Queen Elizabeth II becomes longest-reigning British monarch
Thursday, September 10, 2015. BMG: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, 89, also Queen of Belize and 15 other Commonwealth realms, passed her great-grandmother Queen Victoria on Wednesday to become the UK’s longest-reigning monarch at sixty-three years, seven months and a day.
According to the BBC, the Queen has thanked well-wishers at home and overseas for their “touching messages of kindness” as she hit the milestone, though she said the title was “not one to which I have ever aspired”.
She has now reigned for more than 23,226 days, since February 6, 1952.
While opening a railway in the Scottish Borders she told an audience: “Inevitably a long life can pass by many milestones – my own is no exception – but I thank you all and the many others at home and overseas for your touching messages of great kindness.”
Tributes have been raised from British and Commonwealth leaders including Prime Minister David Cameron, who said she had been a “rock of stability” in an era when so much had changed, and her reign had been the “golden thread running through three post-war generations”.
The Queen is taking her traditional summer break at this time of year at her private Scottish home, Balmoral, and spent the rest of the day with family.
Her Majesty was seven years older at accession than Victoria and leads less people – 138 million as head of the Commonwealth versus 400 million at the height of the British Empire. But they are largely both equally loved.
However, anti-monarchist group Republic said the Queen’s long reign was a reason for reform, not celebration. Chief executive Graham Smith said: “It is now time for the country to look to the future and to choose a successor through free and fair elections, someone who can genuinely represent the nation.” He added: “I don’t think that keeping a job for life, for life, is something to get excited about.”
The mother of four, grandmother of eight and great-grandmother of five children will turn 90 next April and has no plans to abdicate.
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