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No 9 Army Film & Photographic Unit via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
No 9 Army Film & Photographic Unit via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

15 Unexpected Military Operation Codenames

No 9 Army Film & Photographic Unit via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
No 9 Army Film & Photographic Unit via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Winston Churchill had no time for silly military codenames. In a 1943 wartime memo on the subject of coining operation names, he cautioned: “Do not suggest the character of the operation or disparage it in any way, and do not enable some widow or mother to say that her son was killed in an operation called ‘Bunnyhug’ or ‘Ballyhoo.’” Understandable. However, military operations—British or otherwise—haven’t always followed these principles, and some of their names seem downright ridiculous. Although there’s rarely a (public) explanation of why the weird names were assigned, that doesn’t make them any less amusing. Here are just a few of the more memorable.

1. OPERATION DRACULA

Operation Dracula was the Allied South East Asia Command’s plan to reconquer the Burmese capital of Rangoon near the end of WWII. Part of the Burma Campaign, the operation was led by British and Indian forces via sea and sky to wrest the region from Japan, which had invaded in 1942. Begun in 1944 as an outgrowth of the earlier Plan Z, the mission was abandoned—maybe because the sun came up?—but then reinstated the following year. The British and Indian forces encroached on Rangoon as monsoon season began, only to find that the Japanese had skipped town a few days earlier, whereupon it was occupied by the Indian 26th Division without opposition.

2. OPERATION POWER GEYSER

Bush delivering his second inaugural address via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

 
This one was a counterterrorism effort that involved a group of 13,000 top-secret commandos who served as military security to support the 2005 U.S. presidential inauguration of George W. Bush. The elite troops carried state-of-the-art weapons as they lurked in the shadows of the White House and the Capitol while the inauguration went down. A Power Geyser, by the way, is a fighting move from the video game series Fatal Fury, where character Terry Bogard blasts the ground with his fist, thereby devising a field of explosive energy around him that sends his opponents flying.

3. OPERATION ALL-AMERICAN TIGER

3rd Armored Regiment Coat Of Arms via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

 
Tigers are pretty boss by themselves, but what if you had not only an American one, but an ALL-American one? The U.S. military ended up giving this name to the November 2003 Iraq War mission to search and clear farms and villages around the Euphrates River in the Northern Iraqi town of Al -Qaim as they tried to capture a handful of insurgent leaders. They ended up detaining 12 men as a result, including a few who were on the American “Most Wanted” list. Not bad.

It’s fun to make up origin stories here, but this codename is actually no mystery. It stems from the nickname for the 82nd Airborne Division—“All-American”—and the “Tiger” squadron of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, both of which launched the first phase of the plan. And for what it’s worth, it was specifically the 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment from within the 82nd who worked on this plan, and those guys have their own nickname: “The Devils in Baggy Pants,” plucked from the diary of a disgruntled Wehrmacht officer who was killed in WWII.

4. OPERATION BEASTMASTER

Wathiq Kuzaie via Getty Images

 
From the name, this one sounds like it absolutely, positively must have happened in the ’80s, but actually it was not until 2006 that Operation Beastmaster cleared three neighborhoods in the Baghdad suburb of Ghazaliya—an area itself codenamed “IED Alley East.” Even though none of them used scimitars or were able to telepathically communicate with animals like in the movie, U.S. troops worked in tandem with the Iraqi Army to great success, leading the latter to uncover seven weapon caches as well as a deposit of roadside bomb-crafting supplies. The mission also resulted in the capture of an (unnamed) high-value target. Sounds like that beast got mastered.

5. OPERATION MINCEMEAT

Photograph of the fictitious girlfriend Pam. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

 
Guess the British military managed to sneak this strangely named mission under Churchill’s nose somehow. Operation Mincemeat involved a decoy corpse—a possible (if gross) clue for the name’s origin. As Allied forces were preparing an attack on Sicily in 1943 during World War II, they wanted to convince the Germans that they were headed to Greece and Sardinia instead. So they took the body of Welsh laborer Glyndwr Michael, who’d died from eating rat poison, and planted some phony top-secret papers describing a plan to attack Greece and Sardinia on it, as well as a photo of a fake girlfriend, then let it float to an area off Spain where a particular Nazi agent was located. It worked perfectly. The plan was initially part of a memo containing possible ideas to lure German U-Boats toward minefields and was titled #28: A Suggestion (not a very nice one).

