The recent passing of Her Majesty, the late Queen Elizabeth II, makes this a time to look back on the outstanding achievements made by the longest reigning monarch in UK history. We reflect now on some of her greatest accomplishments, and interesting facts which may be unknown to many...
The late Queen Elizabeth II reigned for an impressive 70 years, making her the longest reigning monarch in British history, and the world’s second longest, second only to King Louis XI5 who ruled for 72 years. Her ruling saw her surpass the reign of her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, who ruled for 63 years between 1837 and 1901. Her 70 years on the throne meant she appointed, and was served by, 15 UK Prime Ministers, including Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, John Major and more recently Boris Johnson.
Aside from her impressive length of reign, she holds a spot in the Guinness book of World Records, as the oldest Queen in history living to 96 years old. The previous record was held by Queen Victoria who lived to 81 years. She holds yet another world record for “Most Currencies Featuring the Same Individual”. The Queen’s face (or side profile) has featured on at least 45 different countries' currency!
In 1952 when Elizabeth was crowned, she became the Head of Commonwealth realms. This meant that a group of sovereign territories and protectorates therefore considered the Queen as the head of state. Presently, there are 15 states under the Commonwealth realm, including Jamaica, Grenada, Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, etc. It is estimated that the Commonwealth of Nations alone account for a third of the world’s population; the majority of these countries are in Africa. She became the queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon (known today as Sri Lanka), as well as the Head of the Commonwealth.
In 2013 she won an honorary BAFTA for her "Lifelong Support of the British Film and Television Industry" which was awarded to her by stage and film star, Sir Kenneth Branagh. She also won awards in the equestrian space, which saw her take the “International Equestrian Federation Lifetime Achievement Award”. She also received a Life Saving Award, which was presented to her by the Royal Life Saving Society, a drowning prevention charity.
Queen Elizabeth was known for her exceptional charitable work and contributions, and was patron to over 800 charities! Famously known for involvement with the British Red Cross, Save the Children, Barnardos, YMCA England, Action for Children and many more.
She famously said in 2016, “On our own, we cannot end wars or wipe out injustice, but the cumulative impact of thousands of small acts of goodness can be bigger than we imagine”.
There is no doubt that our queen gave lifelong dedication to her country, with complete dignity, grace and a true sense of duty. She was a much loved and highly respected figure across the world and she will be missed by many.
We join the nation in offering our heartfelt condolences to The Royal Family following the passing of Her Majesty The Queen, whilst reflecting on her incredible 70 year reign and service to this country and the Commonwealth. May she rest in eternal peace.