As he celebrates his 75th birthday, King Charles joins an exclusive rank of longest-living British monarchs: only five are—so far—longer lived than our current king.
Here are the monarchs who’ve lived longer than King Charles III, in order.
- Queen Elizabeth II — 96 years, 4 months, 19 days
The queen who broke just about every record imaginable is also the longest-lived. At the time of her death on 8 September 2022, she was 96 years old and had just finished marking her Platinum Jubilee—a record no other monarch has matched.
The late Queen was not born to be the monarch; the eldest daughter of a second son, she was propelled into the history books with the abdication of her uncle, who we’ll learn more about soon enough.
Queen Elizabeth II was born on 21 April 1926 and died on 8 September 2022.
- Queen Victoria — 81 years, 7 months, 30 days
For a time the longest-lived and longest-reigning monarch, her great-great-great-granddaughter, would exceed her.
Unlike Elizabeth II, Victoria was born to be the monarch: her father, the Duke of Kent, was the first of George III’s sons to have surviving, legitimate issue, and when her uncle William IV died in 1837, she reigned after him for 63 years.
Queen Victoria was born on 24 May 1819 and died on 22 January 1901.
- George III — 81 years, 7 months, 26 days
A controversial and long-lived figure, George III is best remembered today for his unyielding health problems and losing America.
He was born into a Hanoverian dynasty that came to rule over Great Britain thanks to a quirk of bloodlines and was the first of the Hanoverian kings to speak English, have been born within the kingdom, and have never visited Hanover (though he was also King of Hanover, too).
King George III was born on 4 June 1738 and died on 29 January 1820.
- Edward VIII – 77 years, 11 months and 6 days
A prince raised to be a king but who gave up his throne for love, Edward VIII might be the fourth longest-lived monarch, but his reign lasted a brief 327 days.
Better known as the Duke of Windsor—a title he gained after his abdication—Edward VIII came to his throne in January 1936 and gave it up for the twice-divorced American Wallis Warfield Simpson. After his abdication, the couple lived in royal exile but enjoyed a life of café society until the would-be king died of cancer in 1972. It was through his niece, Queen Elizabeth II, that he and Wallis were allowed to be buried with the Royal Family at Frogmore at Windsor Castle.
Edward VIII was born on 23 June 1894 and died on 28 May 1972.
- George II — 76 years, 11 months, 26 days
He wasn’t a popular king in his lifetime, nor has history been particularly kind to him, but he is the fifth longest-living monarch in British history.
The son of George I wasn’t particularly well-regarded by his father, and he would continue the familial legacy, not thinking too much of his son, Frederick, Prince of Wales, either. Jacobite rebellions and succession issues also characterised his reign—his poorly-regarded son predeceased him, paving the way for grandson George III to succeed at age 22.
George II was born on 30 October 1683 and died on 25 October 1760.
Of the British monarchs from 1066 to the Acts of Union in 1707, the longest-lived was Queen Elizabeth I, who lived for 69 years, 6 months, 18 days.
King Charles celebrated another age-related milestone upon his accession on 8 September 2022: he was the oldest monarch at the start of his reign. The record had been previously held by King William IV, who was 64 years old when he succeeded in 1830.
Also, aside from King Edward VIII, who was uncrowned and only reigned 327 days, King Charles has the shortest reign of all the monarchs since 1066. King Charles’s reign has been 1 year, 2 months, 7 days as of his birthday. King Richard III is the next shortest, at 2 years, 1 month, 28 days.