If this sounds like something from an old-timey detective pulp, well, there’s a reason for that. The scheme originally came from the mind of Ian Fleming, who later authored the James Bond books, back when he was an assistant to the head of British Naval Intelligence. Fleming confessed that he’d borrowed the idea of a dead body with false papers from a spy novel he’d once read.

6. OPERATION VIKING SNATCH

Exactly this, only in Iraq several years later. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

 
Despite what you might guess given some slang connotations here, Operation Viking Snatch—which attempted to stop a rash of weapons-smuggling during the Iraq War—was named and carried out within the last decade. The operation took place in September 2007. The name almost certainly derives from a snatch strap, which is a kind of tow rope used to pull bogged-down vehicles out of sand or mud, with Viking Offroad being a company that manufactures them—so, a Viking snatch strap. However, it can probably be assumed that whoever picked this codename was quite aware of its additional entendres and used it anyway.

7. OPERATION BEAVER CAGE

If you thought the last one sounded crass, there’s also this one. Operation Beaver Cage was a helicopter assault launched by the U.S. Marines upon on a Vietcong base in the very populous Que Son Valley, south of Da Nang. Lasting from late April through mid-May of 1967, the Marines walked away with 66 captured Vietcong soldiers and the operation was considered a success. No word on where exactly the name came from, but it’s worth pointing out that although beavers are native to North America and Eurasia, there are none to be found in the wild in Vietnam.

8. OPERATION SAFE NEIGHBORHOOD

Spc. Cal Turner in Baghdad. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

 
Although it sounds like it’s an edict by the street captain to drive slowly when kids are at play, this endeavor—along with its little sister, Operation Safe Market—was actually a 2007 effort to make residential neighborhoods, marketplaces, and areas of traffic congestion safer for Iraqis to live and work in during the Iraq War. Basically, they were cracking down on car bombs, with additional measures to decrease general sectarian violence. Not much of a secret codename, but it’s kind of adorable.

9. OPERATION GRIZZLY FORCED ENTRY

Chris Servheen via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

 
The “forced entry” part makes sense, anyhow: In the summer of 2004, U.S. soldiers went out on a counterinsurgency raid in Iraq under this codename, busting into private homes to search and seize high-value targets. The guys they were looking for were suspected of attacking coalition forces, and the search was conducted in Najaf, a city just south of Baghdad. The grizzly bit is less clear, but the Americans might just have been flattering themselves.

10. OPERATION MAGNETO

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

 
Almost 20 years before the superhuman mutant of the same name was DIY-ing magnetic fields in the 1963 debut issue of X-Men, Allied forces were using this word during WWII to refer to a 1945 conference among Winston Churchill, Josef Stalin, and FDR. While not strictly a military operation, the three leaders met in Yalta, USSR, in February of that year to discuss how to secure an unconditional surrender by the Germans (and also how to divvy up all the post-war geographical spoils). Operation Magneto, along with Operation Cricket, the prep meeting that happened few days prior, were collectively known as Operation Argonaut.

11. OPERATION TOENAILS

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

 
A part of the Solomon Islands, the isle of New Georgia was invaded by the WWII Allied forces over the summer of 1943, and they called it Operation Toenails. The reason behind the name seems to have been lost to history. This mission was the first major Allied offensive exacted in the Solomon Islands since New Georgia’s neighbor, Guadalcanal, had been secured the previous February, and it led to the subsequent capture of the rest of the Solomons, concluding with the island of Bougainville. This invasion was part of the two-pronged, equally-oddly named Operation Cartwheel, the group of attacks that the Allied troops conducted in order to first isolate and then descend upon the Japanese military base at Rabaul, on the Solomon island of New Britain.

12. OPERATION CHATTANOOGA CHOO-CHOO

The operation probably looked just like this. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

 
The plan here was to systemically bomb German railways in 1944. Seems as though someone was like “Okay, we’re bombing trains. Okay, what’s a train-themed name that we can use that doesn’t actually have the word train in it? Or railway? In any known language?” “I’ve got an idea, sir. The Nazis will have no idea what a ‘choo-choo’ is.” This was a successful mission, by the way—the railways were extensively damaged, forcing Germany to scramble for laborers to repair them when there was already a huge labor shortage. Glenn Miller would be proud.

