Eleven things you may not know about the Queen

The Queen pictured in 1955
The Queen pictured in 1955
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The Queen will this week become our longest-reigning monarch. Here are 11 things you may not know about her.

1. Although the Queen’s nickname is “Lilibet”, the Duke of Edinburgh is also known to affectionately call her “Cabbage”.

2. The Queen loves horse racing but she never places a bet.

3. She wakes to the sound of her personal bagpiper every morning and can even tell if someone different to her usual piper is playing.

4. She does not have or need a passport as British passports are issued in her name.

5. Before every state banquet, the Queen personally inspects the grand horseshoe-shaped table which is laden with ornate candelabra and historic dinner services in the Buckingham Palace ballroom to make sure it looks perfect for her guests.

6. The Queen and her family like to play games in the evening at Balmoral - including the so-called Post-it note game when they write famous names on pieces of paper, draw them from a hat, stick them on their foreheads and try to guess which person they are.

7. When the Prince of Wales married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, the Queen was said to be so happy she did a little jig of excitement as she left the reception.

8. She drinks earl grey tea and also likes a gin and Dubonnet immediately before lunch.

9. She could have married the Duke of Edinburgh when she was 17 - the age of his first formal request to be considered as a suitor - but her parents thought she was too young. They wed when Princess Elizabeth was 21 and have been married for nearly 68 years.

10. The Queen was once seen throwing a pair of tennis shoes and a racquet at Philip in frustration during an Australian tour. The spat was caught on camera but the footage was given to the Queen and never broadcast.

11. The Queen was not born at a palace but at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, the London residence of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore.