Everything New Uncovered About The Queen Since Her Death One Year Ago

It's impossible to deny the longevity and far-reaching influence of Queen Elizabeth II. At the time of her death in 2022, she had been the British regent for so long that it was estimated that for nine out of every 10 people worldwide, she was the only British monarch they'd ever known.

Data compiled by YouGov suggests that she was liked by somewhere around 76% of the population (and actively disliked by only about 6%). For anyone in a position of power, that's incredibly impressive — but it also brings up a fascinating question. How much did the world really know about her?

According to biographer Clive Irving (via The Daily Beast), the answer to that is surprisingly complicated. Irving says that her father, George VI, gave her strict lessons on what it took to be a proper monarch, and that meant playing a part ... 24/7, for decades. The public got glimpses of the real Elizabeth in her love for her dogs and her horses, and her sense of humor, but that's it. Irving writes, "Of her core beliefs we knew nothing." Interestingly, he quoted David Attenborough's explanation as to why Elizabeth II remained so regally aloof: "[The monarchy] depends on mystique and the tribal chief in his hut. If any member of the tribe ever sees inside the hut, then the whole system of the tribal chiefdom is damaged and the tribe eventually disintegrates." With Elizabeth's passing, has more information come out about who she really, truly was? Some.

The FBI took a 1980s death threat very seriously

In 2023, the FBI released some shocking documents: In 1983, they had been on high alert during Queen Elizabeth's visit to the U.S. Newly released documents were uploaded to the FBI's public records store, The Vault, and although they note that "there is no known activity planned to disrupt the visit of Queen Elizabeth II" in many stops along the way, law enforcement had been alerted to the possibility that things would change as she moved west. 

In addition to planned protests expected to attract thousands of people, there was a concern that at least one man was determined to assassinate the Queen when she appeared in San Francisco.

The exact circumstances are unclear and the report is heavily redacted, but it does reveal that an unidentified law enforcement officer had alerted others to the fact that he had reportedly gotten a phone call from a man who claimed he was going to either drop something onto the Queen's yacht as it passed beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. Alternately, he claimed he had plans to follow her to Yosemite and kill her there. The man also told the officer that the assassination attempt was going to be carried out in retribution for the death of his daughter, who he said had been killed in the fighting in Northern Ireland. The New York Times reported that there was no way to tell if anyone had ever been arrested over the threats, but the visit went off without incident.

An in-depth study into her changing accent revealed some fascinating things

Queen Elizabeth II had a very specific accent — so specific that it was sometimes called the Queen's English. Her accent was that particular British accent associated with the uber-posh, but after her passing, the BBC ran a story on the results of a fascinating study done by researchers at the Institute of Phonetics and Speech Processing at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, made possible by the fact that she recorded many speeches over the span of decades.

They found that contrary to popular belief, her accent actually changed quite a bit over the years. She actually went from speaking in the "upper-class Received Pronunciation of the 1950s" to what was described as a more middle-class accent. They noted that it was so gradual it was impossible to hear without listening for it over the course of decades of recordings, and that wasn't the end of their findings. They also discovered that by the 1990s, she had started to move back into the more posh and proper tones of the 1950s.

It's a discovery disputes the long-standing theory that our accents are well-established by adulthood. The study's authors suggest that tracking the Queen's changing accent gives credence to the idea that not only do we unconsciously and imperceptibly mimic the accents of those we speak with most often, but that as we age into senior citizen territory, older memories become stronger and more affectionately remembered, which could account for her regression to her earlier ways of speaking.

Her family loved her special salad dressing

Whether it has something to do with someone's face being on currency around the world, a multi-million-dollar net worth, or just being the figurehead for a centuries-old institution, it's hard to imagine Queen Elizabeth II doing some of the normal things that everyone else does on a pretty regular basis — especially when it comes to food. She did, after all, have an army of staff that included royal chefs, and while her aversion to foods like garlic was well-documented, it wasn't until Prince Harry released his memoir, "Spare," that the world got a glimpse into the delightful world of Balmoral.

And while there's not that much that's normal and super-relatable about summer vacation in a castle, he painted a picture of backyard BBQ bliss that many people can get on board with. While Prince Philip tended the grill and oversaw the venison and the sausage, Harry recalled that his grandmother made her own contributions to the feast.

"Granny's specialty was the salad dressing," he recounted (via Town & Country), remembering one particular night in 2001. "She'd whisked a large batch. Then she lit the candles down the long table and we all sat on wooden chairs with creaky straw seats. Often we had a guest for these dinners, some famous or eminent personage. Many times I'd discussed the temperature of the meat or the coolness of the evening with a prime minister or bishop. But tonight it was just family."

Her strange response to Harry's request to marry Meghan

Being a part of the royal family comes with all kinds of rules and regulations, and when he published his memoir, "Spare," Prince Harry made it quite clear that he found many of them oppressive. That included an apparently long-standing tradition that led to him having to ask his grandmother's permission to propose to Meghan Markle, which he said (via People) came as a complete surprise to him. "It didn't make sense. A grown man asking his grandmother for permission to marry?"

Harry wrote that he carefully chose a time when he knew she'd be in a good mood: During a trip to Sandringham. They were out in a field looking for dead birds when he asked, and said that she'd been incredibly impatient to hear whatever it was he was clearly waiting to say.

He recalled her reaction as being less than the stellar response he had perhaps hoped for: "At last she replied, 'Well, then, I suppose I have to say yes.'" Harry wrote that he was completely taken aback by her response and that he wasn't entirely sure if that meant she actually approved of the match, or if her phrasing was her way of saying that she absolutely didn't. Worry nearly took over, but he pushed it aside. He wrote, "I wanted to hug her. I longed to hug her. I didn't hug her. I saw her into the Range Rover, then marched back to Pa and Willy."

Her final words of advice to Sarah Ferguson

In her final years, Queen Elizabeth II was faced with a massive scandal: Her son, Prince Andrew, was involved with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. She famously stripped him of his public royal role and military titles just a few months before her death, but what did that mean for the relationship she shared with her son's ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson?

Ferguson spoke with People in 2023, and said that their relationship was always a comfortable one — and as if there was any proof needed, there's the fact that she adopted the last two royal Corgis. Still, in an interview with Good Morning America, she also revealed that along with the Queen's friendship came a relentless sort of pressure. "I don't know whether it's the Queen passing that makes me think I can now openly say what I want to say without worrying I'm going to offend somebody. I'm really, truly, authentic Sarah now," she shared.

She also shared the fact that it was exactly what her former mother-in-law wanted for her. It was on her podcast, Tea Talks with the Duchess and Sarah, that she revealed their last conversation and the Queen's final wishes for her. "It's the last thing that the Queen said to me: 'Just be yourself, Sarah.' And she saw it. She just got so annoyed when I wasn't being myself. And that's probably when I got into all the pickles. But now I am myself, and I'm just so lucky to be able to be myself."