Elizabeth surpasses Queen Victoria’s long reignArchive
LONDON: It was a day for the history books. But it was not in her majesty’s temperament to make much of a fuss.
On Wednesday, Sept 9, 2015, about 5:30pm, Queen Elizabeth became the longest reigning monarch in Britain’s proud and often turbulent history, dating back more than a millennium to the days when kings and queens enjoyed absolute power.
Serving as sovereign for 23,226 days (about 63 years and 7 months), according to Buckingham Palace, Elizabeth surpassed Queen Victoria, her great-great-grandmother, a woman so powerful that she stamped an era with her name.
She has served longer than Henry VIII (37 years), longer than any of the King Richards, far longer than her own father, King George VI (15 years). She certainly reigned longer than King Edward VIII, her uncle, who abdicated after less than a year so he could marry Wallis Simpson, a divorced American.
Elizabeth was there before the Beatles, there as the nation coped with postwar rationing, there during what she called the “annus horribilis,” when the monarchy appeared threatened as three of her four children became separated or divorced in 1992. She was there in 1997, when a shocked nation mourned the untimely death of the late Princess Diana.
Now a great-grandmother, Elizabeth has overseen a blossoming of the British monarchy, symbolized by her grandson, Prince William, whose royal wedding in 2011 was watched around the world and who since then has produced two popular children, including a future king.
Wednesday was a day of astonishing achievement, but the 89-year-old queen marked it as she has done so many times before: Quietly going about her business, opening a railway line, unveiling a plaque, meeting her subjects.
She did acknowledge the event, however, telling an adoring crowd at a Scottish railway station on Wednesday it was not a milestone she had sought out.
“I thank you all, and all of the many others at home and overseas, for your touching messages of great kindness,” said Elizabeth, wearing a two-tone blue coat and matching hat. “(It was) not one to which I have ever aspired.”
Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2015
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