T&L is going on holiday!

It has been a tough but very productive year so far. Now it is high time to have a break and relax so that we can face the new school year with perseverance, energy and creativity.
I promise to be back :-) If you are on holiday, too, enjoy it to the fullest. If you are not, I hope your August is calm and pleasant. Either way, see you soon!

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London 2012 official song, Survival, by Muse

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Opening Ceremony

The Olympic Cauldron designed by Thomas Heatherwick
photo credits: BBC News
The London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony took place yesterday and was one of the most emotioning moments I have ever experienced. Titled 'Isles of Wonder', the Ceremony welcomed the finest athletes from more than 200 nations for the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games, marking an historic third time the capital has hosted the world’s biggest and most important sporting event.
The Opening Ceremony reflected the key themes and priorities of the London 2012 Games, based on sport, inspiration, youth and urban transformation. It was a Ceremony for everyone and celebrated contributions the UK has made to the world through innovation and revolution, as well as the creativity and exuberance of British people, from rural Britain to the Industrial Revolution, over to contemporary music and cinema. The comedic, quintessentially British moment complemented a show that film director Danny Boyle, an Oscar winner for "Slumdog Millionaire", turned into an unabashed celebration of the host Nation's history, culture and eccentricity.
The highest moment in the first part of the Ceremony was when Daniel Craig, wearing his trademark tuxedo, enters Buckingham Palace to meet Her Majesty, The Queen, with her two corgis at her feet and in a dramatic cinematic debut She turns from a writing desk and says simply: "Good evening, Mr. Bond." The moment drew a huge cheer from the audience, not used to seeing Her Majesty play such an informal part in proceedings and coincides with a resurgence in the Royal Family's popularity.
James Bond escorting Her Majesty The Queen to the Games
photo credits: Barbican Centre FB page
The spectacular finale of the event saw the Olympic Cauldron, formed of 205 copper petals representing the competing nations coming together in London for the Games, ignited by seven young Torchbearers nominated by Britain’s past and present Olympic and sporting greats. For exclusive behind-the-scenes access go to Ceremonies Explorer.
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Portuguese Athletes in the Olympic Games

Olympics began on Scandinavian soil, for both the Summer and Winter editions of the Olympic Games. With the creation of the Olympic Committee of Portugal (the Portuguese National Olympic Committee) in 1909, and recognition by the International Olympic Committee in the same year, Portugal was the 13th nation to join the Olympic Movement.
Carlos Lopes was Portugal’s first-ever Olympic gold medalist whose record
 in the men’s marathon stood for 24 years. Photo credits: Sports Yahoo
Three years later, it made its first appearance at the 1912 Summer Olympics, held in Stockholm, Sweden. Since then, Portugal has participated in every edition of the Games of the Olympiad, summing up a total of 22 presences, which make it the eighteenth most assiduous nation. As of 2008, Portugal has collected a total of 22 Olympic medals (four gold, seven silver, and eleven bronze medals).
The Olympic Committee of Portugal will be represented by a delegation of 75 competitors (43 men and 32 women) in 13 sports. Compared with the previous Games, the Portuguese Olympic team is reduced by two athletes and will not participate in three sports: archery, fencing and taekwondo. Notable absences due to injuries include the defending men's triple jump champion Nelson Évora, Olympic medalists Vanessa FernandesFrancis Obikwelu, and Rui Silva; and long jumper Naide Gomes.
Four years ago, 78 Portuguese athletes competed in 17 different sports at the 2008 China Olympic games. Nelson Évora, the Olympic Gold medalist in the triple jump at the Beijing/2008, and the Portuguese great hope for this year London Olympics, will not compete due to a recent tibia fracture.
Portuguese athlete, Teresa Portela.
photo credits: PAJ
The qualifying Portuguese athletes will compete in athletics, canoeing, cycling, gymnastics, rowing, sailing, shooting, and swimming.
Portugal first participated in Olympics in 1912 and till now we have won 21 medals in different events.Click here for a complete list of Portuguese athletes qualified for 2012 Olympics.
The London 2012 Olympic Games will be the tenth Olympic Games. London will become the first city to officially host the modern Olympic Games three times, having previously done so in 1908 and in 1948. The London 2012 Olympic Games will be followed by the 2012 Paralympic Games to take place from 29 August to 9 September. A total of 205 nations will take part in 300 events at the Olympic Games in 2012, while 147 nations will take part in the Paralympic Games.

