Queen Elizabeth II will pass Queen Victoria as Britain’s longest serving monarch on Sept. 9. Read our coverage here.
When does Elizabeth become the longest-reigning British monarch?
On Sept. 23, 1896, Queen Victoria became the longest-reigning monarch in British history, overtaking her grandfather, King George III, who had been on the throne for 59 years, 96 days. “Today is the day on which I have reigned longer by a day than any English sovereign,” Victoria wrote in her journal. Though churches rang their bells and bonfires were lit on the hills of Balmoral in Scotland, where Victoria was staying, the date wasn’t marked by Empire-wide events because huge celebrations were planned for the following year to mark her 60th year on the throne. Still, the royal commemorative industry didn’t miss an opportunity to sell tchotchkes, including handkerchiefs and china plates.
In September, her great-great-grand-daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, will surpass Victoria as the longest-reigning British monarch in history. Yet, until recently, no one could decide when exactly Her Majesty would make history. Dates ranging from Sept. 9 to Sept. 11 were posited. The calculations themselves give different results, depending on whether days alone are counted; or years and days; or years, months and days. Finally, royal officials issued their own detailed analysis. Victoria’s reign lasted 23,226 days, 16 hours and 23 minutes, they declared. Elizabeth II is expected to pass that record on Sept. 9, 2015, at around 5:30 p.m. local time in Britain.
As Victoria was 119 years ago, Elizabeth II is expected to be at Balmoral, and there won’t be a Commonwealth-wide celebration (though the Monarchist League of Canada is spearheading events in towns across Canada from Mount Pearl, N.L. to Kitimat, B.C.). That’s because next year, the Queen—already the oldest monarch in British history as well as the oldest alive today—will turn 90. Street parties and spectacles have already been announced. It is destined to be a bash befitting a very special birthday girl.
The royal reign leaderboard
Here’s a look at the longest-serving British monarchs.
Elizabeth II: Feb. 6, 1952-
Victoria: June 20, 1837-Jan. 22, 1901 63 years, 216 days
George III: Oct. 25, 1760-Jan. 29, 1820 59 years, 96 days
James I*: July 24, 1567-March 27, 1625 57 years, 246 days
Henry III: Oct. 18, 1216-Nov. 16, 1272 56 years, 29 days
*James VI of Scotland before ascending the English throne in 1603
QUEEN ELIZABETH’S NOT-TO-DO LIST
Queen Elizabeth II, it seems, plays by her own rules. Here’s her not-to-do list, of everything she has not done and will not do:
Elizabeth II does not:
2. Utter a public opinion on a political issue
3. Agree to media interviews
4. Go on a tour without Prince Philip
5. Wear a seat belt
6. Wear a helmet while horseback riding
7. Wear jeans
Her Majesty does not have:
1. A passport
2. A driver’s licence