13. OPERATION FREQUENT WIND

Official Marine Corps photo via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

 
Transpiring at the end of April 1975, Operation Frequent Wind was the wrap-up phase of the evacuation of American civilians and at-risk Vietnamese in Saigon prior to the Fall of Saigon, wherein the North Vietnamese Army showed up and took over. Hours after the mission ended, North Vietnamese tanks came crashing through the gates of the Independence Palace, and President (of two days) Duong Van Minh surrendered, signifying the end of the Vietnam War. One can guess at the codename’s origin here, considering it was a helicopter-based evacuation and that it was also tremendous—81 helicopters transported 7000 people to offshore aircraft carriers over the course of two days, making it the largest helicopter evacuation on record.

14. OPERATION LION CUB

The Lion of Babylon via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

 
Operation Lion Cub had two very important missions on December 21 and 24 of 2004—to commandeer a convoy full of toys to the villages of Wynott, Al Alam, and Al Owja in Iraq, where soldiers would hand them out to Iraqi children. The codename is perhaps a nod to the ancient symbol of Iraq, the Lion of Babylon. Family Readiness Groups in the U.S. and Germany had collected the toys over several months as part of a Christmas donation drive, and the operation received a very positive response from both the kids and their parents.

15. OPERATION GIMLET VICTORY

US Army forces in Kirkuk, Iraq in 2003. SSGT James A. Williams via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

 
There’s not a whole lot of info out there on Operation Gimlet Victory, other than that it happened in 2004 during the Iraq War. There were a handful of other U.S. counterinsurgency operations with gimlet in their names—Operation Gimlet Crusader, Operation Gimlet Silent Sniper—that were staged in the city of Kirkuk during the same year, so one can assume that this one was, if not the victorious denouement of those operations, at least related to them. The name likely refers to the tool kind of gimlet and not the cocktail kind, but it still sounds like what happens after you slog through your tedious Friday at work and finally make it to happy hour.

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25 Regal Facts About Queen Elizabeth II
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In February 2017, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Sapphire Jubilee, marking her 65-year reign as Queen of England. Her Majesty surpassed her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years, as Britain's longest-ruling monarch, and now also holds the title of the world's longest-reigning monarch. Here are 25 more royal facts about Queen Elizabeth, to celebrate her 92nd birthday (her real one—she has two, after all).

1. SHE WASN'T BORN AN HEIR APPARENT TO THE THRONE.

The Queen Elizabeth (3rd-L, future Queen Mother), her daughter Princess Elizabeth (4th-L, future Queen Elizabeth II), Queen Mary (C) , Princess Margaret (5th-L) and the King George VI (R), pose at the balcony of the Buckingham Palace in December 1945.
The Queen Elizabeth (3rd-L, future Queen Mother), her daughter Princess Elizabeth (4th-L, future Queen Elizabeth II), Queen Mary (C) , Princess Margaret (5th-L) and the King George VI (R), pose at the balcony of the Buckingham Palace in December 1945.
AFP, Getty Images

For the first 10 years of her life, Princess Elizabeth was a relatively minor royal—her status was akin to Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie of York today—but that all changed with the death of her grandfather, King George V, in 1936.

The next in the line of royal succession was Elizabeth's uncle, Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne less than a year after taking it so that he could marry an American socialite named Wallis Simpson. Edward didn't have any children at the time, so his brother Albert (Elizabeth’s father) ascended to the throne, taking the name George VI and making the then-10-year-old Elizabeth the first in line to become Queen.

2. HER YOUNGER SISTER GAVE HER A FAMILY NICKNAME.

Princesses Margaret and Elizabeth in 1933.
Princesses Margaret and Elizabeth in 1933.
AFP/Getty Images

Elizabeth and Margaret were the only children of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and King George VI, who said of his daughters: "Lilibet is my pride, Margaret my joy." "Lilibet," of course, is Elizabeth, who earned her nickname because Margaret—whom the family affectionately called Margot—constantly mispronounced her big sister’s name.

