neighbours, estate workers and members of the local community when she stays at her Balmoral Castle.
58. In June 2002, she hosted the first public concerts in the garden of Buckingham Palace to celebrate her Golden Jubilee. The 'Party at the Palace' concert was one of the most watched items in history, attracting around 200 million viewers all over the world.
59. She was the first member of the royal family to be awarded a gold disc from the recording industry. 100,000 copies of the CD of the 'Party at the Palace', produced by EMI, were sold within the first week of release.
60. She has made a Christmas broadcast to the Commonwealth every year of her reign except 1969, when a repeat of the documentary film 'Royal Family' was shown.
61. She made her first public speech in October 1940 at the age of 14 in a radio address on BBC's Children's Hour.
62. Her love of ponies and horses is well-known.
63. Thoroughbreds owned by Queen Elizabeth have won four out of the five flat racing classics - the 1,000 Guineas and 2,000 Guineas, the Oaks and the St Leger - with only the Derby eluding her.
64. In recent years she made sporting history when she became the first reigning monarch to win Royal Ascot's Gold Cup with her thoroughbred Estimate in 2013.
65. Her first reported riding lesson took place in the private riding school at Buckingham Palace Mews in January 1930, when she was still only 3-years-old.
66. She takes a keen interest in their breeding and training and is respected for her knowledge of the equine world.
67. But she famously does not bet and appears to get her enjoyment from watching her horses develop and compete.
68. Her racing colours are a purple body with gold braid, scarlet sleeves and black velvet cap with gold fringe.
69. Tony Blair was the first British Prime Minister to have been born during her reign. He was born in 1953.
70. She has given regular audience to 12 prime ministers.
71. The reason she usually wears a single-colour outfit and decorative hat is to make sure she can be seen in a crowd.
72. Many of her official tours were undertaken on the Royal Yacht Britannia.
73. It was launched by Queen Elizabeth on April 16th, 1953 and was commissioned for service on January 7th, 1954.
74. It was de-commissioned in December 1997. During this time, Britannia travelled more than a million miles on royal and official duties.
75. She sat for the first, and only, hologram portrait in 2003.
76. She has sat for 129 portraits.
77. She is patron of over 600 charities and organisations, 400 of which she has held since 1952.
78. Queen Elizabeth has personally held over 610 investitures.
79. She has sent over 175,000 telegrams to centenarians in the UK and Commonwealth.
80. She has answered around 3.5 million pieces of correspondence - including an Irish boy who asked for the six counties of Northern Ireland to be returned.
81. She has given out approximately 90,000 Christmas puddings to staff, continuing the custom of King George V and King George VI.
82. She has visited Australia 16 times, Canada 22 times, Jamaica six and New Zealand 10 times.
83. She has launched 21 ships during her reign.
84. She has attended 35 Royal Variety performances.
85. She has attended every opening of the British parliament except those in 1959 and 1963, when she was expecting Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.
86. The first royal walkabout took place by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in Australia and New Zealand in 1970. It was introduced to allow them to meet as many people as possible, not just officials.
87. She launched the British monarchy's official website in 1997.
88. In 2007 the official British monarchy YouTube channel was unveiled, swiftly followed by a royal Twitter site (2009), Flickr page (2010) and Facebook page (also 2010).
89. She has 30 godchildren.
90. Among the unusual gifts she has received over the years are jaguars and sloths from Brazil, and two black beavers from Canada. She has also received pineapples, eggs, and prawns.