By Laaleen Khan

Nine reasons to admire Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor 

9. She carries off bling with aplomb

She has golden carriages that would make Cinderella stare and the ancestral finery of centuries of rich history and, ahem, colonial rule. But if the Queen can’t simultaneously sport a dazzling tiara, necklaces, earrings and brooches with elegance, then honestly—who can? (The answer: possibly just Liz Taylor).

Her Majesty rocks jewels the size of pigeon’s eggs befitting her status and yet it is always she who wears them, never the other way around.

8. She’s a creature of habit

The Queen has a lifetime of routine and discipline behind her nine decades on earth. Every week, she meets with the Prime Minister—her reign has already seen 12. Each summer is spent at her beloved Balmoral Castle in Scotland and each Christmas at Sandringham House in Norfolk.

The BBC’s recently aired The Queen at 90: A Family Tribute, reveals the monarch retains her physical and mental health with daily walks, balanced meals and an innate curiosity.

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Annie Leibovitz photograph of the Queen with all her grandchildren

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The Queen’s birthday is traditionally celebrated on her official birthday in June. Pakistan is one of the few places in the world where the British High Commission celebrates it on her actual birthday, the 21st of April (Ramadan/Ramzan is in June this year). The High Commissioner and Chief Guest traditionally raise a toast with glasses of orange juice.

7. She has a droll sense of humour

Her Majesty filmed a comedic scene at Buckingham Palace in a remarkable acting debut with Daniel Craig, who was dapper in character as James Bond. Her male stunt double hilariously parachuted for the opening ceremony at the 2012 London Olympics.

It was recently revealed that, during a stroll near her Balmoral estate, the Queen once trolled a group of American tourists who didn’t recognize her in her country garb (tweed, wellies and a headscarf). When quizzed by the tourists if she’d ever met the Queen, she’d replied, “No, but he has,” referring to her accompanying protection officer. Nicely done, ma’am.

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Portraits for QBP commemorative stamps

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Fashion triumph or daring disastor, 1999

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Flower power in Canada, 2010

6. She prefers Hollywood-style portrait photos

The Queen has notably sat for at least 129 portraits. In an unconventional move, Annie Leibovitz (the celebrity portrait photographer renowned for snapping Brangelina et al) was commissioned for the Queen’s ceremonial portrait photography, striking in elaborate robes.

Leibovitz’s latest, relatively informal, photo series shows the Queen relaxing with her great-grandchildren and her beloved little corgis with neutral, earthy palettes that reflect her love of her family and affinity with the outdoors.

5. She lends grace to embarrassing situations

The Queen’s ability to tolerate her husband Prince Philip’s outrageously racy and even racist gaffes without batting a royal eyelid, at least in public, is seriously impressive. In 1993, the Duke of Edinburgh asked a fashion journalist if she was wearing “mink knickers” and once infamously asked Cayman Islanders “aren’t most of you descended from pirates?”

In 1997, on the subject of marriage, the Duke said, “You can take it from me, the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance.” It seems one must, in such circumstances.

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Kristin Scott Thomas as “The Queen”

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Stunt doubles for the Queen & Daniel Craig’s parachute jump for the London Olympics

Helen Mirren in her Oscar-winning role in the film, The Queen_resize

Helen Mirren in her Oscar-winning role in the film, The Queen

Queen Elizabeth II in Lahore, 1961. Photograph- Popperfoto_Getty Images THE GUARDIAN_resize

Queen Elizabeth II in Lahore, 1961. Photo courtesy Popperfoto, Getty Images

The Queen in Lahore during the royal tour of Pakistan, 1961. Photograph- Popperfoto_Getty Images THE GUARDIAN_resize

The Queen in Lahore during the royal tour of Pakistan, 1961. Photo courtesy Popperfoto, Getty Images

The new British High Commissioner, Thomas Drew: “We have our second biggest diplomatic mission in the world here; that is why we have our biggest bilateral development programme here. And why we continue to build. We have just opened a British Business Centre to help British companies; we are about to open new British Council Libraries in Lahore in Karachi. In short, the British Government is behind Pakistan and wants to make a difference – for Pakistan and for the UK.”

4. She has a keen equestrian spirit

Young Princess Lilibet was raised with a love for the outdoors, long before she knew she would be queen one day. She has had a lifetime of athleticism.

At age 4, she was given her first Shetland pony. At 90, she continues to ride regularly and with prowess. She’s competitive too—her thoroughbreds compete in races and she takes a keen interest in their breeding.   

3. She has fashionista moments

The Queen’s collection of custom-made coats and dresses in every shade of the rainbow with matching hats and retro-style handbags worn with pearls, diamond brooches and sensible court shoes may seem conventional in her nonagenarian year.

She has, however, had serious style icon moments peppering her reign, from her sumptuous Coronation robes to her dazzlingly feminine, waist-cinching Norman Hartnell evening gowns that were a glamorous nod to Christian Dior’s New Look silhouette.

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2. She sports her eccentricities with finesse

Whether it’s her devotion to her corgis, her preferred casual apparel in the country, or her determination to drive her Range Rover without a seatbelt (or without a license—she hardly needs to fear the traffic police), her Majesty knows what she likes and sticks to it. Like any other lady of the manor, the sovereign continues to examine the table settings before State Dinners.

“Like all the best families,” she once said, “we have our share of eccentricities, of impetuous and wayward youngsters and of family disagreements.” ‘Nuff said!

1. She’s way too cool to care about breaking records

As a young princess, Elizabeth was an honourary colonel in the Royal Army regiment during World War II. As Queen, she is Head of State for 138 million people worldwide and has conducted 265 official overseas visits in no less than 116 countries. She has given Royal Assent to over 3,500 Acts of Parliament, conferred more than 400,000 honours and awards and, in the opinion of her grandson, Prince William, has tremendous energy.

So when Elizabeth II broke her great great grandmother Victoria’s record for the longest reign last year on the 9th of September, she didn’t share the general excitement for the reason that her father, George VI (whom she was very close to) had died at just 56. She herself was only 25 when she became queen.

And for the fact that she’s just too remarkable to worry about breaking records.

Good Times

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