On Wednesday, Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-serving monarch in history, surpassing her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria. Elizabeth II has ruled for 63 years, 7 months and counting, and at 89 healthy years old may go on for a while yet.
The queen lives in a regal, secluded world, but she has been known to drive a car to church. It’s true she doesn’t let her hair down much. Her mother, the beloved Queen Mum, lived past 100 and enjoyed a down-to-earth popularity with the English people.
Since taking the throne in her mid-20s, Queen Elizabeth II has taken her role most seriously, vowing on the first day of her reign to put service first. On that, she has delivered, and she has transformed the monarchy in some ways, notably by paying taxes.
Elizabeth came to the throne via her father, King George VI, who brought his country through a World War and set an example of duty for his daughter. He instilled that in his young daughter early on, for his brother, Edward VIII, had become king and then abdicated for Wallis Simpson with the “woman I love” radio speech.
Elizabeth has lived an upright life, kept a stiff upper lip through the marital problems of her children and has come to the 64th year of her reign with the monarchy, and the admiration of the British people, intact.