Royal Stamp Collection
Queen Elizabeth II's stamp collection, formally called the Royal Philatelic Collection, was started just before the turn of the 20th century and is believed to be the most comprehensive collection in the Commonwealth.
The collection includes one of the most reprinted images of all time (Elizabeth II in 1967) as well as the first stamp in the world (an engraving of Queen Victoria), known as the Penny Black.
AMAZING REAL ESTATE
The British Seabed
The Crown Estate Commissioners (CEC) manages 55% of the UK's "foreshore" (the portion of shore between the water and cultivated land) and the seabed out to 12 nautical miles. The Crown Estate also has the rights to an additional 200 nautical miles below the surface of the seabed including the soil, minerals, and substrata. The CEC serves as a gatekeeper for the Crown Estate to approve development along the seabed.
Most Of Regent Street
Regent Street is one of the biggest tourist draws in London, with its many restaurants and retailers, as well as some of the most distinguished architecture in the city, so it's no surprise this area falls under Elizabeth's estate. Though it's true that she currently owns this land, it isn't personally hers and belongs rightfully to whomever wears the crown. The surplus revenue that comes from Regent Street goes directly to the Treasury to help pay for the nation's affairs.
Queen Elizabeth even owns a McDonald's location. Open to the public and located far outside London, the restaurant is furnished with leather couches and table service, "fit for a queen." This property is different from some of the other Crown Estate items because the royal family does not profit from it.
A Tiara Made With 1,333 Diamonds
The Diamond Diadem, a famous relic of the royal family, is set with 1,333 diamonds, including a 4-carat yellow diamond. This tiara has been altered by the various queens who have reigned since it was commissioned in the 1800s and is currently worn by Elizabeth II to and from the State Opening of Parliament.
Just in Case You Find Swan at Giant...
Some History From Another Royal
Mad King Ludwig II
August 25, 1845 was the birthday of “Mad King Ludwig II” of Bavaria – officially, that is. In actual fact he had been born an hour earlier, in the dying moments of yesterday, but attendants at the birth – and his own mother – conspired to keep the real time a secret. The reason was that his grandfather, Ludwig I, had a wish that his new grandchild would share his own birthday. The decision to conspire in this deceit should give some indication of the state of the royal family dynamics at the time.
Was Ludwig mad? Or bad? Or sad? Surely he was sad? – and perhaps made mad by the circumstances of his life. Might he have been an architect had he not been royal? The fanciful fairytale castles that he instigated are huge tourist drawcards today. Or perhaps he might have been a musician, for he was passionately fond of music and was a long-time patron of Richard Wagner. Instead he was forced to be king, a king tortured by his own homosexuality – and one who was increasingly unlikely to be able to fulfil his primary kingly duty and provide an heir.
His day to day behaviour was not bad - embarrassing to his family and officials, yes, but embarrassing is not the same as wicked. Much of his embarrassing behaviour centred round his dining habits. He ate at odd hours, at whim, often with imaginary guests and sometimes with his actual horse at the dining table. He loved riding, and often set off on imaginary journeys (around the riding pavilion), dismounting at his imaginary location where waiting staff spread a picnic meal on the ground.
He was very interested in food itself, although apparently his dental problems meant that food had to be soft, and naturally his tastes were very German.
Ludwig’s torture and the State’s embarrassment ended when he and his physician both “accidentally” drowned in a lake on June 13th 1886, three days after he was officially declared insane by a chief psychiatrist who had not examined him.
Ludwig was also known as “The Swan King” for his great love of “The Monarch of the Lake”, and swan motifs are everywhere in his castles. We can be fairly sure he would never have eaten his favourite bird, but earlier rich and royal folk certainly did. It was not enjoyed for its taste – which is said to be like “fishy mutton”, but because it was prestigious (certainly in England, all swans have officiallly belonged to the monarch since the twelfth century) and because it could be made into a spectacular centrepiece at the banquet. To do this of course required that the cooked swan be re-dressed in its plumage before being presented at table.