3. SHE DIDN'T GO TO SCHOOL.

Princesses Elizabeth (right) and Margaret at Waterloo Station, London, 1939.
Princesses Elizabeth (right) and Margaret at Waterloo Station, London, 1939.
Fox Photos, Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Heirs apparent don’t just show up to primary school like normal kids. Instead, Elizabeth was tutored at home during sessions by different teachers like Henry Marten, vice-provost of Eton College (which is still for boys only), and was also given private religion lessons by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

4. BUT SHE AND MARGARET TECHNICALLY DID HAVE A TEACHER.

Stamps from 1937 featuring Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose, The Coronation Chair, Westminster Abbey, The Coronation Coach, The Houses of Parliament, Windsor Castle, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to commemorate the King's Coronation.
Stamps from 1937 featuring Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose, The Coronation Chair, Westminster Abbey, The Coronation Coach, The Houses of Parliament, Windsor Castle, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to commemorate the King's Coronation.
London Express, Getty Images

Just because she didn't attend school doesn't mean that Elizabeth didn't receive an education. She received the bulk of it through her nanny, Marion Crawford, who the royal family referred to as "Crawfie." Crawford would eventually be ostracized by the royal family for writing a tell-all book in 1953 called The Little Princesses without their permission; the book recounted Crawford's experiences with Elizabeth during her younger days.

5. SHE WANTED TO GO TO WAR, BUT WAS TOO YOUNG.

Queen consort Elizabeth holds Princess Margaret's hand as Princess Elizabeth follows, in 1936.
Queen consort Elizabeth holds Princess Margaret's hand as Princess Elizabeth follows, in 1936.
Central Press, Hulton Archive/Getty Images

When World War II broke out in 1939, Elizabeth—then just a teenager—begged her father to join the effort somehow. She started out by making radio broadcasts geared toward raising the morale of British children. During one of the broadcasts, the 14-year-old princess reassured listeners, "I can truthfully say to you all that we children at home are full of cheerfulness and courage. We are trying to do all we can to help our gallant sailors, soldiers, and airmen and we are trying too to bear our own share of the danger and sadness of war."

6. SHE EVENTUALLY SERVED IN WORLD WAR II.

Princess Elizabeth changing the tire of a vehicle as she trains at as ATS Officer during World War II in April 1945.
Princess Elizabeth changing the tire of a vehicle as she trains at as ATS Officer during World War II in April 1945.
Central Press, Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Despite the risks, Elizabeth eventually joined the women's Auxiliary Territorial Service and trained as a truck driver and mechanic in 1945, when she was 18 years old.

Queen Elizabeth remains the only female royal family member to have entered the armed forces, and is currently the only living head of state who officially served in World War II.

7. SHE CELEBRATED THE END OF THE WAR BY PARTYING LIKE HER SUBJECTS.

Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret in 1947.
Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret in 1947.
William Vanderson, Fox Photos/Getty Images

When then-Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that the war in Europe was over on May 8, 1945, people poured out into the streets of London to celebrate—including Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. The sheltered duo were allowed to sneak out of Buckingham Palace to join the revelers at their father's behest.

"It was a unique burst of personal freedom," recalled Margaret Rhodes, their cousin who went with them, "a Cinderella moment in reverse."

8. SHE MARRIED HER COUSIN.

Then-Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, following their wedding ceremony in November 1947.
Then-Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, following their wedding ceremony in November 1947.
AFP, Getty Images

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Queen Elizabeth are third cousins; both share the same great-great-grandparents: Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

9. ELIZABETH AND HER HUSBAND HAVE KNOWN EACH OTHER SINCE CHILDHOOD.

A family portrait in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace on the wedding day of Princess Elizabeth (future Queen Elizabeth II) and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on November 20, 1947.
A family portrait in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace on the wedding day of Princess Elizabeth (future Queen Elizabeth II) and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on November 20, 1947.
STR/AFP/Getty Images

Philip, son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg, first met Elizabeth when she was only eight years old and he was 14. Both attended the wedding of Princess Marina of Greece (Prince Philip's cousin) and Prince George, the Duke of Kent (Elizabeth’s uncle).

Five years later the pair met again when George VI brought Elizabeth to tour the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, where Philip was a cadet. In a personal note, Elizabeth recalled falling for the young soldier-in-the-making: "I was 13 years of age and he was 18 and a cadet just due to leave. He joined the Navy at the outbreak of war, and I only saw him very occasionally when he was on leave—I suppose about twice in three years," she wrote. "Then when his uncle and aunt, Lord and Lady Mountbatten, were away he spent various weekends away with us at Windsor."

