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100 ton-derful facts about the Queen Mum.

THE whole country is gearing up for the Queen Mother's long-awaited 100th birthday this Friday. There will be celebrations across the land as people toast the world's most-loved great grandma. In this Sunday People tribute, CHARLOTTE SELIGMAN and SALLY BROOK reveal 100 funny, wise and moving things you never knew about the Queen Mum...1. AT the age of seven, she had her palm read by a gypsy at a charity event. Afterwards, she said: "She says I'm going to be a Queen when I grow up! Isn't that silly?"

2. SHE had a stairlift installed at Sandringham, but still prefers to walk up the stairs.

3. ON her honeymoon in 1923 she got whooping cough and kept her new husband Prince Albert - later King George VI - awake for hours at night.

4. SHE once told her family to celebrate New Year at 10pm so she could go to bed early.

5. AFTER long days on her feet during overseas tours, the tired Queen Mum used to take her shoes off in the back of the car and eat butterscotch sweets.

6. AT 97, she became the oldest person in the world to have two hip replacement ops.

7. SHE once told an official photographer to put back the wrinkles he had kindly removed from her portrait.

8. WHEN she had to use a wheelchair after an op, she joked: "We're under starter's orders!"

10. SHE still uses a prayer book which belonged to Queen Victoria's daughter Helena.

11. THE Queen Mother made her last official foreign tour to Canada just 10 years ago at the age of 89.

12. FROM her earliest days, the Queen Mum has been a keen gardener.

13. WHEN singer Tommy Steele made his debut at the Royal Variety Show, he initially didn't go down well with the audience. The Queen Mum made a point of leaning out of the Royal Box to applaud so everyone would join in.

14. AT the opening of a youth centre, the Queen Mum showed her skill at the pool table. "Cor, I wish I could play as well as that," said one boy.

15. AT lunch one day, the Queen asked if she could have a second glass of wine. The Queen Mum replied: "Is that wise? After all you have to reign all afternoon."

16. WHEN her host at an official engagement forgot to supply tongs for the ice bucket, she pulled out two cubes with her fingers and dropped them in her gin and tonic.

17. SHE used to keep her own revolver and practised shooting on the ranges in Buckingham Palace.

18. WHEN she danced a waltz with the president of a university student union he trod all over her toes. Brushing aside his apologies, she said: "Don't worry, you haven't knocked my tiara off yet."

19. SHE is a great fan of author Jane Austen.

20. ON an early tour of South Africa she used her parasol to hit a man who had run up to the royal car. But all he wanted to do was give the young Princess Elizabeth a birthday present.

21. NEW Yorkers were the first to dub her the Queen Mum during a visit in the 1950s.

22. HER first official engagement was a visit to the McVitie's bakery in Edinburgh in 1923 where she chose a nine-foot wedding cake.

23. SHE has only given one newspaper interview since getting into trouble for talking to a reporter about her engagement in 1923. In 1995, she spoke to George Fraser of the Aberdeen Press and Journal who was 100.

24. WHEN Edward VIII abdicated in 1936, Princess Elizabeth raced to the nursery with the news. "Does that mean you'll be the next queen?" asked Princess Margaret. "Yes," said the Queen Mum. "Poor you," said Margaret.

25. SHE complained that her marital home of White Lodge, in Richmond Park - chosen by her father-in-law King George V - was "cold and damp".

26. SHE has never driven a car.

27. THE mischievous Queen Mum once lobbed a chocolate caramel through the royal car's open window to an onlooking policeman.

28. SHE first met her husband Prince Albert at a children's party when she was five and he was 10.

29. THE Queen Mum has planned her own funeral.

30. HER favourite fish is goujons of sole but she hates "slimy" smoked salmon.

32. AFTER her beloved husband died in 1952, she is believed to have used mediums to try and contact him.

33. EVERY year on her birthday, Ivor Spencer of the Guild of Toastmasters presents her with a Nebuchadnezzar of champagne - equivalent to 20 bottles. She once told him: "If the family don't turn up, I'll polish it off myself."

34. SHE calls wasps "wopsies" and hands "lunch hooks".

35. AMERICAN physiotherapist Jean Couch says she has lived so long because she has "excellent posture" and a straight back.

36. HER favourite meal is chopped veal rissoles with herbs and cream.

37. SHE is a huge horse-racing fan and once left an official lunch at the Savoy early so she could catch a race on TV.

38. AFTER Buckingham Palace was bombed twice during the Second World War she said: "I'm glad we've been bombed. It makes me feel we can look the East End in the face."

39. HER favourite prank as a girl was to pour freezing water from the turrets of her Glamis Castle home over unsuspecting visitors below.

40. HER mother Lady Strathmore once told her: "I pity the man you marry because you are so determined."

41. WHEN she visited the East End during the Blitz, she coaxed a dog out of the rubble.

42. WHEN she first moved in to Clarence House, she described it as a "horrid little place." But she grew to love it.

43. SHE has a zimmer frame - but only uses it when nobody is watching.

44. SHE always turns the TV off before the National Anthem starts late at night because it is "too embarrassing" to hear it.

45. SHE speaks to her daughters daily on the phone and often asks the Queen: "Have you enjoyed reigning today?"

46. THE Queen and Princess Margaret call her Mummy.

48. SHE never bets, but takes part in family sweepstakes.

49. SHE says of illness: "If you ignore it, it will go away."

50. FINANCIAL experts estimate she has run up a pounds 4 million overdraft over the years.

51. THE rest of the Royals joke that she is always late.

52. HER lateness often sent George VI into a fury. He would pace up and down muttering: "Where is that damned woman?"

53. AT her wedding she left her handbag on the royal coach.

54. SHE has told the Queen she expects an official telegram for her 100th birthday.

55. DURING dinner one night a servant asked her: "Would you like some more chips ma'am?" She had no idea what he was talking about until he explained: "Fried potatoes."