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Let the Games begin...

To herald the first day of the London 2012 Olympic Games, today at 8.12am Big Ben and thousands of bells across the United Kingdom will ring out as loudly as possible for three minutes to welcome the Games.
The 2012 Summer Olympic Games, officially the Games of the XXX Olympiad, also known informally as London 2012, is scheduled  from 27 July (when the opening ceremony is held) until 12 August 2012. Over 10,000 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) are expected to participate.
Following a bid headed by former Olympic champion Sebastian Coe and the then Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, London was selected as the host city on 6 July 2005 during the 117th IOC Session in Singapore, defeating bids from Moscow, New York, Madrid and Paris. London will become the first city to officially host the modern Olympic Games three times, having previously done so in 1908 and in 1948.
photo credits: Wikipedia and The Logo Factory

The Olympic Stadium
found pic @ Wikipedia
Construction in preparation for the Games has involved considerable redevelopment, particularly themed towards sustainability. The main focus of this is a new 200 hectare Olympic Park, constructed on a former industrial site at Stratford in the east of London. The Games also make use of many venues which were already in place before the bid.
Leaner, greener and cleaner could be London 2012's motto as sustainability and ecology are pushed to the forefront.
photo credits: The Logo Factory
The official mascots for the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games were unveiled on 19 May 2010; this marks the second time (after Vancouver) that both Olympic and Paralympic mascots were unveiled at the same time. Wenlock and Mandeville are animations depicting two drops of steel from a steelworks in Bolton. They are named Wenlock, after the Shropshire town of Much Wenlock, which held a forerunner of the current Olympic Games, and Mandeville, after Stoke Mandeville, a village in Buckinghamshire where a forerunner to the Paralympic Games were first held. The writer Michael Morpurgo wrote the story concept to the mascots, and an animation was produced; it is intended that this will form part of an ongoing series concerning the mascots in the run-up to the Games in 2012. Two stories have been created about the mascots: Out Of A Rainbow, the story of how Wenlock and Mandeville came to be, and Adventures On A Rainbow, which features the children from Out Of A Rainbow meeting the mascots and trying out many different Olympic and Paralympic sports.
photo credits: BBC News UK
Approximately 4,700 Olympic and Paralympic medals have been produced by the Royal Mint. They were designed by David Watkins (Olympics) and Lin Cheung (Paralympics). Virtually all the gold, silver and copper was mined in Salt Lake County. Each medal weighs 375–400g, has a diameter of 85mm and is 7mm thick, with the sport and discipline engraved on the rim. The obverse, as is traditional, features Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, stepping from the Panathinaiko Stadium that hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, with Parthenon in the background; the reverse features the Games logo, the River Thames and a series of lines representing "the energy of athletes and a sense of pulling together". The medals were transferred to the Tower of London vaults on 2nd July 2012 for storage.
Melanie Oliveira
photo credits: RTP
Lit in Greece, the Olympic Flame arrived in the UK on 18th May 2012 before setting out the next day on a 70-day Olympic Torch Relay, bringing the excitement of the Games to everyone. The Olympic Flame stands for peace, unity and friendship. It has travelled to within an hour of 95% of people in the UK, the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey during the 70-day Torch Relay. It enabled local communities to shine a light on the best their area has to offer. 8,000 inspirational people carried the Olympic Flame as it journeys across the UK. Nominated by someone they know, it was their moment to shine, inspiring millions of people watching in their community, in the UK and worldwide. Last Monday it was the time of a Portuguese fighter to carry it. Her name is Melanie Oliveira and she's been struggling against multiple sclerosis for years. I felt deeply honoured of being Portuguese!
London is ready and so are we! It is high time to inspire a whole generation: let the Games begin!

