My Queen, Queen Elizabeth II, celebrated her Diamond Jubilee on February 6th this year. She has now reigned for just over 60 years making her the second longest reigning monarch of all time a dedication to duty only surpassed by by Queen Victoria who reigned for 63 years and 216 days. The only other monarchs who reigned for more than 50 years are:
George III 1760-1820 – 59 years 96 days (lost America then went mad)
James VI of Scotland 1527-1625 – 57 years 246 days (mostly harmless, Elizabeth I was a tough act to follow)
Henry III 1207-1272 – 56 years 29 days (fought over the Magna Carta then called the first parliament, not too successful at killing the French and Spanish)
Edward III 1327-1377 – 50 years 147 days (had to deal with the “Black Death” (death of more than a third of the population), started the “Hundred Years War”)
Queen Elizabeth II has been married to Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh (AKA Phil the Greek) since 1947. He is now the United Kingdom’s longest-serving consort and the oldest serving spouse of a reigning British monarch. He’s most often a figure of fun but he’s been as reliable as she has and is in many ways the “power behind the throne”. She’ll be devastated if he goes before she does, as will most likely be the case.
David Cameron is her 13th Prime Minister. The first was Winston Churchill. In between were characters like Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher and Blair, who took away her beloved yacht Britannia in 1997.
1992 was her “annus horribilis” with widespread family turmoil and a massive fire at Windsor Castle, the consequences of all these having significant later impact on the way the Royal family is perceived, funded and indeed nowadays, behaves.
She has been one of very few constant threads throughout my entire life, having been crowned seven years before my birth. I have not always taken her seriously, as my Auntie Margaret (who looks a lot like her) will testify to. Auntie M is the member of our family who takes the Queen’s speech the most seriously and who got, justifiably, miffed a few times when we might have been paying more attention to our new Christmas toys than to Her Majesty.
I cannot say I’m a fan of the monarchy but I do prefer it to a Presidency and have a great deal of respect for Queen Elizabeth on a personal level. I hope she goes on to surpass Victoria and then spend her last days relaxing with Phil on a new yacht. It will be a sad day when she passes and goodness only knows what happens to the Royal family after that.