10. SHE DIDN'T TELL HER PARENTS SHE WAS GETTING HITCHED.

Princess Elizabeth, Philip Mountbatten, Queen Elizabeth (the future Queen Mother), King George VI, and Princess Margaret pose in Buckingham Palace on July 9, 1947, the day the engagement of Princess Elizabeth & Philip Mountbatten was officially announced.
Princess Elizabeth (future Queen Elizabeth II), Philip Mountbatten (also the Duke of Edinburgh), Queen Elizabeth (future Queen Mother), King George VI, and Princess Margaret pose in Buckingham Palace on July 9, 1947, the day the engagement of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten was officially announced.
AFP/Getty Images

In 1946, Philip proposed to Elizabeth when the former planned a month-long visit to Balmoral, her royal estate in Scotland. She accepted the proposal without even contacting her parents. But when George VI finally caught wind of the pending nuptials he would only officially approve if they waited to announce the engagement until after her 21st birthday.

The official public announcement of the engagement finally came nearly a year later on July 9, 1947.

11. SHE HAS A VERY ROYAL NAME.

Princess Elizabeth (left) and her mother, Queen consort Elizabeth, in 1951.
Princess Elizabeth (left) and her mother, Queen consort Elizabeth, in 1951.
Reg Speller, Fox Photos/Getty Images

She's the second British monarch named Elizabeth, but Elizabeth II wasn't named after Henry VIII's famous progeny. Queen Elizabeth II's birth name is Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, after the names of her mother, Elizabeth, her paternal great-grandmother, Queen Alexandra, and her paternal grandmother, Queen Mary.

12. SHE GOT TO CHOOSE HER OWN SURNAME.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip with two of their children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne, circa 1951.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip with two of their children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne, circa 1951.
OFF, AFP/Getty Images

Technically, the Queen's last name is "Windsor," which was first chosen by George V in 1917 after the royal family wanted to distance themselves from "Saxe-Coburg-Gotha"—the dynasty to which they belonged—for sounding too Germanic during World War I.

But as a way to distinguish themselves from the rest of the royal family, in 1960 Elizabeth and Philip adopted the official surname Windsor-Mountbatten. (Fans will surely remember that the surname drama was briefly discussed in Netflix’s series The Crown.)

13. SHE HAS TWO BIRTHDAYS.

Princess Elizabeth just before her 21st birthday in April 1947.
Princess Elizabeth just before her 21st birthday in April 1947.
AFP/Getty Images

Like most British monarchs, Elizabeth gets to celebrate her birthday twice, and the reason why boils down to seasonably appropriate pomp and circumstance.

She was born on April 21, 1926, but April was deemed too cold and liable to fall during inclement weather. So instead, her official state-recognized birthday occurs on a Saturday in late May or June, so that the celebration can be held during warmer months. The specific date varies year to year in the UK, and usually coincides with Trooping the Colour, Britain’s annual military pageant.

14. HER CORONATION WAS TELEVISED AGAINST HER WISHES.

Queen Elizabeth's coronation, June 1953
Queen Elizabeth's coronation, June 1953.
AFP, Getty Images

Elizabeth officially ascended to the throne at just 25 years of age when her father, George VI, died on February 6, 1952. Elizabeth was in Kenya at the time of his death and returned home as her country's Queen. As fans of The Crown will remember, the hubbub surrounding her coronation was filled with ample amounts of drama.

The notoriously camera-shy Elizabeth—who didn't even allow photos to be taken of her wedding—didn't want the event televised, and others believed that broadcasting the coronation to commoners would break down upper-class traditions of only allowing members of British high society to witness the event. A Coronation Commission, chaired by Philip, was set up to weigh the options, and they initially decided to only allow cameras in a single area of Westminster Abbey "west of the organ screen," before allowing the entire thing to be televised with one minor caveat: no close-ups on Elizabeth's face.

15. SHE PAID FOR HER WEDDING DRESS USING WAR RATION COUPONS.

A 1947 sketch of Princess Elizabeth's wedding dress by Norman Hartnell.
A 1947 sketch of Princess Elizabeth's wedding dress by Norman Hartnell.
Central Press, Getty Images

Still reeling from an atmosphere of post-war austerity, Elizabeth used ration coupons and a 200-coupon supplement from the government to pay for her wedding dress. But don't be fooled, the dress was extremely elegant; it was made of ivory duchesse silk, encrusted with 10,000 imported seed pearls, took six months to make, and sported a 13-foot train. (It cost just under $40,000 to recreate the dress for The Crown.)

