April 20, 2018:

Raise a glass of Beefeater Gin to toast the 92nd birthday of Queen Elizabeth II or as she is officially titled “Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Canada and of her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the faith.” 

When Terry and I first met Queen Elizabeth, she was rushing out of our Vancouver hotel to get to the Vancouver Canucks’ home opener where she was scheduled to drop the ceremonial first puck (picture attached). Actually, we never personally spoke with the Queen during several lobby encounters but we had some lively conversations with her security guards who were simply delightful chaps. Since that 2002 weekend, I never gave the Queen two thoughts until I watched the engaging Netflix series, “The Crown” starring the magnificent Claire Foy. The series puts a very human face on the woman many of us have considered a dour, pompous caricature. The reality is that Elizabeth is a very interesting person who has led an extraordinary life.

In 1944, the 18-year-old princess became the only female British royal in history to join the armed forces. She served as a military truck driver and mechanic. When the allied victory was announced, Elizabeth and her sister, Margaret went out on the streets to celebrate with the commoners. Years later, Elizabeth noted “I remember lines of unknown people linking arms and walking down Whitehall, all of us just swept along on a tide of happiness and relief.”

Upon the death of King George VI on February 6,1952, Elizabeth ascended to the throne. At the time, Winston Churchill was Prime Minister and Harry Truman was President. Tony Blair and Theresa May had not yet been born. In fact, The UK Office of National Statistics claims that 81% of today’s British citizens were not alive when Elizabeth began her reign. Since her ascendance, Elizabeth has outlasted 14 Prime Ministers and 13 U.S. Presidents. At 92, the Queen keeps up a remarkably busy schedule of engagements which range from opening new sessions of Parliament to presiding over awards ceremonies. In 2015, Elizabeth carried out 341 engagements- more than Prince Harry, Prince William, and Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge combined.

It’s Good to be Queen
There are many benefits and perks associated with being Queen aside from the dropping of ceremonial pucks:

  • British monarchs are not required to pay income or capital gains taxes. However, Elizabeth has been voluntarily doing so since 1993.
  • The Queen has an estimated net worth of over $400M. Her annual income is derived from taxpayer money and real estate revenues generated by her family’s substantial portfolio
  • She can spend time on many charitable endeavors- In fact, the Queen is a patron of approximately 600 charities. 
  • Besides meeting heads of state and rock stars, Elizabeth has hosted the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, the first woman in space, Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova and the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong.
  • Her staff snaps to attention especially when she gives them secret signals. For example, during a dinner, if the Queen places her handbag on the table, her aides know that the event must end in the next five minutes. If Elizabeth puts her bag on the floor, it signals that she wants to be rescued from her current conversation.
  • The Queen is the recipient of many cool gifts although many need to be sent to the London Zoo.  Recent unusual gifts include two black beavers from Canada and jaguars and sloths from Brazil.
  • In addition to her famous Corgis, the Queen breeds and trains Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels and Dorgies (a cross between a Corgi and a Dachshund). 

Finally, another perk of being Queen is that people laugh at her jokes and tell her what a great mimic she is. The Queen’s chaplain Bishop Michael Mann once said that “the Queen imitating the Concorde landing is one of the funniest things you could see.

Have a great weekend and don’t try that Concorde imitation at home. If you are looking for top-notch marketing support, contact ted@blackdotmessaging.com