Thursday briefing: Everything you never knew about Queen Elizabeth II | The Queen | #ukscams | #datingscams | #european

Good morning, and if you’re in the UK, happy platinum jubilee bank holiday. In a break from our regular programming, we’re bringing you 70 details to reflect on the Queen’s last 70 years. It’s bunting free, I promise.

Corgi enthusiasts, head to no 2. For exploding postboxes, it’s 13. If it’s her affection for animatronic fish that interests you, it’s 42. And if all of this isn’t your cup of tea, just be grateful we didn’t do it on her 96th birthday. Here are the headlines.

Five big stories

  1. US news | A jury in the US found that Amber Heard defamed her former husband Johnny Depp in an article about domestic abuse. Heard won on one count of her countersuit over a description of her allegations as “an abuse hoax”.

  2. Partygate | Boris Johnson was accused of failing to allay fears that he and his ministers consider themselves above the rules. The intervention from chair of the committee on standards in public life Jonathan Evans came amid yet more criticism of the PM from Tory MPs.

  3. Honours | A leading critic of the prime minister, Jeremy Wright, was knighted in the birthday honours list. Footballer Rio Ferdinand, singer Bonnie Tyler, the actor Damian Lewis and 104-year-old dance teacher Angela Redgrave were also among those recognised.

  4. Coronavirus | The Office for National Statistics has published research that suggests approximately 2 million people in Britain are living with long Covid.

  5. Ukraine | Kyiv has promised Washington it will not use US-supplied rocket systems to hit targets in Russia, as Moscow warned that the supply risked a “third country” being drawn into the war.

In depth: 70 things you never knew about the Queen

The Queen in her official 80th birthday photograph, pictured by Jane Bown.
The Queen in her official 80th birthday photograph, pictured by Jane Bown. Photograph: Jane Bown/The Observer

1. Elizabeth’s birth in 1926 was attended by the home secretary. She became heir to the throne aged 10. She never went to school.

2. Elizabeth was given her first corgi, Susan, on her 18th birthday in 1944. Susan once bit the ankle of a royal clockwinder, Leonard Hubbard, and has her own Wikipedia page, with sections including ‘royal life’ and ‘death and legacy’.

3. Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten in 1947. The cake, four tiers and nine feet high, was baked by McVitie’s, of subsequent Hobnob fame.

4. The tradition of a senior politician attending royal births ended in 1948, with the birth of Prince Charles. Buckingham Palace said that Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, felt “it is unnecessary to continue further a practice for which there is no legal requirement”.

5. One biographer said that Elizabeth endured a 30-hour labour before giving birth by C-section. Philip was not present, and at one point, went to play squash.

6. After George died of lung cancer on 6 February 1952, about 300,000 people filed past his coffin at Westminster Hall. Many thousands waited in queues overnight.

The Queen returns home with the Duke of Edinburgh after the sudden death of her father, King George VI.
The Queen returns home with the Duke of Edinburgh after the sudden death of her father, King George VI. Photograph: PA

7. Upon receiving news that she was now queen, Elizabeth returned home (above) from a visit to Kenya immediately. She was 25. Many years later, she said: “In a way, I didn’t have an apprenticeship. My father died much too young.” An editorial in the Guardian read: “It is a great inheritance – and a heavy burden – that now falls to the girl who becomes Queen”.

8. The New York Times marked George’s death and Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne at the age of 25 with a three-tier, full-width headline in block capitals. 12 years later, it marked the death of former president Herbert Hoover in two columns.

9. Only one woman other than the Queen herself was present at her proclamation.

10. The Cabinet agreed that the coronation should not take place until the following year because of severe constraints on the country’s finances. As then housing minister Harold Macmillan noted in his diary, “this year the bailiffs may be in; the Crown itself may be in pawn.”

11. Prime minister Winston Churchill was initially sceptical of televising the event, telling parliament that “It would be unfitting that the whole ceremony, not only in its secular but also its religious and spiritual aspects, should be presented as if it were a theatrical performance.’

12. A committee was established to decide which items could be sanctioned as official memorabilia for the coronation. The panel, chaired by Bernard Marmaduke Fitzalan-Howard, 16th Duke of Norfolk, unanimously agreed to reject an application for crown-embroidered knickers.