16. SHE DOESN'T NEED A PASSPORT TO TRAVEL.

Queen Elizabeth II in Nuku'alofa, Tonga in December 1953.
Queen Elizabeth II in Nuku'alofa, Tonga in December 1953.
STRINGER, AFP/Getty Images

Elizabeth II is the world's most well-traveled head of state, visiting 116 countries between 265 official state visits, but she doesn't even own a passport. Since all British passports are officially issued in the Queen’s name, she technically doesn't need one.

17. SHE DOESN'T NEED A DRIVER'S LICENSE EITHER.

Queen Elizabeth II drives a car in 1958.
Queen Elizabeth II drives a car in 1958.
Bob Haswell, Express/Getty Images

It's not just because she has a fleet of chauffeurs. Britain also officially issues driver's licenses in Elizabeth’s name, so don’t expect her to show off her ID when she gets pulled over taking other heads of state for a spin in her Range Rover.

Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, former British ambassador to Saudi Arabia, recounted to The Sunday Times the time when Elizabeth drove former Saudi crown prince Abdullah around the grounds of Balmoral: "To his surprise, the Queen climbed into the driving seat, turned the ignition and drove off," he said. "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."

18. SHE DOESN'T HAVE TO PAY TAXES (BUT CHOOSES TO ANYWAY).

Queen Elizabeth rides in a carriage in 2000.
ODD ANDERSEN, AFP/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth has voluntarily paid income and capital gains taxes since 1992, but has always been subject to Value Added Tax.

19. SHE SURVIVED AN ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II rides a horse side saddle and salutes during a Trooping of the Colour ceremony in London in 1952.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II rides a horse side saddle and salutes during a Trooping of the Colour ceremony in London in 1952.
STRINGER, AFP/Getty Images

During the 1981 Trooping the Colour, the Queen led a royal procession on horseback down the Mall toward Buckingham Palace when shots rang out. A 17-year-old named Marcus Sarjeant, who was obsessed with the assassinations of figures like John Lennon and John F. Kennedy, fired a series of blanks toward Elizabeth. Sarjeant—who wrote in his diary, "I am going to stun and mystify the whole world with nothing more than a gun"—was thankfully unable to purchase live ammunition in the UK. He received a prison sentence of five years under the 1848 Treason Act, but was released in October 1984.

20. SHE ALSO SURVIVED AN INTRUDER COMING INTO HER BEDROOM.

Queen Elizabeth II in Australia in 1954.
Queen Elizabeth II in Australia in 1954.
Fox Photos, Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A year after the Trooping the Colour incident, Elizabeth had another run-in. But instead of near Buckingham Palace, this time it was inside Buckingham Palace. On July 9, 1982, a man named Michael Fagen managed to climb over the Palace's barbed wire fence, shimmy up a drain pipe, and eventually sneak into the Queen's bedroom.

While reports at the time said Fagen and the Queen had a long conversation before he was apprehended by palace security, Fagen told The Independent the Queen didn't stick around to chat: "She went past me and ran out of the room; her little bare feet running across the floor."

21. SHE TECHNICALLY OWNS ALL THE DOLPHINS IN THE UK.

The HMAS Vengeance seen from a helicopter, as the Australian Naval crew spell out the signature of Queen Elizabeth II on the deck, in 1954.
The HMAS Vengeance seen from a helicopter, as the Australian Naval crew spell out the signature of Queen Elizabeth II on the deck, in 1954.
Keystone, Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In addition to owning all of the country's dolphins, she owns all the sturgeon and whales, too. A still-valid statute from the reign of King Edward II in 1324 states, "Also the King shall have ... whales and sturgeons taken in the sea or elsewhere within the realm," meaning most aquatic creatures are technically labeled "fishes royal," and are claimed on behalf of the Crown.

As the song goes, "Rule, Britannia! Britannia rules the waves!"

