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Queen Elizabeth Ii 59-year Reign

December 6, 2011 by staff 

Queen Elizabeth Ii 59-year Reign, As Queen Elizabeth II enters the history books as Britain’s second longest-reigning monarch, BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell looks at how her 59-year reign compares with those of other long-serving sovereigns.

Last month the Queen celebrated her 85th birthday. Next year she will reach her Diamond Jubilee, when it will be 60 years since she came to the throne.

Elizabeth II has achieved a number of significant milestones as Queen of the United Kingdom, and this week she passes another.

On Thursday 12 May 2011, she becomes the second-longest serving monarch Britain has ever had.

On that day she overtakes the length of the reign of George III, a king remembered largely for the “madness” which overtook him in later years.

George III died in 1820 after a reign lasting 59 years and 96 days.

Evolving Britain

Now the reign of Elizabeth II (or Elizabeth I in Scotland, since the crowns of England and Scotland were only brought together in 1603, after the reign of the other female monarch called Elizabeth) is surpassed in length by that of only one other British sovereign.

Who else, of course, but Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years, seven months and three days, and died at the age of 81 in January 1901.

Victoria’s reign witnessed Britain’s rise to become the then-global superpower. There were industrial, cultural and scientific changes on an unprecedented scale and by the time of her death the British Empire encircled the globe.

George III’s reign was also a period of great change for Britain. The American colonies may have been lost during his time on the throne, but the military ambitions of France were decisively defeated at the battles of Trafalgar and Waterloo.

George III was also, incidentally, the first king of the entity known as “the United Kingdom” after the union of the crowns of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801.

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