photo credits: London 2012

photo credits: Visit London FB page
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A Brief History of London

found pic @ Google Images
London first appears in history as a small military storage depot employed by the Romans during their invasion of Britain, which began in A.D. 43. It was ideally located as a trading center with the continent and soon developed into an important port. It had already become the headquarters of the Procurator, the official in charge of the finances of Roman Britain, when Boudica, the Queen of the Iceni, a native British tribe inhabiting East Anglia, burnt it to the ground in A.D. 61 in the course of her bloody revolt against Roman rule. It was rebuilt by the year 100, and first appears as "Londinium" in Tacitus's Annals. It rapidly became both the provincial capital and the administrative, commercial, and financial center of Roman Britain. Its population by the middle of the third century numbered perhaps 30,000 people, a number which grew in fifty years to nearly twice that number. They lived in a city with paved streets, temples, public baths, offices, shops, brick-fields, potteries, glass-works, modest homes and elaborate villas, surrounded by three miles of stone walls (portions of which still remain) which were eight feet thick at their base and up to twenty feet in height.
The late Roman gateway at Aldersgate - photo credits: fmschmitt
During the course of the fourth century, however, as the Roman Empire began to collapse, Roman Londinium fell into obscurity as its protective Legions withdrew; history records no trace of it between 457 and 600. During that time, however, it gradually became a Saxon trading town, eventually one of considerable size. In the same century Christianity was introduced to the city (St. Augustine appointed a bishop, and a cathedral was built), but the inhabitants resisted and eventually drove the bishop from the city. It was sacked and burned by the Danes in the ninth century, but was resettled by Alfred in 883, when the Danes were driven out, the city walls were rebuilt, a citizen army was established, and Ethelred, Alfred's son-in-law, was appointed governor. It continued to grow steadily thereafter, though because most of its buildings were constructed of wood, large fires took place with unsettling regularity.
William, I
image credits: BBC History
Lunduntown (as it was now called) retained its preeminence after the Norman Conquest, which began in 1066. Though William the Conqueror had himself crowned at Westminster Abbey, he distrusted the Saxon populace of the city, and constructed a number of fortresses within the city walls, including still extant portions of Westminster Hall and the Tower of London. In 1176 work began on a new stone bridge to replace the wooden one which the Romans had built a thousand years before. The new bridge (which, in its turn, acquired the name of Old London Bridge) was completed in 1209, and would be in existence until 1832, remaining the only bridge across the Thames until 1750. The city became a true capital under Edward III, who placed the royal administrative center at Westminster during his reign in the fourteenth century. London was the only British city in mediaeval times which was comparable in size to the great cities of Europe. Between 1500 and 1800 it grew steadily in size and prominence, though during the middle ages its population never reached the levels it had attained in Roman times. Its population increased, however, from perhaps 50,000 in 1500, to 900,000 in 1800, in spite of living conditions which, over the centuries, were so unhealthy that the rapid increase in population could be sustained, in the face of an enormously high death rate, only by a steady influx of immigrants from other parts of Britain. 
The streets, since medieval times, had always been filthy, filled with mud, excrement, and offal; the water was polluted, rats were omnipresent. The Black Death of 1348-49 killed two-thirds of the inhabitants of the city proper and its surrounding areas (at least 60,000 people), and there were three subsequent serious outbreaks of the bubonic plague between 1603 and 1636, but the city continued to increase in size. The last major outbreak of the plague occurred in 1665; during the summer of that year perhaps 70,000 persons died. 
In 1854, Nathaniel Hawthorne, at the time the American consul at Liverpool, recorded this melancholy entry in one of his English notebooks: "The following is a legend inscribed on the inner margin of a curious old box:‹'From Birkenhead into Hillbree/ A squirrel might leap from tree to tree.' I do not know where Hillbree is; but all round Birkenhead a squirrel would scarcely find a single tree to climb upon. All is pavement and brick buildings now." It was this sort of nostalgia for a rapidly disappearing rural past which led William Morris to found the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings, and led him, as well, to begin his The Earthly Paradise with the following lines:
Forget six counties overhung with smoke,
Forget the snorting steam and piston stroke,
Forget the spreading of the hideous town;
Think rather of the pack-horse on the down,
And dream of London, small, and white, and clean,
The clear Thames bordered by its gardens green. . .
While nigh the thronged wharf Geoffrey Chaucer's pen
Moves over bills of lading. . .
image credits: Scenes from the Industrial Era in GB
From the middle ages on, and well into the nineteenth century, much of London was violent and squalid. During the eighteenth century, the poor and the unemployed frequently occupied themselves, as Hogarth demonstrated, by drinking themselves into insensibility; one doctor reported that one of every eight Londoners drank themselves to death. In 1742 London had one gin-shop for every seventy-five inhabitants. 
