The Queen Has a Pillow That Says 'It's Good to Be Queen' – Plus 13 Other Revelations from the Most Intimate Documentary on Her Yet
All the best bits from the new special in honor of her 90th birthday
She’s the most famous woman in the world – but it still took 90 years to get a look this intimate into the life of Queen Elizabeth II.
The new ITV documentary Our Queen at 90, which aired in the U.K. on Sunday, offers the most nuanced portrait yet of the record-breaking monarch, complete with interviews from the people who mean the most to her, including Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry and Princess Kate.
Here’s what we learned about the soon-to-be 90-year-old great-grandma – straight from her family, staff and friends.
1. Some people get so excited to see the Queen they actually faint in front of her.
Prince William says that these instances are rare, but it happens: “It’s quite a startling moment and you don’t know what to do.”
2. She has a pillow that says “It’s Good to Be Queen.”
And we really want to know who bought it for her.
3. David Beckham is a big fan.
After PEOPLE’s Sexiest Man Alive was awarded his Order of the British Empire medal, he said: “Meeting the Queen, it doesn’t get any better than that. We all need leadership. I’m just thankful we’ve got one of the best leaders around.”
4. Her personal rooms in Buckingham Palace are decorated with family photos.
Including Prince William and Princess Kate’s engagement photo, a photo of her and granddaughter Zara Phillips on Zara’s wedding day and an illustration of Prince William and Prince Harry.
5. The Queen was one of Will and Kate’s first visitors after the arrival of Princess Charlotte.
She was 89 years old, but the Queen moved quick when it came to meeting her newest great-grandchild. “She was really thrilled that it was a little girl,” Kate revealed. “She’s very fond of Charlotte. She’s always watching what she’s up to.”
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7. She played “catching happy days” with her cousin, the Hon. Margaret Rhodes, as a child – but always had a sense of maturity.
The game involved the two running around outside, trying to pick up falling leaves. They’d also make up plays and perform them for the King and Queen. “She was very much an ordinary little girl,” Rhodes said. “But she was always a slightly serious little girl.”
8. Kate’s favorite engagement with the Queen was an “away day.”
Back in March 2012, Kate accompanied the Queen and Prince Philip for a day out in Leicester as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour. In Our Queen at 90, Kate says it was one of her most memorable moments with the monarch. “She took the time to make sure I was happy and looked after,” Kate said. “It just shows just how caring she is, really.”
9. She “quietly” guides her grandchildren.
“She’s never dictated what we should do,” William says of his grandmother. “It’s her quiet guidance. It’s sometimes never seen but it’s always there. That for me, personally, has allowed me to explore more about who I am and what I have to do.”
10. Part of the reason the Queen wears such bright colors is so people can spot her.
Her daughter-in-law, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, says that with deep crowds lining up to get a glimpse of the monarch, she needs to wear something that will catch eyes in a crowd. “She needs to be able to stand out, so people can say ‘I saw the Queen!’ ”
11. She loves horses – and still rides regularly at 90.
Not only is the Queen an avid horse-racing fan, she breeds them and continues to ride too. “It’s a two-way relationship,” Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, says of her mother-in-law’s affection for her horses. “They both love each other.”
12. Prince Philip is a gentleman and a “gentle man,” the Countess of Wessex says.
The family resoundingly agreed that one of the keys to the Queen’s successful long reign is her relationship with her husband, Prince Philip, which has spanned more than 70 years. “He’s very courteous, he looks out for her, and he’s her protector,” the Countess of Wessex said.
13. She’s been everywhere, according to Prince Harry.
“There is no where on this planet, that I can think of, that she hasn’t been in the last 90 years,” he said. And her globe-trotting adds a bit of pressure to the younger members of her family, Harry said. “Sometimes it’s quite hard, if you go to a place that she hasn’t visited for maybe 20, maybe 15 years. And you just think to yourself, how can I fulfill this expectation that comes with being a member of her family?”
14. Even Prince William makes mistakes – and his Granny is “cool” when he does.
William recalled a diplomatic reception at Buckingham Palace when he was talking to a representative from one country and got mixed up with another, opposing country. “That was quite embarrassing, but my grandmother was pretty cool about it,” he said.