Happy birthday, Your Majesty!

The monarch has reigned for 59 years since ascending to the throne in 1952 at the tender age of 25 and she will mark her diamond jubilee in 2012.

The Queen has a lot to celebrate in 2011 with Prince William’s upcoming wedding to Kate Middleton on 29th April (11) – but first, it’s time to congratulate her royal highness on her 85th birthday with 10 fascinating facts about her life.

– Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of sixteen independent sovereign states, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas and Papua New Guinea.

– Her coronation in 1953 was the first to be shown on television.

– She is currently the third longest serving British monarch, but Elizabeth II will overtake George III next year (12) and be second only to Queen Victoria, who ruled for more than 60 years.

– Elizabeth II was portrayed onscreen in The Queen in a role which won Dame Helen Mirren an Oscar, while her father, King George VI, was played by Colin Firth in The King’s Speech. Firth also won an Oscar for his royal turn.

– The Queen met her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, when she was just 13 years old. They exchanged love letters for years before marrying in 1947 at Westminster Abbey – the same venue where her grandson, Prince William, will wed this month (Apr11).

– For her post-war wedding, Elizabeth II had to collect ration tokens to buy the material for her wedding dress.

– When Elizabeth II became queen, her husband Prince Philip gave up his naval career to act as her consort.

– During the Second World War, Elizabeth II joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service as an honorary Second Subaltern and trained as a driver and mechanic.

– Elizabeth II has four children – Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward. Charles, Prince of Wales is next in line to the throne, followed by his sons William and Harry.

– Her full birth name is Elizabeth Alexandra Mary.