22. SHE HAS HER OWN SPECIAL MONEY TO GIVE TO THE POOR.

Queen Elizabeth II hands out maundy money in 2004.
Queen Elizabeth II hands out maundy money in 2004.
PHIL NOBLE, AFP/Getty Images

Known as "maundy money," the Queen has silver coins—currently with Elizabeth's likeness on the front—that are given to pensioners in a ceremony called Maundy Thursday. The royal custom dates back to the 13th century, in which the royal family was expected to wash the feet of and distribute gifts to penniless subjects as a symbolic gesture to honor Jesus’s act of washing the feet of the poor in the Bible. Once the 18th century rolled around and washing people's dirty feet wasn't seen as befitting of a royal, the act was replaced with money allowances bequeathed by the monarch.

23. GIN IS HER DRINK OF CHOICE.

Queen Elizabeth II sipping a drink.
RUSSEL MILLARD, AFP/Getty Images

The Queen drinks gin mixed with Dubonnet (a fortified wine) and a slice of lemon on the rocks every day before lunch. She also reportedly drinks wine at lunch and has a glass of champagne every evening.

24. SHE CREATED HER OWN BREED OF DOGS.

Queen Elizabeth with her dog Susan, circa 1959.
Queen Elizabeth with her dog Susan, circa 1959.
AFP, Getty Images

Elizabeth has a famous, avowed love of Corgis (she has owned more than 30 of them during her reign; her last dog, Willow, recently passed away), but what about Dorgis? She currently owns two Dorgis (Candy and Vulcan), a crossbreed she engineered when one of her Corgis mated with a Dachshund named Pipkin that belonged to Princess Margaret.

25. SHE'S ON SOCIAL MEDIA … KIND OF.

Queen Elizabeth II tours a Canadian Blackberry factory in 2010.
Queen Elizabeth II tours a Canadian Blackberry factory in 2010.
John Stillwell, Pool/Getty Images

The Queen joined Twitter in July 2009 under the handle @RoyalFamily, and sent the first tweet herself, but hasn't personally maintained the page since then. In fact, a job listing went up in 2017 looking for an official royal Digital Communications Officer to help out. She's also on Facebook (and no, you cannot poke The Royal Family).

This story originally ran in 2017.

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9 Things We Know About Stranger Things Season 3
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[Warning: There are lots of Stranger Things season two spoilers ahead.]

Stranger Things season two is in the books, and like we all hoped, it turned out to be a worthy follow-up to an addictive debut season. Now, though, we’re left with plenty of questions, mysteries, and theories to chew on as the wait for a third season begins. But for everything we don’t know about what the next season of Stranger Things will bring us (such as an actual release date), there are more than enough things we do know to keep those fan theories coming well into 2018. Since it was officially greenlit for a third season by Netflix in December 2017, new details have been trickling out. Here’s everything we know about Stranger Things season three so far.

1. THERE WILL BE ANOTHER TIME JUMP.

The third season of Stranger Things won’t pick up right where the second one left off. Like the show experienced between the first two seasons, there will be a time jump between seasons two and three as well. The reason is simple: the child actors are all growing up, and instead of having the kids look noticeably older without explanation for year three, the Duffer Brothers told The Hollywood Reporter:

“Our kids are aging. We can only write and produce the show so fast. They're going to be almost a year older by the time we start shooting season three. It provides certain challenges. You can't start right after season two ended. It forces you to do a time jump. But what I like is that it makes you evolve the show. It forces the show to evolve and change, because the kids are changing.”

2. THE IDEA IS TO BE SMALLER IN SCALE.

If the series’s second season was about expanding the Stranger Things mythology, the third season won't go bigger just for the sake of it, with the brothers even going so far as to say that it will be a more intimate story.

“It’s not necessarily going to be bigger in scale,” Matt Duffer said in an interview with IndieWire. “What I am really excited about is giving these characters an interesting journey to go on.”

Ross Duffer did stress, though, that as of early November, season three is basically “… Matt and me working with some writers and figuring out where it’s going to go.”

3. THE MIND FLAYER WILL BE BACK.

The second season ended on a bit of a foreboding note when it was revealed that the Mind Flayer was still in the Upside Down and was seen looming over the Hawkins school as the winter dance was going on. Though we know there will be a time jump at the start of next season, it’s clear that the monster will still have a big presence on the show.

