At around 5:30 p.m. this afternoon (September 9th, 2015), Queen Elizabeth II will become Britain’s longest-serving British monarch. She will break the record established by her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria, (b.1819 – d. 1901), having so far reigned for an impressive 63 years and seven months. To mark the occasion, we are posting a short piece on the subject, including dictionary-linked words and phrases that we hope you will find interesting.
Queen Elizabeth came to the throne in the February of 1952, aged just 25, on the death of her father, King George VI. Her coronation at Westminster Abbey took place a year later, in June 1953, to allow an appropriate period of mourning for the King. It was the first coronation to be shown on television and was broadcast at the Queen’s insistence. It is often observed that in the years since the Queen’s coronation, the world has changed massively. Queen Elizabeth, with her husband at her side (Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh), has remained the one constant. (Interestingly, Prince Philip is himself the longest-serving consort of a British monarch). Just today, British Prime Minister David Cameron said the Queen had been a “rock of stability” in an era when so much had changed, and that her reign had been the “golden thread running through three post-war generations“.
As one might expect, special events have been organised across the country and the Commonwealth to mark the occasion. In London, a flotilla of boats will proceed along the river Thames. Members of the public are expected to line the route to watch the spectacle. In Edinburgh, at Holyrood Palace (the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland), an exhibition will open commemorating the Queen’s years on the throne. Although this is a landmark day for the Queen, it is certainly no holiday. Aged 89, she will spend the day performing official duties in Scotland, where she will open the Borders Railway in Edinburgh. In the evening, she will enjoy a private celebration with members of her family.
As to the future, her Majesty‘s son, Prince Charles, is next in line to the throne, though the crown may not pass to him for a good many years. Longevity (= living for a long time) runs in the British royal family. The Queen’s own mother – the Queen Mother – died at the age of 101. With that in mind, this may well not be the last of the celebrations – we can expect a Platinum Jubilee (commemorating 70 years on the throne) in 2020 and maybe a 100th birthday party in 2026! (As The Queen famously sends a card to her subjects on their 100th birthday, will she have to send one to herself?)