And now, to put the "royal" theme to bed....
Prime Seating At Wimbledon
Purchased in 1922, a 74-seat Royal Box at Wimbledon belongs to the queen. The seats are often filled by government officials and honored guests, as well as the royal family. Those seats can only be filled upon request and have a mandatory dress code.
The "Stuff" of a Queen
Many American's are committed "royal watchers," so today, we'll take a look at some of the stuff that is owned, either actually or technically, by Queen Elizabeth II. In addition to a variety of extraordinary possessions, the Queen is also the holder of four Guinness World Records:
** Longest reigning queen; awarded in 2015.
** Oldest current monarch; age 94 in 2020.
** Most currencies featuring the same individual; she appears on the coinage of at least 35 countries.
** Wealthiest queen; worth an estimated roughly $530 million in 2016.
Her Own Personal Flag
Queen Elizabeth II had her own flag made in 1960, to be flown on cars, boats, and planes she uses while traveling. Unlike the Royal Standard, this blue and gold flag is only allowed to be flown for and by the queen herself. To represent that, the flag is solid blue with an "E" in the middle surrounded by a gold crown and roses.
Recipe: Le Menagier de Paris
SWAN. Pluck like a chicken or goose, scald, or boil; spit, skewer in four places, and roast with all its feet and beak, and leave the head unplucked; and eat with yellow pepper.
Item, if you wish, it may be gilded.
Item, when you kill it, you should split its head down to the shoulders.
Item, sometimes they are skinned and reclothed.
RECLOTHED SWAN in its skin with all the feathers. Take it and split it between the shoulders, and cut it along the stomach: then take off the skin from the neck cut at the shoulders, holding the body by the feet; then put it on the spit, and skewer it and gild it. And when it is cooked, it must be reclothed in its skin, and let the neck be nice and straight or flat; and let it be eaten with yellow pepper.
All The Swans In The River Thames
Originally, the monarchy was granted the rights to the umarked mute swans in the River Thames to reserve them for feasts because they were considered a delicacy. The swans are no longer consumed, but Elizabeth still owns the birds and encourages their conservation.
which others have described as tasting more like duck than goose
AN ARRAY OF CRITTERS
A Bat Colony
Because Elizabeth II owns Balmoral Castle, she owns everything inside it as well. Thus, by association, she takes ownership of the bat colony that has apparently lived for many years in the rafters of the ballroom. The queen allegedly enjoys watching the bats be chased and released outside by her staff. Staff aren't allowed to remove the pipistrelle bats because they are protected in England.
All The Dolphins In The UK
Whales, sturgeons, and porpoises are categorized in the UK as "royal fish." If any of these royal fish are caught within 3 miles of England's shoreline, they belong to Queen Elizabeth II.
In addition to Buckingham Palace, the queen also has five other residences that are private - two of which she owns personally, inheriting them from her father.
Windsor Castle: the largest occupied castle to date and a "country home" of sorts.
Holyrood Palace: The queen's residence when she visits Scotland.
Balmoral Castle: Rumored to be her favorite, this Scottish castle is a personal residence of the queen.
Sandringham Estate: The second estate she received from her father, it's where the queen often entertains during the holidays.
Hillsborough Castle: The official residence of Northern Ireland's Secretary of State, it's where the queen stays when she visits Northern Ireland.
Queen Victoria's Wedding Dress
Queen Victoria's cream, silk satin, and lace wedding dress has been passed down to administrations since it was first made for her wedding in 1840. Queen Victoria is Elizabeth II's great-great-grandmother.
Henry VIII's Armor
The steel, gold, and leather protective outfit is unique because the breastplate and backplate are adjustable to account for Henry VIII's constantly increasing waistline.
The Largest Colorless Cut Diamond In The World
The Sovereign's Sceptre, a gold sceptre originally made for Charles II, contains a massive 530-carat diamond at its tip held in a heart-shaped casing. The huge rock, cut from the famed Cullinan diamond and added to the sceptre in 1910, is the largest colorless cut diamond in the world.