At 88, Queen Elizabeth II is now the oldest living monarch since the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who recently passed away at age 90. The Queen will celebrate her 89th birthday on April 21.
In 1998, King Abdullah had not yet ascended to the thrown and held the title of crown prince. He visited the Queen at Balmoral, the royal estate in Scotland. Balmoral is huge, and instead of walking the grounds, Her Majesty decided a tour in a Land Rover would be the best way to tour the grounds.
Per former British ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, King Abdullah was shocked.
“To his surprise, the Queen climbed into the driving seat, turned the ignition and drove off. Women are not–yet–allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, and Abdullah was not used to being driven by a woman, let alone a Queen.”
Cowper-Coles also stated, “His nervousness only increased as the Queen, an Army driver in wartime, accelerated the Land Rover along the narrow Scottish estate roads, talking all the time. Through his interpreter, the Crown Prince implored the Queen to slow down and concentrate on the road ahead.”
Royal protocol was breached by Cowper-Coles sharing the information, but he said it was “too funny not to repeat.”
Queen Elizabeth continued in her role while the crown prince made a name for himself as reformer King. But one thing that hasn’t been reformed is the rule about women and driving because they are still not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia.
The Queen is one of only eight octogenarian monarchs in the world, including the Emperor of Japan and the King of Thailand.
She has cut back on royal duties and Prince Charles will represent her at King Abdullah’s funeral. Yet, the Queen remains strong and makes public appearances in the United Kingdom. She’s also scheduled to visit Germany in June.
Another record the Queen has set: She is the second longest-living British monarch. Her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, whose record Queen Elizabeth will surpass in September 2015, was first.
In her golden years, Queen Elizabeth has had to deal with scandal among the royals with accusations against son Prince Andrew, the 54-year-old Duke of York, for allegedly participating in an international “sex slave” ring.
There is now a lawsuit that claims the Prince had sexual relations with an underage girl known as “Jane Doe #3” on several occasions in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Buckingham Palace named the accuser and denied the allegations.
What did the Queen do? Well, she continued making public appearances and fulfilling the call of duty — stoically.
Long live the Queen!