13. There was some anger in Scotland that the Queen would be known as Elizabeth II, given her predecessor had not ruled north of the border. When post boxes appeared with E II R on them, some had the ‘II’ removed. They were vandalised with tar or a sledgehammer, and in one case blown apart with a gelignite bomb. From then on, Scottish pillar boxes bore the Crown of Scotland instead.

14. Despite Churchill’s initial reservations, the coronation was televised. Although just 2.5m households had a television set, some 40% of the country, or 20 million people, crowded into living rooms to watch it – against 12 million who listened on the radio.

15. In a book of recollections of the 1950s, You’ve Never Had It So Good by Stephen F Kelly, Chris Prior – a child at the time – remembered the whole family going to watch on a tiny set at his aunt’s house. “The cat got so agitated by all the people there that it ran up the chimney then fell down and there was soot everywhere,” he said.

16. The ceremony (below) cost £1.57m, about £47m today. There were 8,000 guests and 40,000 troops involved in the parade.

The Queen waves from the balcony upon her coronation in 1952.
The Queen waves from the balcony upon her coronation in 1952. Photograph: AP

17. At least one guest, Queen Victoria’s granddaughter Princess Marie Louise of Schleswig-Holstein, whose full family name was, genuinely, Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, had attended three previous coronations. She was born in 1872.

18. When Elizabeth was crowned, the British empire had 70 overseas territories, and was fighting wars against independence movements in Egypt and Kenya. Between 1945 and 1965, the number of people living under British colonial rule shrank from 700 million to 5 million.

19. Average wages in 1953 were £9.25 a week. The top rate of income tax was 97.5%. The print edition of the Guardian cost 3p.

20. Rationing of sweets ended on 6 February 1953, prompting children to flock to shops in search of toffee apples and sticks of nougat.

21. During a world tour in 1954, the Queen was filmed throwing a pair of tennis shoes and a racket at Philip and shouting at him as he ran out of the chalet they were sharing in Australia. The camera crew exposed the film and gave it to the royal press secretary. The incident was later fictionalised in The Crown.

22. According to biographer Sally Bedell Smith, in May 1954, after their six-month absence on the tour, the Queen and Philip greeted Charles (5) and Anne (3) with handshakes.

23. Philip once gave the Queen a washing machine.

The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and three of their children, Princess Anne, Prince Charles and baby Prince Andrew.
The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and three of their children, Princess Anne, Prince Charles and baby Prince Andrew. Photograph: PA

24. Andrew and Edward, born in 1960 (above) and 1964, were the first children born to a serving monarch in a century, and likely to be the only ones for at least the next century, too.

25. In her book about Elizabeth and Philip’s marriage, My Husband and I, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine Ingrid Seward writes that when Andrew was five, he was thrown in a heap of dung by two grooms after attempting to hit the royal horses’ legs with a large stick.

26. Seward also reports that Andrew was once given a black eye by a footman, who subsequently offered his resignation. The Queen turned it down because she assumed Andrew had deserved it.

27. In 1965, Tony Benn, then the postmaster general, attempted to win the Queen’s approval for his plan to remove her image from stamps. He got a letter saying that ‘The Queen was not as enthusiastic about these designs as she sometimes is.”

28. The Queen’s private secretary, Lord Charteris, said that her greatest regret was the eight days it took her to visit Aberfan after the 1966 coal slide which killed 146 people.

29. The Queen has addressed the nation at Christmas every year except 1969, when a documentary, Royal Family, was aired instead. Around two-thirds of the country watched it, but it was never shown again in its entirety – except for a brief period last year when it popped up on YouTube.

30. In 1971, a Gallup opinion poll quoted in parliament found that 57% of the public thought the Queen should get a “pay rise” to double her allowance from the civil list to £1m.

31. The following year, the Treasury agreed a deal with the Palace which established that MPs could only vote to increase the civil list, not reduce it.

32. A leading Tory said in a letter to the Chancellor, released many years later, that it was imperative to fix a deal to avoid risking a Labour government being able to reduce it. John Boyd-Carpenter wrote: “let us so arrange things that the Queen does not have to expose herself to this again.”

