Queen Elizabeth’s pen pal from Russia wishes her happy birthday

A tram driver from a Russian province, a long-time pen friend of Queen Elizabeth II, is sending his wishes on the occasion of Her Majesty’s birthday.

Evgeny Karamyshev is a third-generation tram driver in Central Russia.

He drives the same route every day – but that is not the only reason his townspeople know him.

Evgeny has become something of a celebrity, all because he has a very famous pen pal – the Queen of the UK, no less.

“I didn’t even hope, when I wrote to Her Majesty all those years ago, that I would get a reply,” Karamyshev says. “And many people said Her Majesty doesn't even see most of the letters she gets. But when I got that first reply, on August 6th, 1997, I was just awestruck.”

Since 1997, Evgeny has received over 20 letters from the British Monarch.

Despite the humdrum nature of day-to-day life, he still makes sure he sends off a letter for all holidays and birthdays.

“I try to vary the letters, you know, to avoid the general pleasantries and make sure each of my letters is different,” Evgeny says. “I always include a historical tidbit about the Royal Family, because their history is fascinating.”

Evgeny cherishes his luck – and his letters. But the first one, he says, still makes him tremble a little. His dream is to meet Her Majesty one day, but for now he is simply thrilled with his Royal Mail. And on the Queen's birthday, he – as has become custom – sends her his best wishes.