Queen Elizabeth II became the oldest reigning Monarch in the world yesterday following the death of the 90-year-old King of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. Yet the record forms only the latest in a long string of longevity records The Queen – along with the Duke of Edinburgh – have reached over the past few years, as well as a number of significant records which she is still on track to reach in the months and years to come.
Later this year, Her Majesty will take the title of longest-reigning Monarch in British history. She’ll match her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria’s record on 9th September and surpass it (in days) the following day on the 10th, having reigned for over 63 years and 7 months. Reports say no formal celebrations have been planned and the occasion is likely to pass unmarked, with Her Majesty at Balmoral for her traditional summer break at the time.
Already the oldest Monarch in British history (another title she took from Queen Victoria), The Queen’s 90th birthday next year is expected to be marked publicly, with suggestions of a national thanksgiving service or other events similar to those for the 90th and 100th birthday of The Queen Mother.
Despite these feats, Her Majesty isn’t the longest still-reigning Monarch in the world. That title goes to the Thai king Bhumibol Adulyadej (King Rama IX) who has reigned for what will be 69 years later this year. He acceded to the Thai throne at the age of 18, though was born over a year after Queen Elizabeth. The increasingly frail Monarch is also the 25th longest reigning Monarch in world history.
Queen Elizabeth, meanwhile, is currently placed as the 44th longest-reigning Monarch in world history. By the end of this year, she will be the 41st. The record for the longest-reigning Monarch in world history though lies with King Sobhuza II of Swaziland who reigned from shortly after his birth until age 83.
It’s not just The Queen reaching all manner of longevity records either. She and the Duke of Edinburgh together are the longest-married British Monarch and consort – they celebrate their 68th wedding anniversary this year – while the Duke himself is the oldest male royal, having overtaken the record of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn in early 2013. Philip is also the longest-serving consort in British history.
The records don’t stop there. As a result of Queen Elizabeth’s long reign, Prince Charles himself has accrued a number of records as heir. He is currently the longest serving heir to the throne and when he eventually accedes to the throne, he will automatically be the oldest person to become king in British history, a record currently held by William IV who was almost 65 when he became king.
Despite this, Charles is not yet the longest serving Prince of Wales – a record he is three years away from taking from his great-great-grandfather Edward VII, who served as Prince of Wales for over 59 years.
No one in the Royal Family is yet close to becoming the oldest royal in history. This title goes to Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester who lived for over 102 years, narrowly beating The Queen Mother’s record. Prince Philip, currently the closest, would beat the record in 2024.