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12 Surprising Facts About Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen And Duke Of Edinburgh Visit WalesThe Queen And Duke Of Edinburgh Visit Wales
Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to the Chapel to view the restoration and meet local people involved with the project at the Royal Dockyard Chapel during an official visit on April 29, 2014 in Pembroke Dock, U.K.Photograph by Bethany Clarke—Getty Images

In honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday, TIME has rounded up some of the most surprising facts about the personality of Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and her reign in general:

• She became the first reigning Sovereign to have a child since Queen Victoria when she gave birth to Prince Andrew in 1960.

• She created a new dog breed—the “dorgi”—when Princess Margaret’s dachshund Pipkin mated with one of her corgis, according to the British Royal Family’s website: “There have been 8 dorgis—Tinker, Pickles, Chipper, Piper, Harris, Brandy, Cider and Berry.”

Photography is one of her hobbies.

• Some of the most unusual gifts she has received during her reign include: two live tortoises and a 7-year-old bull elephant named “Jumbo.”

• She has about 200 racing pigeons.

• A 116-year-old Canadian man was the oldest person she has ever written a letter to, and that was in December 1984.

• In 1982, an intruder scaled Buckingham Palace and entered her bedroom. They had a 10-minute conversation before she called up security. Initially charged with burglary for drinking a bottle of Prince Charles’s wine, he was acquitted by a London jury.

• A “gin and Dubonnet” has been her cocktail of choice, former personal chefs to the Queen told The Telegraph.

• There is a practical reason for her monochromatic outfits. “You have to be able to see that figure in a lemon coat and hat from far away,” Hugo Vickers, author of Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, told the New York Times.

• She loves watching Downton Abbey and revels in spotting historical errors on the show on occasion, biographer Brian Hoey, who wrote At Home With The Queen, told People.

• And the Queen’s favorite Broadway show tune is “People Will Say We’re in Love” from Oklahoma!, Hoey says in the LIFE magazine book commemorating her 90th birthday.

• She had a way of imitating the sound of the Concorde, the now-defunct supersonic jet, royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith told People.

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