Queen Elizabeth II in Portsmouth during her Silver Jubilee tour of Great Britain.
Queen Elizabeth II in Portsmouth during her Silver Jubilee tour of Great Britain. Photograph: PA

33. The 25th anniversary of the Queen’s ascent to the throne, the silver jubilee, was marked in 1977 by a tour (above) of 36 counties across the UK. In Lancashire more than 1m people turned out to see her in a single day. She also made overseas visits to nine countries.

34. Covering the festivities for the Guardian, Martin Wainwright wrote that the celebrations “continue to expand into all areas of human life”. He reported that 100 “jubilee coconuts” had been sent from the Bahamas as a gesture of goodwill to save a village fete in Sussex which had “a shy but no nuts”.

35. The Royal Collection Trust maintains a list of animals given to the Queen. They include four swans, many horses, two pygmy hippopotamuses, a Nile crocodile, a sloth in 1968, another sloth in 1976, and, in 1977, one fat-tailed dunnart.

36. In an eight-page supplement the day before Charles’s wedding to Diana in 1981, the Guardian published pictures of twelve of his alleged ex-girlfriends.

37. In 1990, John Major’s government agreed a settlement on civil list funding for the next decade allowing for 7.5% inflation each year. Instead, annual inflation was about 3.7%. The Palace built up a £35m surplus, including £12m in interest, as a result.

Fire sweeps through Windsor Castle in January 1992.
Fire sweeps through Windsor Castle in January 1992. Photograph: STEPHENS/PA

38. 225 firefighters used 1.5m gallons of water to put out the blaze that gutted Windsor Castle (above) in 1992. An estimate for repairs as high as £60m led to public anger at footing the bill and the Queen’s agreement to begin paying income tax the following year.

39. One of the few occasions where the Queen cried in public was the decommissioning of the Royal Yacht Britannia in 1997.

40. In the immediate aftermath of Diana, Princess of Wales’s death, when the Queen was heavily criticised for appearing unfeeling in her response, polls found 72% describing her as out of touch, and only 38% saying they expected the monarchy to survive.

41. The hems of the Queen’s skirts are weighted to avoid inadvertently flying up. The armholes of her coats, meanwhile, are said to be generously cut to make waving easier.

42. In 2000, it was reported that the Queen kept a Big Mouth Billy Bass (a novelty animatronic singing fish which briefly had a degree of popularity that now seems inexplicable) on top of a piano at Balmoral.

43. She has sent 300,000 congratulatory messages to centenarians. There were about 300 centenarians in 1952. In 2020, there were 15,120. When the Queen Mother got a personalised one in 2000, she handed it to her equerry, Captain William de Rouet, and told him to use his sword as a letter opener.

44. The Queen did not have to pay inheritance tax on the estimated £50-70m she inherited from her mother. Undisclosed bequests to anyone else would have been taxable at 40%.

A Golden Jubilee street party in 2002.
A Golden Jubilee street party in 2002. Photograph: REUTERS/Alamy

45. The Guardian’s leader on the Golden Jubilee in 2002 (above) viewed the popular success of the celebrations as evidence of “A good person, yes, but still a lousy system”.

46. In the same year, the Queen made her first ever visit to a British mosque, in Scunthorpe.

47. In 2003, a Daily Mirror reporter gained access to the royal household by getting a job as a footman. He was able to reveal that the Queen’s cornflakes and porridge oats were laid out in Tupperware boxes, and that she fed the corgis toast and marmalade, before the palace won an injunction barring further disclosures.

48. In 2004, Buckingham Palace stepped in to prevent the sale at auction of a sketch the Queen made of a proposed gravestone inscription for her corgi Susan. The Palace claimed the drawing was royal property.

49. There are almost 1,000 official photographic and painted portraits of the Queen, including works by Lucian Freud, Cecil Beaton, and Annie Leibovitz. For her 80th birthday in 2005, the Queen sat twice for a portrait by Rolf Harris. A Telegraph critic said it depicted her “grinning like the monkey on top of a barrel organ”. After Harris was convicted of a series of sexual assaults, the portrait mysteriously disappeared.

Prince Charles and his bride Camilla Duchess of Cornwall leave St George’s Chapel in Windsor after their civil wedding ceremony in 2005.
Prince Charles and his bride Camilla Duchess of Cornwall leave St George’s Chapel in Windsor after their civil wedding ceremony in 2005. Photograph: Alastair Grant/AP

50. Charles’s 2005 marriage to Camilla clashed with the Grand National. The race was delayed by 25 minutes. The Queen slipped away to watch it shortly after the ceremony.

51. In 2011, she made the first official visit to Ireland by a British monarch in 100 years. She offered “the nearest the royal family has ever come to an apology for Britain’s actions”, the Guardian reported, when she said “we can all see things which we wish had been done differently, or not at all”.

52. Princess Anne’s bull terrier, Florence, attacked and killed one of the Queen’s corgi’s, Pharos, in 2012.

53. When asked if she would prefer to say “Good evening, James,’ or ‘Good evening, Mr Bond,” for her famous cameo at the London 2012 Olympics, she chose the latter.

The Queen’s diamond jubilee in 2012.
The Queen’s diamond jubilee in 2012. Photograph: Sean Dempsey/PA

54. The Queen received 178,000 congratulatory messages on her diamond jubilee in 2012. The BBC’s coverage drew 4,500 complaints from viewers angered by what some perceived as insufficiently solemn coverage, including a minor furore over footage of a commemorative sick bag.

55. Elizabeth became the longest-serving monarch in British history in September 2015, overtaking Victoria at 23,226 days, 16 hours, and 24 minutes.

56. After the Sun claimed that the Queen backed Brexit, the press regulator ruled that the headline was “significantly misleading”. The story had claimed she had a “bust-up” with Nick Clegg about the EU.

57. In 2015, former royal chef Darren McGrady said that the Queen drinks a gin and dubonnet with lemon and ice before lunch, a glass of wine with lunch, a dry gin martini, also at lunch, and a glass of champagne at bedtime. A Refinery29 writer who imitated her alleged schedule reported feeling “useless, wan, incapable of concentration”.

58. About 100 films and tv shows about the Queen are listed on IMDb. Jeanette Charles, an impersonator, is credited 27 times in titles ranging from Roland Rat to Austin Powers: Goldmember.

59. In 2018, 31% of the British public said they had met or seen the Queen.

60. According to Tina Brown’s recent book, The Palace Papers, the Queen approved Andrew’s disastrous interview with Newsnight in 2019 without knowing the extent to which it would focus on the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. Brown reports that she watched it alone in her private sitting room at Windsor.

61. The Queen’s coronavirus message – in which she told the country “we will meet again” – was viewed by 24 million people. It was overshadowed when Boris Johnson was taken to hospital the same evening.

The Queen at the funeral of Prince Philip.
The Queen at the funeral of Prince Philip. Photograph: Yui Mok/AP

62. 13.6 million people in the UK watched Prince Philip’s funeral, at which the Queen sat apart (above) because of coronavirus regulations. The Guardian’s leader described the event as “the beginning of the end of an era”.

63. Prince Harry said recently that he was unsure about attending the platinum jubilee but wanted to make sure “she’s protected and got the right people around her.” He and Meghan are now expected to attend but not join in the trooping the colour ceremony.

64. Elizabeth has carried out more than 21,000 engagements over the course of her reign.

65. Yes, the Queen owns all the unmarked mute swans in the Thames. Yes, she has a Swan Keeper. No, there is no evidence she has ever eaten one.

66. In 2021, the Guardian revealed that under a controversial arrangement known as “Queen’s consent,” the Queen successfully lobbied the government to change a law which would have revealed details of her wealth. More than 1,000 laws have been vetted by the Queen or Prince Charles.