56. DESPITE a strict dress code specifying no hats at Edward and Sophie's wedding, the Queen Mother wore what she wanted - a large plumed hat.

57. SHE thinks a good marriage is the key to being happy.

58. WHEN she choked on a fish bone during a dinner party, the Queen Mum said: "After all these years of fishing, the fish are having their revenge."

59. SHE is well known for the ladylike way she greets well-wishers. She told one lady-in-waiting: "You must never look at your feet. That is very rude."

60. ON a trip to South Africa, one disgruntled Afrikaner said to her: "We still can't forgive the English for conquering us." The Queen Mum replied: "I understand. We feel very much the same in Scotland."

61. ON a rare shopping trip in the USA, the Queen Mum bought a magnetic bottle opener and a game of Scrabble.

62. ON a visit to see the Masai people in Kenya who had been suffering from drought, she told them: "I hope you will be blessed with rains." Minutes later there was a huge downpour.

63. DURING a visit to Venice, the Queen Mum tucked into a Cornetto ice cream while on a gondola.

64. A SIX-year-old boy who met her said excitedly: "Oh Ma'am, I've met your daughter. Do you know she's the Queen?" "Yes, I know," she replied. "Isn't it exciting."

65. SHE tries to do the Daily Telegraph crossword every day.

66. SAMPLES of clothes are sent to her so she never has to go out shopping.

68. SHE goes to church every Sunday.

69. ALTHOUGH it is not obligatory for friends and family to join her, they always do.

70. AS a child she made up her own stories of knights and damsels in distress.

71. A DESERTER once bluffed his way into Windsor Castle, grabbed her by the ankle and pleaded for sympathy. She summoned help and told him: "I advise you to take your punishment like a man and to serve your country like one."

72. SHE adores mint sweets

73. HER hats have been exclusively made for decades by Joy Quested-Nowall, of London.

74. FLY fishing is a sport in which she excels.

75. WHEN she goes to state functions, she likes her staff to congregate at the foot of the stairs as she descends in full regalia and tiara.

76. ON her 98th birthday she went to the theatre to see Oklahoma.

77. SHE was fluent in French by the age of 10.

78. ON the day she was born - August 4, 1900 - a new drink called Coca Cola arrived in the UK from America.

79. WHEN she feeds her beloved dogs with doggie treats, pops one in her own mouth.

80. HER father-in-law George V adored her and once told his son Prince Albert: "You are very lucky to have such a dear wife." 81. SHE likes to drink white wine with her dinner.

82. SHE recently said that cricket was the reason the British Empire lasted so long because "it had great value in sticking everyone together".

83. A CHEMIST'S just up the road from Clarence House has a magic potion commonly known as "The Royal Hangover Cure." The recipe is naturally a secret.

84. SHE doesn't regard champagne as alcoholic, but uses it as a pick-me-up.

85. TEN years ago, her favourite dog Ranger led a pack that killed the Queen's pet dog Chipper.

86. WHEN Lord Mountbatten's wife Edwina was buried at sea, the Queen Mother commented: "Poor Edwina, she always did like to make a splash."

87. IT was the Queen Mum who first introduced the royal walkabout when she was on visits with George VI.

88. AFTER a long day visiting pensioners, she was asked if she wanted to sit down. She replied: "Oh no, I am quite fresh. But I did feel sorry for those poor old gentlemen." Their average age was 75 while she was 92.

89. WHEN she made an impromptu visit to the Queen's Head pub in Stepney, East London, in 1987, she supped a pint of bitter.

90. THE Queen Mum always dressed smartly when she visited bombed-out areas in the Blitz, saying: "People would always wear their best if they were visiting me."

91. DURING one official visit to South Africa King George was supposed to snip a feather from an ostrich but missed and got the bird instead. The Queen Mum took the shears off him and expertly took off a feather. 92. FOLLOWING the death of her husband, the Queen Mum wore black for a year and hardly ventured out. When she did she refused to mention his name for fear of breaking down.

93. THE Queen Mum always taught her daughters: "Your work is the rent you pay for the room you occupy on earth."

95. ON a visit to Smithfield meat market in London, the Queen Mother was running very late. When one jittery official took a sneaky look at his watch, she said: "If I am behind time, it would be better if you started tapping your foot."

96. THE Queen Mum has a wonderful rapport with Prince Charles. She once said: "He is more like a son than a grandson."

97. WHEN the Queen forgot the key to a royal lodge, her mother joked: "I thought all the Queen had to do to get in was say 'Open Sesame!'"

98. GENEROSITY runs in her family. Her father had to sell off much of his land because he'd practically bankrupted the family estate by building churches throughout Scotland.

99. GIN and tonic is her favourite tipple. She always likes to have a couple before setting out on an engagement.

100. WHEN Princess Margaret sulkily refused to get out of bed for a fire drill the Queen Mum retorted: "Oh well, she'll just have to burn then, won't she?"31. ALTHOUGH her eyesight is failing, she refuses to wear glasses and prefers a

magnifying glass.9. BOTTLED water served to guests at the Queen Mum's Clarence House home comes from - the TAP.47. THE Queen Mother's two favourite television programmes are Fawlty Towers and Dad's Army.67. ONE of the Queen Mum's favourite sayings is: "If you find someone a bore, it is your fault."94. AFTER catching just one fish on a two-day angling trip, she said: "It would have been easier to get one out of the freezer."
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Seligman, Charlotte; Brook, Sally
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jul 30, 2000
Words:2240
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