5 Times Queen Elizabeth Was A Total Badass

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On Wednesday, Queen Elizabeth II will take a new crown: the longest-reigning monarch in British history, beating Victoria, her great-great-grandmother. Queen Victoria, the previous record-holder, sat on the throne from 1837 to 1901, a total of 63 years and 216 days.

Elizabeth was crowned on June 2, 1953 after her father, King George VI, died. She was 25-years-old. (Celebrations for her 90th are being planned for next spring.) At the time, Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister of England — and there have been twelve others since.

In honor of her imminent record, here are our five favorite facts about her.

1. She terrified the King of Saudi Arabia with her driving.
The makers of the next Fast and Furious sequel should consider calling the Queen if they need another driver. Back in 1998, she gave Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah a surprise when she hopped behind the wheel of a Land Rover and drove him around one of her Scottish estates. Saudi Arabia may ban women from driving, but that didn't stop her from showing her fellow royal how things are done in Britain. She also knows her way around a car engine; during World War II, she worked on trucks as part of the women's branch of the British army.

2. She took her turn as a Bond girl.
When London hosted the Olympics in 2012, Queen Elizabeth made a very special appearance when she and Daniel Craig did some "skydiving" into the Opening Ceremonies. Of course, she had a stuntman, but the joke was a good example of her sense of humor, which is famous even if she mostly keeps it behind closed doors.

3. She knows the importance of a good alarm.
The Queen probably doesn't hit the snooze button — she keeps a personal bagpiper to play her a wake-up tune in the morning.

4. She's an animal lover — but she has her limits.
The Queen has received all sorts of exotic animals as gifts (beavers, an elephant), and she claims ownership of all of the nation's swans, but she's still best known for her pack of corgis, the Welsh herding dogs that have become synonymous with the Monarchy and cute things on the Internet. But now that she's getting on in years, the Queen recently made the decision to stop taking on new pets. Elizabeth is reportedly concerned about having too many animals underfoot.

5. She's so important, the whole nation is freaked out by the thought of losing her.
And, no one knows exactly what will happen when she dies. When Queen Elizabeth eventually passes away, the country will experience social and economic upheaval, and a new King will have to be crowned. We're talking disruptions of billions of pounds, and potentially days of commemoration and coverage. There hasn't been anything like it in decades, and no one seems to know quite how to prepare, which is fitting for such an icon.

This post was originally published on April 21, 2015.

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