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As Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II turns 90, there’s no doubt that aristocrats from every corner of the world will be visiting British shores, accompanied by the finest gifts money can buy. And as the old adage goes, ‘a crown fit for a King’, or a Queen in this case, is all well and good – but what does Her Majesty really like?
Queen Elizabeth II and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Articles in recent press stories have painted a picture of a middle class woman who’d found herself sat on the throne purely through lineage and family. Royal visits Her Majesty has taken to various locations all around the world have led witnesses to note how she and the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, are a dynamic duo. Philip, like a child in a toy shop, regularly expresses his fascination for how things work and the intricate methods which lead to their function, such as a tour of the Dyson factory, reports Tim Heald of The Express. Meanwhile, Her Majesty is very much a lady of the people; she has been known on several occasions to be a chatterbox, thoroughly enjoying speaking to the people in a general way, taking a particular interest in the families of those she visits, a much kinder, gentler and warmer soul than the Queens painted across the pages of storybooks and in the fictional universes of, say, Westeros. For those unfamiliar, this is the country in which George RR Martin paints his fantasy bloodbath, affectionately known as Game of Thrones.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Picture the scene; it’s a busy Saturday afternoon and you’re heading to your local shopping centre to shop for a gift for Her Majesty, but for the sake of context, let’s just call her Elizabeth. You find yourself dodging young children in prams, arms carrying as many shopping bags as possible, or as muscles will allow. Meanwhile, as if an invasion on the ground wasn’t enough, you find yourself ducking and diving to escape kamikaze attacks from pigeons, driven by a hunger for discarded remnants of Greggs’ steak bakes and chicken slices.
The Queen with her great-grandchildren and youngest grandchildren. From left: James, Viscount Severn; Lady Louise Windsor; Mia Tindall (holding the Queen's handbag); Princess Charlotte; Isla Phillips; Prince George and Savannah Phillips
Birthday shopping for somebody else is always an awkward and tepid experience. Falling short of scouring their house and making a checklist of every single possession they own within their domicile, you never know exactly what they have, or what they lack. And in this train of thought, the problem grows – is your idea too obvious? Is somebody else likely to beat you to the punch? It’s time to think outside the box.
Left to right - Catherine (Duchess of Cambridge) Elizabeth II (The Queen of England) and Prince William (Duke of Cambridge)
So what do you know Elizabeth likes?
You recall various occasions where you’ve ‘popped in’ and she’s been sat in front of the television, scribbling furiously on the notepad on her lap while Rachel Riley picks an assortment of vowels and consonants, placing them delicately across the board. The all too familiar chime grows louder and louder, before the melody we all know and often use mockingly plays, and then it’s pens down. After perusing the aisles of a certain department store, Countdown: The Board Game finds itself in your trolley. It even plays the music while you think. She’s been known to enjoy a board game or two, has Elizabeth, often reaching for the Scrabble and Jigsaw on a rainy afternoon when the weather turns sour.
Countdown TV show and board games
If she’s not racking her brains by staring at a combination of letters, eventually deciphering the nine letter word long after the timer has chimed and two contestants have already read their suggestions aloud, she’s enthralled in the television as David Suchet dons a Belgian accent and storms around a country manor as Hercule Poirot in his signature pinstripe three piece, with a matching bow tie and a moustache so clean that frankly, it’s fooling no one. DVDs and books are too obvious – think outside the box. She could own a framed photograph autographed by the man himself. After all, Agatha Christie, the woman behind the moustached mastermind, once wrote ‘it is the brain, the little gray cells on which one must rely.’
Poirot David Suchet Signed Framed
And a birthday isn’t a birthday without a tipple, is it? So what’s Elizabeth’s poison?
She’s been known to reach for the gin immediately before lunch, almost like a liquid starter, which she blends with Dubonnet, a French liqueur which blends wine, herbs, spices and quinine. This taste for Gin and Dubonnet runs in the family, with The Queen Mother once famously quoting “I think that I will take two small bottles of Dubonnet and gin with me this morning, in case it is needed.”
Hendrink's Gin Tea Cup Gift Set
Thankfully, your perusal brings you to a gift set combining two of Elizabeth’s favourite things; gin, and afternoon tea, with a 70cl bottle of Hendrick’s Gin, accompanied by a teacup and saucer for the most elegant liquid lunch. Perfect. Think outside the box.