Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest-reigning British monarch in more than 1,000 years today, overtaking her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria, with just over 63 years and six months on the throne. Born on April 21, 1926 during the reign of her paternal grandfather, King George V. On November 20, 1947 Elizabeth II married His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

In February of 1952, Elizabeth II was crowned as the queen of 16 of the 53 member states in the Commonwealth of Nations. She became the Head of the Commonwealth and Supreme Governor of the Church of England. She is the 40th monarch since William the Conqueror received the crown of England.

In 1977, Elizabeth marked the Silver Jubilee of her accession. Parties and events took place throughout the Commonwealth, many coinciding with her associated national and Commonwealth tours. The celebrations re-affirmed the Queen’s popularity, despite virtually coincident negative press coverage of Princess Margaret’s separation from her husband.

In 2002, Elizabeth marked her Golden Jubilee as Queen. As in 1977, there were street parties and commemorative events and monuments were named to honor the occasion. A million people attended each day of the three-day main Jubilee celebration in London and the enthusiasm shown by the public for the Queen was greater than many journalists had predicted.

Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 marked 60 years as Queen, with celebrations throughout her realms, the wider Commonwealth, and beyond. In a message released on Accession Day, she stated: “In this special year, as I dedicate myself anew to your service, I hope we will all be reminded of the power of togetherness and the convening strength of family, friendship and good neighborliness… I hope also that this Jubilee year will be a time to give thanks for the great advances that have been made since 1952 and to look forward to the future with clear head and warm heart”.

The Queen became the longest-lived British monarch in 2007. On 9 September 2015, she surpassed her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, to become the longest-reigning British monarch, and second-longest reigning in Canadian history (surpassed only by King Louis XIV). She is the world’s oldest reigning monarch and second-longest-serving current head of state (after King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand). She does not intend to abdicate, though the proportion of the sovereign’s duties performed by Prince Charles is expected to continue to increase as Elizabeth, who will celebrate her ninetieth birthday in 2016, reduces her commitments.

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