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Eat like a queen and live longer
Queen Elizabeth turns 90 on Thursday, and her healthful diet may contribute to her vigor. Her eating style is one that even commoners could emulate even without the 20 royal chefs. - photo by Jennifer Graham
When Queen Elizabeth was born in 1926, the average British woman could expect to live about 70 years. The British monarch turned 90 last Thursday, however, and her expected successor, Prince Charles, continues to await his turn on the throne.

Elizabeth's royal genes play a role in her longevity; the queen's mother, Elizabeth I, lived to 101. Her healthful diet likely helps, too. Aides say she generally follows a low-carbohydrate eating pattern, usually eating grilled chicken or fish, along with two vegetables or a salad. She also has fruit every day, the British newspaper The Telegraph reported.

Writer Rose Prince noted that Elizabeth remains "svelte" even though enjoying state dinners and banquets is part of a monarch's job description.

"A quick calculation: since the age of 12, when it is fair to suggest she left the nursery and began eating with the grown-ups, she will have sat down to about 57,000 lunches and dinners, a large number of them formal (at least three-course) affairs," Prince wrote.

But although the queen enjoys afternoon tea, she eats a light breakfast, and rarely, if ever, overindulges.

"The queen eats small amounts, and is frugal to boot. There are too many portraits of portly even obese former monarchs on her walls to remind her how a rulers gluttony can breed unrest among the subjects," Prince wrote.

The Telegraph noted that the queen enjoys the services of 20 chefs who are eager to indulge her preferences. She dislikes onions and garlic, both of which convey health benefits, but she likes fine chocolate, drinks Earl Grey tea and regularly enjoys a cocktail of Dubonnet and gin garnished with lemon. (The Telegraph has previously reported that she also drinks champagne, like another famous Brit, Winston Churchill, did.)

As for exercise, also important to longevity, the queen doesn't run marathons or spin (at least not in public), but the Canadian magazine Maclean's reported last year that she walks frequently, climbs stairs and still rides horses (though apparently, not wearing a helmet, which is cause for concern).

Two other factors may also keep the queen healthy: her 68-year marriage to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the fact that so far, she refuses to retire.

True to form, she plans to work on her birthday, "just as she has worked on most of her birthdays and on most days since becoming queen in February 1952," Maria Puente of USA Today reported.

Then again, the real secret to Elizabeth's longevity could be those fabulous hats, which, if nothing else, protect her from sun damage.

Well-wishers can send the queen a birthday greeting on the royal family's website. Long live the queen.
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