The longest-reigning monarch in British history

Elizabeth II

Today the Queen will become the longest ever reigning monarch in British history. She will pass the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. 

The Telegraph reports that when Queen Victoria became the longest serving monarch, surpassing the record held by her grandfather George III, her subjects marked the occasion with memorabilia. Everything from printed handkerchiefs to china plates bore the legend “the longest reign in history”.   Queen Victoria’s reign lasted 63 years and seven months and covered a period of significant industrial, cultural and scientific changes. By contrast, Elizabeth II’s reign has  covered a period of significant technological, cultural and scientific changes.

queen victoria by Juliamaud
Queen Victoria by Juliamaud

Low key Monarch celebrations

The Telegraph notes that, for George III’s  Golden Jubilee on October 25 1809, the King remained in seclusion at Windsor Castle, attending a private service in St George’s Chapel. He later visited a nearby fete and fireworks display. In London, the public celebrations were commemorated with a service of  thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, attended by the Lord Mayor and Corporation of London. Crowds sang “Rule, Britannia” and “God Save the King” and there were crown-shaped decorations on the columns of the Mansion House.

Queen Victoria spend the day she passed George III’s record at Balmoral, entertaining the last Tsar and Tsarina of Russia. Similarly, Elizabeth II plans to spend the morning opening a new railway line in the Borders before returning to Balmoral.

It is an historic achievement to become the longest reigning of the forty-one kings and queens of England since the Norman Conquest.


The longest reigns in British history per

Edward III: January 25 1327 to June 21 1377, 50 years 147 days. Born 1312, died 1377, age 64

Henry III: October 18 1216 to November 16 1272: 56 years 29 days. Born 1207, died 1272, age 65.

James VI of Scotland, later James I of England: King of Scotland July 24 1567 to March 27 1625: 57 years, 246 days. Born 1566, died 1625, age 59

George III: October 25 1760 to January 29 1820: 59 years 96 days. Born, 1738, died 1820, age 81

Queen Victoria: June 20 1837 to January 22 1901: 63 years 216 days. Born, 1819, died 1901, age 81

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