London epitomized the process of social stratification which took place in Great Britain. As the city grew in size, the poor became increasingly crowded into the filthy slums in the eastern part of the city while the merchant and the professional classes and the gentry established themselves in the fashionable suburbs in the west. The Gordon Riots of 1780, for example, (which Charles Dickens made the focus of Barnaby Rudge) were ostensibly motivated by anti-Catholic sentiment, but were a manifestation of the deep hostility which the poor felt for the wealthy.
By 1750 one tenth of the population of England resided in London, and it was the undisputed cultural, economic, religious, educational, and political center of the nation. Population growth continued unabated through the nineteenth and into the twentieth century. By the time Dickens died in 1871 the population of London was well over 3,000,000, and the spread of the prosperous middle classes into suburban areas surrounding the city proper was well underway. Less than a century later, the population of metropolitan London would be over 8,000,000.
London was, of course, also Britain's artistic and literary capital. For centuries, with its publishers, newspapers, journals and weeklies, Coffee-Houses, taverns, and literary salons, the city played an important (and frequently crucial) role in the life, development, and work of virtually every English literary figure of any significance. Hogarth and Rowlandson portrayed it in their work as the great eighteenth-century authors did in theirs.
Jonathan Swift - image credits: Famous People
London lies at the centre of the lives of Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton. Many British authors were either born there, as Blake or Lamb were; made their reputations there, as Swift, Pope, Johnson, Boswell, Carlyle, Dickens, and Kipling did; or died there, as Thomson would. But London was a city, too, as Swift, Blake, Dickens, Morris, and Thomson all tell us, of warehouses, docks, factories, prisons, palaces and slums, of beggars, labourers, shopkeepers, and bankers. Of the World-city which was Dickens's London, Hippolyte Taine wrote that: "Nothing here is natural: everything is transformed, violently changed, from the earth and man himself, to the very light and air. But the hugeness of this accumulation of man-made things takes off the attention from this deformity and this artifice; in default of a wholesome and noble beauty, there is life, teeming and grandiose."
John Ruskin, in the 1860s, referred to it as "That great foul city of London, — rattling, growling, smoking, stinking — ghastly heap of fermenting brickwork, pouring out poison at every pore. . . ." Earlier, Shelley had written "Hell is a city much like London — A populous and smoky city" (the famous nineteenth-century London fogs were the result of the air pollution brought about by the burning of coal on an enormous scale). On the other hand, Dr. Johnson once wrote: "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."
found pic @ Capital Calling
The arrival of the railway created another wave of development in the late 1800's. St Pancras then and now looks more like a Gothic castle than a railway station. Other large railway stations were built all round the edge of the main town. And in 1939 to 1945 war, another great change to the landscape took place as German bombing removed much of the old housing. Remarkably St Paul's Cathedral survived the incendiary bombing - standing above the flames of all around in this 1940 photograph.
Fire, bombing and post-War redevelopment has meant that the City, despite its history, has relatively few intact notable historic structures remaining. Those that are present today include the Monument to the Great Fire of London ("the Monument"), St Paul's Cathedral, the Guildhall, the Royal Exchange, Dr. Johnson's House, Mansion House... 2 King's Bench Walk and Prince Henry's Room are notable historic survivors of heavy bombing of the Temple area, which has largely been rebuilt to its historic form. Another example of a bomb-damaged place having been restored is Staple Inn on Holborn. A few small sections of the Roman London Wall exist, for example near the Tower of London and also in the Barbican area. Among the twentieth century listed buildings are Bracken House, the first post WWII buildings in the country to be given statutory protection, and the whole of the Barbican and Golden Lane Estate.
The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
The Tower of London is not within the City, but is a notable visitor attraction which brings tourists to the southeast of the City. Other landmark buildings include a number of the modern high-rise buildings as well as the Bank of England, the Old Bailey, Smithfield Market and the Lloyd's building.
In my opinion, London is one of the most incredible cities to visit. If you are planning to go there, you cannot miss unique spots like:
- The British Museum
Tate Modern (museum of modern and contemporary art) 
Trafalgar Square and London's National Gallery
- The Natural History Museum
St. James's Park
- The London Eye
- Hyde Park
- The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
- Westminster Abbey
- Buckingham Palace
- The Science Museum
- Victoria & Albert Museum (my favourite)
- Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
- Royal Museums Greenwich
- The Tower of London
- London Bridge
- St. James's Park
- Covent Garden (and the amazing Apple store)
- Royal Albert Hall
- The British Library
- Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
- St. Paul's Cathedral
The London Eye and the River Thames
- Kensington Gardens
- Tower Bridge
Sherlock Holmes Museum
- St. Pancras Station
- Camden Town
- Soho
- Mayfair
- Wimbledon Stadium
- Wembley Stadium
- Notting Hill
- Neal's Yard
- The Serpentine
- Piccadilly Circus
- Oxford Street
- The Hard Rock Café...
And many, many others that you can find here!
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Commonwealth of Nations