67. There are now 14 British overseas territories, with a total population of about 270,000.

68. A poll conducted by YouGov found 62% support for the monarchy in 2022. Ten years ago, the figure was 73%.

69. The Queen is said to like scones with jam and clotted cream. She puts the jam on first.

70. Notwithstanding all of the above, we don’t really know a single thing about her.

What else we’ve been reading

  • From corner to corner, Chile is at an environmental breaking point after experiencing 12 years of a mega drought. John Bartlett explores the devastating impacts of the deepening water crisis for the country and the people living in it. Nimo

  • Alex Hern, the Guardian’s UK technology editor, definitely isn’t involved in the promotion of a doomed cryptocurrency called Tsuka. Unfortunately, quite a lot of people thought he was. The surreal story of the scam is in his latest brilliant Techscape newsletter. You can (and should) sign up here. Archie

  • Ramen can be anything: cheap and cheerful, complex and rich. Felicity Cloake spoke to Ivan Orkin – a chef who has dedicated his career to making the perfect bowl of ramen. What’s the secret? “Harmony”. Nimo

  • Almost 100 days into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, this visual guide is a hugely helpful – and a grim reminder of the multiple brutal phases it’s already been through. Archie

  • Jamel Shabazz has been capturing intimate moments of play and connection for decades on the streets of New York City. Veronica Esposito writes about his new retrospective that highlights his most powerful photographs what they mean to him now. Nimo


Football | Ukraine beat Scotland 3-1 in an emotional match at Hampden Park to advance to the final of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. Ukraine will play Wales for a place in Qatar on Sunday.

Tennis | World no 1 Iga Swiatek advanced to the semi-final of the French Open by beating Jessica Pegula 6-3, 6-2. Swiatek has now won 33 consecutive matches.

Football | The Guardian’s interactive guide to the transfer window in Europe’s top five men’s leagues launched yesterday. Recent updates include the release of Paul Pogba and Gareth Bale, Diego Carlos’ £26m move from Sevilla to Aston Villa, and Nuno Mendes’ £34.1m move from Sporting to Paris Saint-Germain.

The front pages

Guardian front page, 2 June 2022
Guardian front page, 2 June 2022 Photograph: Guardian

The Guardian’s lead story in print today is “Changes to ethics code fuel mistrust, PM is warned”. The Times says “Johnson’s allies brand Tory rebels ‘narcissists’”. “Now let’s make happy memories” – the Daily Mail carries the “Queen’s joyous Jubilee message”, though half of its front page also goes to Johnny Depp winning his libel case against Amber Heard, who is pictured. “For our Queen, for our Britain” says the Mirror as “four-day party starts”. The Express has “A grateful nation salutes you, ma’am” while the Sun’s effort is “Don’t you just love EIIR”. “We look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm” – the Telegraph quotes from the monarch’s message, while the Metro deems her majesty “70 not out”. The Financial Times sticks to business – “Dimon tells investors ‘hurricane’ is bearing down on global economy” – with a warning from the JPMorgan Chase boss.

Today in Focus

Queen Elizabeth II at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, 2 October, 2021.
Queen Elizabeth II at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, 2 October, 2021. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA

The Queen’s platinum jubilee and the future of the monarchy

Tina Brown, author of The Palace Papers, on the importance of this jubilee to the royal family and how the Queen has maintained public support through her 70 years on the throne despite many crises

Cartoon of the day | Martin Rowson

Martin Rowson’s cartoon.
Martin Rowson’s cartoon. Illustration: Martin Rowson/The Guardian

The Upside

A bit of good news to remind you that the world’s not all bad

An undated image showing plaintiff Nigerian farmer Eric Dooh showing his hand covered with oil from a creek near Goi, Ogoniland, Nigeria.
An undated image showing plaintiff Nigerian farmer Eric Dooh showing his hand covered with oil from a creek near Goi, Ogoniland, Nigeria. Photograph: Marten van Dijl/EPA

In a David versus Goliath battle for the ages, villagers and environmentalists from Nigeria took on Big Oil company Shell – and won. After devastating oil spills left Eric Dooh’s (above) village as a skeleton of its former self, he and his neighbours decided that someone needed to be held accountable. Shell obfuscated and stalled for years but with the backing of NGOs, human rights lawyers and environmental activists, Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary SPDC was found liable for damages.

Even though they were not held at fault, the precedent set by this ruling is momentous. The oil industry in Nigeria is now being held accountable for decades of alleged negligence. In this first round, the little guy has come out on top.

Sign up here for a weekly roundup of The Upside, sent to you every Sunday

Bored at work?

And finally, the Guardian’s crosswords to keep you entertained throughout the day – with plenty more on the Guardian’s Puzzles app for iOS and Android. Until tomorrow.

  • Quick crossword

  • Cryptic crossword

Click Here For The Original Source.

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