Queen Elizabeth II today becomes the longest reigning British monarch – overtaking Queen Victoria’s reign of 63 years, seven months and two days.
Regardless of where you stand on the issue of the monarchy, few could dispute that Elizabeth II is a formidable woman, who has seen off numerous world leaders. Since her coronation at age 24, she has outlasted, to name but a few:
- British Prime Ministers Harold Wilson (two separate terms) and Margaret Thatcher
- US Presidents John F Kennedy and Ronald Reagan
- Soviet/Russian Leonid Brezhnev and Mikhail Gorbachev, as well as
- Charles de Gaulle, Indira Ghandi and Nelson Mandela.
As great as her reign has been, it’s not been all plain sailing. As a monarch, she has watched the troubles in Northern Ireland consume a nation, seen her country go to war against Argentina and declared a state of emergency during the miners’ strike in 1972. As a mother she has had three of her children divorce, endured her Annus Horriblis in 1992 and has watched numerous scandals surrounding her family unfold. In 1999 she even survived a push by Australia to become a republic and was said to be saddened that 45 per cent of Australians wanted her gone.
And just yesterday, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that UK troops launched a drone strike in Syria to kill three IS terrorists who had plotted to kill the Queen and other members of the royal family by detonating a huge bomb at the country’s VJ Day celebration. Two of the suspected assassins were Britons
How long she may yet reign over us remains to be seen but on this auspicious day, it would seem churlish not to say congratulations.
Do you think Queen Elizabeth II has been an outstanding monarch? Will Australia push once again to become a republic when she is no longer on the throne?