The Queen meets Aboriginal didgeridoo-player
Robert Slockee in March, 2000 

© Press Association
After 60 years of its existence, the Commonwealth of Nations, formerly the British Commonwealth, is a remarkable organisation which remains a major force for change in the world today.
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 54 independent countries, almost all of which were formerly under British rule.
The origins of the Commonwealth come from Britain's former Empire. Many of the members of the Commonwealth were territories which had historically come under British rule at various times by settlement, conquest or cession. The administration of such colonies evolved in different ways, to reflect the different circumstances of each territory.
After achieving independence, India was the first of a number of countries which decided that, although they wished to become republics, they still wanted to remain within the Commonwealth.
To reconcile these aims, the 1949 London Declaration recognised King George VI as Head of the Commonwealth. Following his death, the Commonwealth leaders recognised Queen Elizabeth II in that capacity.
The origins of the Commonwealth lie in Britain's former colonial empire. Until 1949, the member states of today's Commonwealth were united through common allegiance to the British Crown.

After the Second World War, many countries sought their independence. Soon after attaining independence in 1947, India declared that it wished to adopt a republican constitution, but also wanted to remain within the Commonwealth.
This was accepted in the London Declaration agreed at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 1949, provided that India accepted King George VI as "the symbol of the free association of the independent Member Nations and as such Head of the Commonwealth".
Over the next two decades, British rule ended in many parts of Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and the Pacific. 

With a few exceptions (such as Myanmar, formerly known as Burma), the newly independent countries joined the Commonwealth and recognised King George VI and, following his death, Queen Elizabeth II, as Head of the Commonwealth.

The Queen meets Maoris during her 1977 
Silver Jubilee tour of New Zealand     
© Press Association
The London Declaration made it possible for the Asian and African states of the former Empire, most of which wished to become republics, to remain within the Commonwealth upon attaining independence. This has led to the development of the contemporary Commonwealth.
Member countries of the Commonwealth can therefore have different constitutions: a republic with a president as Head of State (such as India and South Africa), an indigenous monarchy (for example, Lesotho, Malaysia, Swaziland and Tonga), a sultanate (Brunei), an elected Paramount Chieftaincy (Western Samoa), or a realm recognising The Queen as Sovereign (for example the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Barbados).
Whichever form their constitution takes, member countries all recognise The Queen as Head of the Commonwealth. Today the Commonwealth continues to play an important social and political role in the world, as a major association of countries. 
As The Queen declared in a Silver Jubilee speech in 1977, it symbolises "the transformation of the Crown from an emblem of dominion into a symbol of free and voluntary association. In all history this has no precedent." The term 'Commonwealth' was first used by British Liberal politician Lord Rosebery in Adelaide, Australia, in 1884. During a famous speech, he referred to the British Empire as 'a Commonwealth of Nations'.
There are 54 member countries of the Commonwealth. These are listed below, with the years in which they joined the Commonwealth.
Also listed is their constitutional status. 'Realm' indicates a Commonwealth country which has The Queen as Sovereign, while 'monarchy' indicates a Commonwealth country which has its own monarch as Head of State.
Nauru is a Special Member which does not attend meetings of Commonwealth Heads of Government.
Since membership of the Commonwealth is entirely voluntary, any member can withdraw at any time.
The Republic of Ireland did so in 1949, as did Zimbabwe in 2003.
Antigua and Barbuda1981Realm
The Bahamas1973Realm
Fiji1970 (rejoined in 1997 after 10 year lapse)Republic
The Gambia1965Republic
The Maldives1982Republic
New Zealand1931Realm
Papua New Guinea1975Realm
St. Christopher and Nevis1983Realm
St. Lucia1979Realm
St. Vincent and the Grenadines1979Realm
Sierra Leone1961Republic
Solomon Islands1978Realm
South Africa1931
(withdrew in 1961,
rejoined in 1994)
Sri Lanka1948Republic
Trinidad and Tobago1962Republic
United KingdomRealm
The largest member of the Commonwealth is Canada, at nearly 10 million square kilometres. The most populous Commonwealth country is India, with nearly 1.1 billion people. The smallest member is Nauru, with only 13,000 inhabitants. The Commonwealth also includes the world's driest and most sparsely populated country: Namibia.
Commonwealth Day is the annual celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations held on the second Monday in March, and marked by a multi-faith service in Westminster Abbey, normally attended by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth IIHead of the Commonwealth, with the Commonwealth Secretary-General and Commonwealth High Commissioners in London. The Queen delivers an address to the Commonwealth, broadcast throughout the world.
photo credits: BBC News World
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85 facts about Queen Elizabeth II

