Queen Elizabeth II at The Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace in 2012. Photo: WENN Rights Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
The UK is in mourning for Queen Elizabeth II. In the days ahead, many will be looking for a way to mark her life. These are a few of her favourite things that you could enjoy in tribute to her.
The Queen made few public proclamations about her cultural preferences, but many who met her have revealing anecdotes. They offer a rare insight into the personal life of the country’s longest serving monarch, including the songs she liked to dance to and the movie she apparently watched every Christmas.
Her love of fellow national treasure Terry Wogan doesn’t come as a big surprise, but there are a few more leftfield choices too, many inspired by her role as a grandmother and great-grandmother.
The Queen’s favourite radio show
Terry Wogan on Radio 2
The Queen knighted Sir Terry Wogan in 2005. Wogan met Her Majesty on more than one occasion, and she told the Irish broadcast legend that she was a fan of his Radio 2 morning show Wake Up to Wogan, which ran from 1993 until 2009.
Just before Sir Terry retired from the programme, he told The Sunday Times: “She does listen to my show and she told a mutual friend that she doesn’t know what she’s going to do without me to listen to in the morning.”
Wogan sadly died in 2016, but many recordings of his dulcet tones are available on YouTube.
The Queen’s favourite music
Dancing Queen by ABBA
In 2008, DJ Chris Evans said that he had witnessed the Queen get up and dance to perhaps the most appropriate song in the world for her.
“I always try to dance when this song comes on because I am the Queen and I like to dance,” she is reported to have said.
Showtunes from Showboat, Oklahoma! and Annie Get Your Gun
Back in 2016, the BBC ran a programme in which the Queen’s relatives discussed her music tastes. On Our Queen: 90 Musical Years, her cousin Lady Elizabeth Anson confirmed that Her Majesty enjoyed the dancefloor and was a fan of showtunes. “
The Queen loves the theatre and musicals like Showboat, Oklahoma! and Annie Get Your Gun,” she said. “These were the tunes that remained in one’s head and were very danceable to. The Queen is a fantastic dancer. She’s got great rhythm.”
The Queen’s favourite TV
Christopher Eccleston in Doctor Who
Though the Queen had been on the throne for more than a decade when the first episode of Doctor Who aired in 1963, it wasn’t until the show returned in 2005 that she fell for the man in the blue box.
Earlier this year, writing in The New Statesman, journalist Phil Jones said that in an audience with the Queen he had asked her favourite programme and got an unexpected result.
“In 2001, I was invited to a media function at Buckingham Palace,” he said. “We chatted for ages, which I can tell you is rather surreal. My brain kept saying, ‘Bloody hell I’m talking to the Queen and I can’t think of a single thing to say!’ In the end I alighted on, ‘What’s your favourite programme?’ Straightaway, she said, The Kumars at No 42 and, even more astonishingly, proceeded to recite some of the one-liners from the grandma character, played by the brilliant Meera Syal.”
The Queen’s favourite film
Brian Blessed was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to the arts and charity in 2016. Appearing on Yahoo Movies, Blessed said that Her Majesty told him her favourite movie was pulpy sci-fi classic Flash Gordon.
“It’s her favourite film, she watches it with her grandchildren every Christmas,” said Blessed. He added that she’d even asked him to repeat his famous catchphrase from the film, “Gordon’s alive!”
The Queen’s favourite games
Nintendo’s Wii offered many families cross-generational entertainment, and according to the People newspaper, the Windsors were no different.
After Kate Middleton gifted the console to Prince William one Christmas, the Queen tried out bowling on the popular console and thoroughly enjoyed it.
The Name Game
The Queen reportedly banned Monopoly in the royal household – a ruling that anyone who’s fallen out with their family over the capitalistic board game will understand. But one classic game was reportedly a firm favourite with all the family at holiday gatherings.
The Name Game involves each player writing the name of famous people or characters on a Post-It Note to place on another players forehead. The player must then guess who they ‘are’ by asking yes or no questions. The story paints an intimate portrait of a playful side to the monarch, away from her decades of service to the nation.