Executive producer Dan Cohen told TV Guide: "There were other ways we could have ended beyond that, but I think that was a very strong, lyrical ending, and it really lets us decide to focus where we ultimately are going to want to go as we dive into Season 3."

What does the Mind Flayer’s presence mean for the new crop of episodes? Well, there will be plenty of fan theories to ponder between now and the season three premiere (whenever that may be).

4. PLENTY OF LEFTOVER SEASON TWO STORYLINES WILL BE IN SEASON THREE.

The Duffer Brothers had a lot of material for the latest season of the show—probably a bit too much. Speaking with Vulture, Matt Duffer detailed a few details and plot points that had to be pushed to season three:

"Billy was supposed to have a bigger role. We ended up having so many characters it ended up, in a way, more teed up for season three than anything. There was a whole teen supernatural story line that just got booted because it was just too cluttered, you know? A lot of that’s just getting kicked into season three."

The good news is that he also told the site that this wealth of cut material could make the writing process for the third season much quicker.

5. THERE WILL BE MORE ERICA.

Stranger Things already had a roster of fan-favorite characters heading into season two, but newcomer Erica, Lucas’s little sister, may have overshadowed them all. Played by 11-year-old Priah Ferguson, Erica is equal parts expressive, snarky, and charismatic. And the Duffer Brothers couldn’t agree more, saying that there will be much more Erica next season.

“There will definitely be more Erica in Season 3,” Ross Duffer told Yahoo!. “That is the fun thing about the show—you discover stuff as you’re filming. We were able to integrate more of her in, but not as much you want because the story [was] already going. ‘We got to use more Erica’—that was one of the first things we said in the writers’ room.”

“I thought she’s very GIF-able, if that’s a word,” Matt Duffer added. “She was great.”

6. EXPECT KALI TO RETURN.

The season two episode “The Lost Sister” was a bit of an outlier for the series. It’s a standalone episode that focuses solely on the character Eleven, leaving the central plot and main cast of Hawkins behind. As well-received as Stranger Things season two was, this episode was a near-unanimous miss among fans and critics.

The episode did, however, introduce us to the character of Kali (Linnea Berthelsen), who has the ability to manipulate people’s minds with illusions she creates. Despite the reaction, the Duffers felt the episode was vital to Eleven’s development, and that Kali won’t be forgotten moving forward.

“It feels weird to me that we wouldn’t solve [Kali’s] storyline. I would say chances are very high she comes back,” Matt Duffer said at the Vulture Festival.

7. OTHER "NUMBERS" MIGHT SHOW UP.

We're already well acquainted with Eleven, and season two introduced us to Eight (a.k.a. Kali), and executive producer Shawn Levy heavily hinted to E! that there are probably more Hawkins Laboratory experiments on the horizon.

"I think we've clearly implied there are other numbers, and I can't imagine that the world will only ever know Eleven and Eight," Levy said.

8. THERE MIGHT NOT BE MANY SEASONS LEFT.

Don’t be in too much of a rush to find out everything about the next season of Stranger Things; there might not be many more left. The Duffer Brothers have said in the past that the plan is to do four seasons and end it. However, Levy gave fans a glimmer of hope that things may go on a little while longer—just by a bit, though.

“Hearts were heard breaking in Netflix headquarters when the Brothers made four seasons sound like an official end, and I was suddenly getting phone calls from our actors’ agents,” Levy told Entertainment Weekly. “The truth is we’re definitely going four seasons and there’s very much the possibility of a fifth. Beyond that, it becomes I think very unlikely.”

9. CARY ELWES AND JAKE BUSEY HAVE JOINED THE CAST.

The cast of Stranger Things is growing for season three, and two of the most high-profile additions announced so far are Cary Elwes and Jake Busey. Elwes—of The Princess Bride and Robin Hood: Men in Tights fame—will be playing Mayor Kline, who is described as "Your classic ’80s politician—more concerned with his own image than with the people of the small town he governs." All we know about Busey’s character is that he’ll be named Bruce and is described as "a journalist for the The Hawkins Post, with questionable morals and a sick sense of humor."

In March, it was also announced that Maya Hawke, daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, landed a role in the upcoming season. According to Variety, she’ll play an "'alternative girl' bored with her mundane day job. She seeks excitement in her life and gets more than she bargained for when she uncovers a dark secret in Hawkins, Ind."

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