Exactly a year from today, Her Majesty The Queen will become the longest reigning British monarch in history, God willing. She will surpass the record set by her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, who ruled for nearly 64 years.
Buckingham Palace has calculated that Queen Victoria reigned for 23,226 days, 16 hours and 23 minutes, taking into account 63 years, 15 leap days, additional months and days and the precise timings of her accession and death. By those calculations, Queen Elizabeth II will overtake Victoria on September 9th, 2015, taking into account 63 years plus 16 leap days, additional months and days and the exact time of George VI’s death.
“It’s a very significant milestone. The Queen will become the longest reigning British monarch in history. She came to the throne when she was older than Victoria. Victoria was only 18,” said historian, Dr Kate Williams. “It shows that our female monarchs last the longest. The Queen’s longevity is a great source of her strength and popularity. She has lived through World War Two and throughout the 20th century.”
Queen Victoria ascended the throne upon the death of her uncle, William IV, on June 20, 1837, less than a month after her 18th birthday. Her husband, Prince Albert, died when he was just 42, and Victoria remained in mourning for the rest of her life. She died on January 22, 1901, aged 81, and was succeeded by her eldest son, who ruled as King Edward VII.
Her Majesty, on the other hand, became Queen Elizabeth II on February 6, 1952, when her father King George VI died. The Queen, who was only 25 at the time, received information of her father’s passing and her accession whilst in Kenya on a royal tour. The news was broken to her by her husband, Prince Philip, who continues to support Her Majesty even today. He holds the record for the longest serving British consort.
One would think that an event as significant as making history for being the longest reigning monarch would be a cause for celebration, but according to a Buckingham Palace spokesman, this milestone will be just another day for Her Majesty. “The Queen traditionally spends the month of September at Balmoral,” he said. “Next year is unlikely to be any different.”
Her Majesty already holds a number of records. At 88, she is the longest living British monarch, having overtaken Queen Victoria in 2007, and in 2011, she overtook King George III to become the second-longest reigning monarch. The Queen is also the second longest-serving head of state alive today, after King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, who came to the throne in 1946.