95 Fascinating Facts about Queens

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1Abdulmejid I

Abdulmejid I

According to legend, in 1845, Ottoman ruler Abdulmejid I declared his intention to send £10,000 to the victims of the Irish potato famine but was instructed to send only £1,000, so as not to donate more than Queen Victoria, who had sent £2,000. He sent £1,000 along with three or five ships full of food.

2. Originally it was suggested that the scroll on the Victoria Cross, Britain’s most prestigious military award should bear the legend ‘FOR THE BRAVE’ but Queen Victoria herself changed this to 'FOR VALOUR' as the former implied that not all soldiers were brave.

3. Before Coca-Cola, there was Coca Wine which consisted of 10% alcohol and 8.5% cocaine extract by volume and was endorsed by Queen Victoria and Pope Leo XIII.

4. Alexander Graham Bell committed a social faux pas when he unintentionally touched Queen Victoria's hand when he demonstrated the telephone for her. Others in the audience gasped in horror but the Queen only noted how impressed she was with the telephone.

5. Over 5.5 million people died in a famine under the British rule in India. Around the same time, Lord Robert Bulwer Lytton, the viceroy of India was engaged in a fabulous celebration with over 60,000 guests to be wined and fed for the coronation of Queen Victoria as the Empress of India.

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6Jack Black

Jack Black

In the 19th century England, a man named Jack Black was an expert rat catcher. When he caught rats of unusual color, he would breed them and sell the well-bred rats to nobility. Even Queen Victoria kept a pet rat or two.

7. During Queen Victoria's adult life, she has estimated to have written 2,500 words a day.

8. Queen Victoria hated being pregnant, viewed breast-feeding with disgust, and thought newborn babies were ugly.

9. Queen Victoria was raised under a strict set of rules called the Kensington System. This rule included being isolated from most people, never being allowed an hour to herself, and having each of her every action planned beforehand.

10. In 1999, one of the Queen Elizabeth's royal footmen was demoted from the Buckingham Palace for his party trick, "pouring booze into the corgis' food and water" and watching them "staggering about" with relish.

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11Catherine the Great

Catherine the Great

Empress Catherine the Great founded an orphanage in Moscow to turn Russia's thousands of abandoned children into model citizens. Over 40,000 were admitted in her reign, but it failed disastrously due to 87% of them dying of disease.

12. Queen Elizabeth has owned more than 30 Corgis over her reign.

13. Queen Victoria owned a bulletproof chainmail-lined umbrella.

14. Queen Victoria was the first British monarch to be photographed.

15. In July 1878, William McGonagall walked from Dundee to Balmoral, a distance of about 60 miles (97 km) over mountainous terrain and through a violent thunderstorm to perform for Queen Victoria. When he arrived, he announced himself as "The Queen's Poet". The guards informed him "You're not the Queen's poet! Tennyson is the Queen's poet!" (Alfred Lord Tennyson was the poet laureate). McGonagall presented the letter but was refused entry and had to return home.

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16Mary I of England

Mary I of England

Despite being “Bloody Mary”, Queen Mary I of England didn’t kill nearly as many people as her father, Henry VIII. Her inflated infamy was mostly Protestant propaganda.

17. The Egyptians, not Julius Caesar, were the fathers of the modern calendar. The Roman calendar was lunar and had 355 days. Egyptians knew it was 365 days because the river Nile would peak on the same day each year. Caesar learned this from his affair with Cleopatra and created the Julian calendar.

18. Cleopatra and Mark Antony formed their own drinking club in 41 B.C. and were known to take part in elaborate games, contests and walk the streets of Alexandria in disguise, pranking the residents.

19. Due to inbreeding amongst the Ptolemies, Cleopatra had only two pairs of great-grandparents. One of those pairs was the son and daughter of the other.

20. Despite the story that Cleopatra killed herself by letting an asp bite her, she most probably killed herself using a mixture of opium and hemlock.

21Ptolemy XIII Theos Philopator

Ptolemy XIII Theos Philopator

Cleopatra was 18 when she married her 10-year-old brother named Ptolemy XIII Theos Philopator to become co-ruler of Egypt.

22. Cleopatra was not perceived as very beautiful. Plutarch states that it was her wit and charm that drew people to her.

23. Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, is said to have bathed in 'ass milk' to preserve the beauty and youth of her skin. Legend has it that no less than 700 asses were required to provide the quantity of milk necessary for her daily bath.

24. The first Queen to rule Egypt was named Hatshepsut. She ruled 18 centuries before Cleopatra.

25. Marie Antoinette's last words were, "Pardon me, sir. I meant not to do it". It was an apology to the executioner for accidentally stepping on his foot on her way to the guillotine.

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