Princess Margaret (front) with her sister Elizabeth (right)
and grandmother Queen Mary (left) @ Wikipedia
1. The Queen was born at 2.40am on 21 April 1926 at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London.
2. She was the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York, who later became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
3. It was not expected that her father would become King, or that she would become Queen.
4. The Princess was christened Elizabeth Alexandra Mary in the private chapel at Buckingham Palace. She was named after her mother, while her two middle names are those of her paternal great-grandmother, Queen Alexandra, and paternal grandmother, Queen Mary.
5. The Princess's early years were spent at 145 Piccadilly and at White Lodge in Richmond Park.
6. When she was six years old, her parents took over Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park as their own country home.
7. Princess Elizabeth was educated at home with Princess Margaret, her younger sister.
8. She received tuition from her father, as well as sessions with Henry Marten, the Vice-Provost of Eton. She was also instructed in religion by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
9. Princess Elizabeth also learned French from a number of French and Belgian governesses.
10. Princess Elizabeth enrolled as a Girl Guide when she was eleven, and later became a Sea Ranger.
11. In 1940, at the height of the Blitz, the young Princesses were moved for their safety to Windsor Castle, where they spent most of the war years.
12. The Queen is the first British monarch to have celebrated a Diamond Wedding Anniversary.
13.Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip first met when they attended the wedding of Prince Philip's cousin, Princess Marina of Greece to The Duke of Kent, who was an uncle of Princess Elizabeth, in 1934.
14.The engagement between Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten RN was announced on the 9th July, 1947. Prince Philip was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. He was created "Duke of Edinburgh" by King George VI on marriage.
15.The platinum and diamond engagement ring was made by the jewellers, Philip Antrobus Ltd, using diamonds from a tiara belonging to Prince Philip's mother.
16. Prince Philip had two stag parties the night before the wedding.
17. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh were married in Westminster Abbey on the 20th November, 1947 at 11.30am with 2000 invited guests.
18. The eight bridesmaids were: HRH The Princess Margaret, HRH Princess Alexandra of Kent, Lady Caroline Montagu-Douglas-Scott, Lady Mary Cambridge, Lady Elizabeth Lambart, The Hon. Pamela Mountbatten, The Hon. Margaret Elphinstone, The Hon. Diana Bowes-Lyon.
19.There were two pages: HRH Prince William of Gloucester and HRH Prince Michael of Kent.
20.The Queen's wedding dress was designed by Sir Norman Hartnell.
21.The fabric for the dress was woven at Winterthur Silks Limited, Dunfermline, in the Canmore factory, using silk that had come from Chinese silkworms.
photo credits: The British Monarchy
22..The Queen's Bridal Veil was made of tulle and held by a tiara of diamonds. This tiara (which can also be worn as a necklace) was made for Queen Mary in 1919. It is made from re-used diamonds taken from a necklace/tiara purchased by Queen Victoria from Collingwood and Co. and a wedding present for Queen Mary in 1893.
23. The grave of the Unknown Warrior was the only stone that was not covered by the special carpet in the Abbey. The day after the wedding, Princess Elizabeth followed a Royal tradition started by her mother, of sending her wedding bouquet back to the Abbey to be laid on this grave.
24. The bride's wedding ring was made from a nugget of Welsh gold which came from the Clogau St David's mine near Dolgellau.
25. Around 10,000 telegrams of congratulations were received at Buckingham Palace and the Royal couple received over 2,500 wedding presents from well-wishers around the world.
26. As well as jewellery from their close relatives, including the King and Queen, the couple received many useful items for the kitchen and home, including salt cellars from the Queen, a bookcase from Queen Mary, and a picnic case from Princess Margaret.
27. The "wedding breakfast" (lunch) was held after the marriage ceremony at Westminster Abbey in the Ball Supper-room at Buckingham Palace. The menu was Filet de Sole Mountbatten, Perdreau en Casserole, Bombe Glacee Princess Elizabeth.
