By Kerry Nisler
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II officially became the longest-reigning British monarch on Wednesday, September 9.
She ascended the throne in 1952 and has ruled for 63 years and 220 days.
Elizabeth inherited the throne during a time of great change. She oversaw the definitive end to the once dominant British Empire and growth of the progressive Commonwealth of Nations. Today, however, the queen serves primarily as a figurehead. She is better known for her love of Pembroke Welsh Corgis than for her role as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces.
Elizabeth II’s reign trumps that of:
1. Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II just surpassed her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years and 216 days. Victoria is best remembered for overseeing Britain’s great age of industrial growth, economic prosperity and cultural progress.
2. King George III (1760-1820)
George the III ruled for 59 years and 96 days. He is widely remembered for two things: losing the American colonies and going mad. After defeating France in the Seven Years’ War, Britain plunged into debt leaving the kingdom unprepared for the American Revolution. The loss left George mentally unfit to rule in the last decade of his reign.
3. King James VI (1567-1625)
For 57 years and 246 days, James VI reigned over the kingdoms of Scotland and England in personal union. He was a firm believer in the Divine Right of Kings, asserting that his authority was the will of God. This resulted in repeated conflicts with the British Parliament that sought to limit the monarchy.
4. King Henry III (1216-1272)
Henry III became king at age 9 and ruled for 56 years and 29 days. His reign was marked by strife with barons who disapproved of the king’s expensive military ventures and lavish religious contributions. Henry’s refusal to relinquish power to the nobles resulted in rebellion followed by the Second Barons’ War.
5. King Edward III (1327-1377)
Edward III was the King of England for 50 years and 147 days. During his reign, England transformed into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe during the Hundred Years War. His successes garnered the support of the nobles, lessened criticism of the taxes and improved relations with Parliament.