How Long Has Queen Elizabeth II Been on the Throne?

Queen Elizabeth II is a living legend for so many reasons. The current queen of England isn’t just the subject of a popular Netflix series called The Crown – she’s also the oldest living monarch and the longest reigning in the history of the British monarchy. It’s amazing to think about.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip | Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images)

A queen is born

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born in London on April 21, 1926 to her parents, the Duke and Duchess of York. At the time, no one knew that the baby girl would eventually become Queen. The only reason she eventually ascended the throne was because her uncle, Prince Edward VIII, made history when he abdicated the throne to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson in 1936. That made Elizabeth’s father king and put her next in line for the British throne.

Queen Elizabeth ascended the throne

The Queen’s coronation followed her father’s death in February 1952. She was just 25 years old when she became the queen regent of seven independent Commonwealth countries including the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon (later renamed Sri Lanka). Many of those realms gained independence over the course of her reign.

She’s the longest reigning British monarch of all time

In 2017, Queen Elizabeth made history during her Sapphire Jubilee celebration. That’s the special event commemorating 65 years on the throne. As of 2018, Queen Elizabeth II has been ruling England for 66 years. The country is looking forward to celebrating their queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 – that’s when she’ll be on the throne for an incredible 70 years.

Queen Elizabeth II | Stefan Wermuth/WPA Pool /Getty Images

This milestone doesn’t happen often

Not too many monarchs around the world live to see their Sapphire Jubilee. Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej did get to celebrate 70 years on the throne, so technically Queen Elizabeth II isn’t the longest-serving monarch in the world – not yet, anyway. But she is currently the longest reigning living monarch after the death of the Thai king in 2016. And she’s the longest reigning in the history of her own country, Great Britain.

Queen Elizabeth has witnessed history

The Queen has both witnesses and orchestrated several milestone events over the course of her 66-year reign. As the nation’s 40th monarch (though she was only the sixth female ruler), she has seen 12 British Prime ministers, 11 United States presidents, and seven popes. She has also visited the most countries and invested the most time and money into charities and other organizations.

Queen Elizabeth bore witness to her country changing from a white, Christian stronghold into a more modern era. Now the British royal family is even on social media! They keep everyone updated on their official royal website.

What will happen when Queen Elizabeth II dies?

Preparations are being made for the Queen’s eventual passing. The event has the nickname operation “London Bridge” and will go into effect immediately when she dies. Bells will toll, members of the royal family will gather at Buckingham Palace, and then Prince Charles will become the new King of England. At the age of 70, he’ll be one of the oldest heirs to become the new monarch.

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