28. The couple departed Waterloo station with the Princess's corgi, Susan, for their honeymoon.
29. The newlyweds spent their wedding night at Broadlands in Hampshire, home of Prince Philip's uncle Earl Mountbatten. The second part of the honeymoon was spent on the Balmoral Estate.
30. Early in 1948 the couple leased their first marital home, Windlesham Moor, in Surrey, near Windsor Castle, where they stayed until they moved to Clarence House on July 1949.
31. After marrying Princess Elizabeth, The Duke of Edinburgh continued his naval career, reaching the rank of Lieutenant-Commander in command of the frigate HMS Magpie.
32. Although he was The Queen's husband, The Duke of Edinburgh was not crowned or anointed at the Coronation ceremony in 1953. He was the first subject to pay Homage to Her Majesty, and kiss the newly crowned Queen by stating "I, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, do become your liege man of life and limb, and of earthly worship; and faith and truth I will bear unto you, to live and die, against all manner of folks. So help me God."
33. Prince Philip has accompanied The Queen on all her Commonwealth tours and State visits, as well as on public engagements in all parts of the UK. The first of these was the Coronation tour of the Commonwealth from November 1953 to May 1954, when the couple visited Bermuda, Jamaica, Panama, Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, Cocos Islands, Ceylon, Aden, Uganda, Libya, Malta and Gibraltar.
34. The Coronation took place in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. It was a solemn ceremony conducted by Dr Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury.
35. The Coronation was followed by drives through every part of London, a review of the fleet at Spithead, and visits to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
36. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have four children: Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales (b. 1948), Princess Anne, The Princess Royal (b. 1950), Prince Andrew, The Duke of York (b. 1960), and Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex (b. 1964).
found pic @ Lisa's History Room
37. With the birth of Prince Andrew in 1960, The Queen became the first reigning Sovereign to give birth to a child since Queen Victoria, whose youngest child, Princess Beatrice, was born in 1857.
38. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have eight grandchildren - Peter Phillips (b. 1977), Zara Phillips (b. 1981) Prince William (b. 1982), Prince Harry (b. 1984), Princess Beatrice (b. 1988), Princess Eugenie (b. 1990), Lady Louise Windsor (b. 2003) and James, Viscount Severns (b. 2007) She has one great-grandchild Savannah (b. 2011)
39. The Queen has delivered a Christmas message every year except in 1969, when she decided the royals had been on TV enough after an unprecedented family documentary. Her greeting took the form of a written address.
40. In her 1991 message, the Queen silenced rumours of abdication as she pledged to continue to serve.
41. The Queen issued a writ against The Sun newspaper after it published the full text of her 1992 broadcast two days before transmission. She later accepted an apology and a £200,000 donation to charity.
42. The Queen's grandfather, King George V, delivered the first royal Christmas broadcast live on the radio from Sandringham in 1932.
43. George V was at first unsure about using the relatively untried medium of the wireless, but eventually agreed.
44. There was no Christmas broadcast in 1936 or 1938, and it was the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 that firmly established the tradition.
45. Last year the Queen delivered her address from Hampton Court Palace - the first time the historic building had been used.
46 The speech is written by the Queen and each has a strong religious framework, reflects current issues and often draws on her own experiences.
photo credits: Royal Ascot Blog
48. An animal lover since childhood, The Queen takes a keen and highly knowledgeable interest in horses. 
49. She attends the Derby at Epsom, one of the classic flat races in Britain, and the Summer Race Meeting at Ascot, which has been a Royal occasion since 1911.
50. The Queen's horses won races at Royal Ascot on a number of occasions.
51. Other interests include walking in the countryside and working her Labradors, which were bred at Sandringham.
