Today, The Queen, or to give her her official title, Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, becomes the longest-reigning monarch in the 1,000+ year history of the British monarchy but she says it will be ‘business as usual’. Should we be celebrating?
Queen Elizabeth is about to overtake her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria as Britain’s longest reigning monarch. Victoria reigned for 23,226 days, 16 hours and 23 minutes and Elizabeth breaks the 114 year-old record today. She is also the oldest reigning monarch in the world at 89 years-old after 90 year-old King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died in January.
Surely today is a day for celebrating such an impressive achievement? Apparently not according to the official word from the Palace. There will be no gold coaches, no commemorative stamps, no street parties, no Red Arrows fly-bys and no Union Jack-adorned cardboard periscopes poking out from behind railings on The Mall. She will spend the day at Balmoral Castle with her family.
The Royal Mint is releasing five versions of a limited edition £20 coin depicting The Queen as she has aged on our coinage but as far as we can tell, there’s not much else happening.
In the UK, there are people who love the Royal Family and what they stand for and those who consider them to be an antiquated establishment who have no place in modern society but as the longest reigning monarch of the 40 monarchs since the Norman Conquest, let’s take a moment to reflect what the royals, and the Queen in particular, have done for this country.
Buckingham Palace attracts over 15 million visitors a year; it’s estimated that the eight royal parks attracted close to 80 million visitors in 2013-14 and millions more come to Kensington Palace, Windsor Castle and St. James’s Palace. We have an incredibly rich royal heritage and their very presence is vital to draw visitors to the UK.
The Queen has given her life to public service. Barely a day goes by without an official engagement, state dinner or royal occasion and if she doesn’t want a fuss made of the fact that she’s the longest serving monarch in British history then it’s something we as a nation should respect. She is, according to royal author Matthew Dennison, ‘the most popular figure in British public life, acclaimed by world leaders and admired across the globe’ and few can argue.
If you went to or saw even a few minutes of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012, you’ll know how much she is adored by the British public. More than a million people with aforementioned cardboard periscopes filled The Mall with an audience of billions on TV. Whatever you’re doing today, take a minute to think about The Queen, recently described by Tobias Ellwood MP as ‘a reassuring and enduring source of stability, security and inspiration; a permanent anchor in a fast-moving world’.
If you’re one of the millions coming to London this year, don’t forget that Euracom has a fantastic choice of apartments in London to suit all budgets and when you’re here, don’t forget to pay The Queen a visit, she’ll be delighted to see you!
Just for fun, here are some surprising facts about The Queen!
- She speaks fluent French and doesn’t use interpreters for audiences or state occasions
- She’s the only person in Britain who can drive without a licence or number plates
- She has sent over 175,000 telegrams and letters to people turning 100
- The first football match she attended was the 1953 FA Cup Final
- During her reign there’s been seven Archbishops of Canterbury, seven Popes and 12 Prime Ministers
- She is 5’4”, or 1m 60cm
- Her first Corgi, a gift for her 18th birthday, was called Susan
- As a child, her nickname was Lilibet – she couldn’t pronounce Elizabeth properly
- She is the only British monarch in history trained to change a spark plug