GMA: "Behind the Palace Doors"

37. The queen has opened Parliament every year except 1959 and 1963, when she was expecting Prince Andrew and Prince Edward respectively.

38. The queen's first Commonwealth tour began on 24 November 1953, and included visits to Canada, Bermuda, Jamaica, Panama, Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, the Cocos Islands, Ceylon, Aden, Uganda, Libya, Malta and Gibraltar. The total distance covered was 43,618 miles.

39. The queen has made a Christmas broadcast to the Commonwealth every year of her reign except 1969, when a repeat of the film Royal Family was shown and a written message from the queen issued.

40. In 1953, the queen made the first Christmas broadcast from overseas, (rather than from the U.K.), broadcasting live from New Zealand. The first televised broadcast was in 1957, made live. The first pre-recorded broadcast took place in 1960 to allow transmission around the world.

41. History was made in 1982 when Pope John Paul II visited Britain, the first Pope to do so for 450 years. The queen, titular head of the Church of England, received him at Buckingham Palace.

42. The queen has attended 46 Royal Maundy services in 35 cathedrals during her reign. A total of 5,100 people have received Maundy Money in recognition of their service to the Church and their communities.

43. During the Silver Jubilee year, the queen toured thirty-six counties in the U.K. and Northern Ireland, starting in Glasgow on the 17th May.

44. The queen's first foreign tour of the Silver Jubilee year was a visit to Western Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia and Papua New Guinea. The first foreign tour of the queen's Golden Jubilee year is to Jamaica, New Zealand and Australia.

45. The queen has owned more than 30 corgis during her reign, starting with Susan who was a present for her 18th birthday in 1944. A good proportion of these have been direct descendants from Susan. Her majesty currently has four corgis — Pharos, Swift, Emma and Linnet.

46. The queen also introduced a new breed of dog known as the "dorgi" when one of her majesty's corgis was mated with a dachshund named Pipkin which belonged to Princess Margaret. There have been eight dorgis — Tinker, Pickles, Chipper, Piper, Harris, Brandy, Cider and Berry.

47. The queen and the duke of Edinburgh have been married for 54 years. They were married on November 20, 1947 in Westminster Abbey. The queen's wedding dress was designed by Norman Hartnell and was woven at Winterthur Silks Limited, Dunfermline, in the Canmore factory, using silk that had come from Chinese silkworms at Lullingstone Castle.

48. The queen's wedding ring was made from a nugget of Welsh gold which came from the Clogau St David's mine near Dolgellau. The official wedding cake was made by McVitie and Price Ltd., using ingredients given as a wedding gift by Australian Girl Guides.

49. The queen has laid her wreath at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday every year of her reign, except in 1959, 1961, 1963, 1968, 1983 and 1999 when she was either pregnant or overseas on an official visit.

50. There have been five Archbishops of Canterbury during the queen's reign (Archbishops Geoffrey Fisher, Michael Ramsey, Donald Coggan, Robert Runcie and George Carey).

The 50 facts about the queen's reign listed above, were compiled from Buckingham Palace records, and released Jan. 25, 2002.

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