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12 Surprising Facts About Queen Elizabeth II

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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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Write to Olivia B. Waxman at olivia.waxman@time.com