52. A lesser known interest is Scottish country dancing. Each year during her stay at Balmoral Castle, The Queen gives dances known as Gillies' Balls, for neighbours, estate and Castle staff and members of the local community.
53. The Queen is the only person in Britain who can drive without a licence or a registration number on her car. And she doesn't have a passport.
54. The Queen is patron to more than 600 charities
55. To formally greet the Queen men should perform a neck bow (from the head only) whilst women do a small curtsy. On presentation to The Queen, the correct formal address is 'Your Majesty' and subsequently 'Ma'am'.
56. Norman Hartnell, who first worked for the then Princess Elizabeth in the 1940s, produced many of the finest evening dresses in Her Majesty’s wardrobe.
57. Hardy Amies began designing clothes for The Queen in the early 1950s and established his name with the deceptive simplicity of his accomplished tailoring.
58. In the 1970s The Queen awarded her patronage to Ian Thomas, who was an assistant designer to Norman Hartnell before setting up his own salon. Maureen Rose of the same house continued to design for Her Majesty after Ian’s death until the late 80’s.
59. Between 1988 and 1996, Her Majesty’s dresses were designed by John Anderson. His business partner Karl Ludwig Rehse took over the mantle after his death in 1988 and the Queen still wears his designs today.
photo creits: The British Monarchy
60. Stewart Parvin, the youngest of Her Majesty’s designers, trained at Edinburgh College of Art. He began to design for The Queen in 2000 and continues to do so.
61. Angela Kelly is Personal Assistant and Senior Dresser to The Queen. Her role includes designing for The Queen, which she has done since 2002. Angela and her team try and use both old and new fabrics when designing. Some of the material they incorporate has been given to Her Majesty many years ago, some dates from when she was Princess Elizabeth.
62. The Queen celebrates two birthdays each year: her actual birthday on 21 April and her official birthday on a Saturday in June.
63. The Queen usually spends her actual birthday privately, but the occasion is marked publicly by gun salutes in central London at midday.
64. In 2006, Her Majesty celebrated her 80th Birthday in 2006 with a walkabout in the streets outside of Windsor Castle to meet well-wishers.
65. On her official birthday, Her Majesty is joined by other members of the Royal Family at the spectacular Trooping the Colour parade which moves between Buckingham Palace, The Mall and Horseguards’ Parade.
66. Queen Elizabeth II is the fortieth monarch since William the Conqueror.
67. She has visited Australia 15 times, Canada 23 times, Jamaica six times and New Zealand ten times.
68. She has sent around 100,000 telegrams to centenarians in the UK and the Commonwealth.
69. The Queen has launched 23 ships and met five astronauts at Buckingham Palace.
70. She first flew in an aeroplane in July 1945.
71. She is the only British monarch in history properly trained to change a spark plug.
72. On Victory in Europe Day she and her sister slipped into the crowd to celebrate.
73. She collected clothing coupons for her wedding dress.
74. The Queen has a bank account at Coutts & Co.
75. The Queen celebrated her Golden Jubilee in 2002, including visiting 70 cities and towns around the UK.
76. Tony Blair was the first prime minister to be born during her reign, which has already seen nine prime ministers.
77. The Queen has sat through 91 state banquets and posed for 139 official portraits.
78. Technically The Queen still owns the sturgeons, whales and dolphins in the waters around the UK which are recognised as 'Fishes Royal'.
79. The Queen introduced a new breed of dog known as the "dorgi", when one of the corgis mated with a dachshund named Pipkin.
80. The Queen is the first British monarch to see three of her children divorce.
81. She demoted a footman for feeding her corgis whisky.
photo credits: The Telegraph
82. The Queen has nine Royal thrones - One at the House of Lords, two at Westminster Abbey, and six in the throne room at Buckingham Palace.
83. She is a Patron of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association. 
84. There have been six Archbishops of Canterbury during the Queen's reign
85. The Queen is 5ft 4 inches or 160cm tall.
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