Queen Elizabeth II - Britain's Oldest Monarch
Queen Elizabeth is Britain's oldest monarch. On December 20, 2007 she overtook a record set by her great great grandmother, Queen Victoria, and experts of the British monarchy expect her to be on the throne for some time to come. No special events are planned to mark the occasion, the Queen was working as normal.
Victoria was born on May 24, 1819, and lived for 81 years, seven months and 29 days, before she died in 1901. In the Victorian Age Britain expanded its power to colonies all over the world.
Elizabeth, the 40th monarch since William the Conqueror took the English throne in 1066, was born on April 21, 1926. She became Queen in 1952 after the death of her father King George VI. In her youth she was trained for the throne and was educated in history, art and riding horses.
In 1947 Elizabeth married Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in Westminster Abbey. The couple has four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward.
Throughout her reign Queen Elizabeth travelled a lot. She visited India, South Africa, Australia and many places in the Middle East and the Caribbean. At home she often met with the British Prime Minister to discuss the country’s political problems.
In 2002 Queen Elizabeth reached her Golden Jubilee. To mark the anniversary celebrations were held throughout the United Kingdom.
The popularity of 81-year-old has been restored after a difficult decade for the monarchy following the death of Princess Diana, ex-wife of Elizabeth's eldest son and heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, in a 1997 Paris car crash. Many Britons criticized the royal family, because they had not shown enough mourning in public.
There are few calls nowadays for the abolition of the monarchy although many republicans say it was time she retired. They are not sure if, at the age of 81, she still has the ability to perform her official duties.
However the monarch, whose mother died at 101, has shown no desire to step down from her role.
Elizabeth, who became the first reigning British monarch to celebrate a diamond wedding anniversary in November, still has some way to go if she is to beat Victoria's record as Britain's longest-reigning monarch. She ruled for almost 64 years and Elizabeth will break this in September 2015.
While she remains on the throne, the position of the monarchy seems secure but opinion polls suggest that if Charles takes the throne it could once again raise question marks about its future. Maybe the population will some day vote on the future of the monarchy.
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