1. Elizabeth is the longest-reigning monarch in British history: After about a thousand years of British kings and queens, in September 2015, Lizzie officially beat out her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, as Britain's longest-serving ruler. At the time, she'd reigned for 63 years, seven months, and two days.
Not bad for a girl who was never expected to be Queen at her birth... Everyone thought that her paternal uncle, David, Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII), would marry and have kids, but the king gave up the throne to marry commoner - and multiple divorcée - Wallis Simpson. As a result, Elizabeth's father, the shy Bertie, Duke of York, became King George VI, and Elizabeth and her younger sister, Margaret, were thrust into the international spotlight.
2. Her coronation was the first to ever be televised: Elizabeth was crowned Queen on June 2, 1953, at Westminster Abbey, but this wasn't just any coronation. This was the first such ceremony to ever be on TV (although a few elements, like the anointing, weren't broadcast). The way in which this ceremony was brought to the public forever changed the face of the British monarchy. It allowed the public unprecedented access to the royal family, an issue that continued during the life and tragic passing of Diana, Princess of Wales, and remains today. It also jumpstarted the public's love of television. Tens of millions of people watched the coronation at home and elsewhere, propelling this medium to new heights.
Elizabeth is crowned..on TV! Image via IBTimes UK.
3. In 2014, she became the first British monarch to officially tweet: Sure, some members of the royal family have their PR people handle their accounts, but the Queen herself once let the little blue bird out of the cage! In October of that year, she officially pressed the "tweet" button for the @BritishMonarchy account; the occasion marked the opening of a new exhibition.
Here's what she said:
"It is a pleasure to open the Information Age exhibition today at the @ScienceMuseum and I hope people will enjoy visiting. Elizabeth R."
Nota bene: "R" stands for regina, Latin for "queen" and the official way a monarch signs his or her name.
Feature image via AP/New York Post.