Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 88th birthday as the second-longest reigning monarch in the history of Great Britain, surpassed only by Queen Victoria.
Interestingly, most of the monarchs that have ruled the country have been men. The two longest-lived rulers, however, are women.
Queen Victoria is currently the longest-reigning British monarch by 507 days — which could be passed by Queen Elizabeth in a year and 143 days if she continues to enjoy a healthy life.
This shouldn’t be much of a problem for the royal, since the Queen Mother survived close to 102-years of age.
Queen Elizabeth II, whose complete name is Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, was the firstborn to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on April 21, 1926 via a Cesarean Section. She was named Elizabeth after her mother, Alexandra after King George V’s mother, and Mary after King George VI’s mother.
Elizabeth had one sibling, Princess Margaret, and they were both educated at Buckingham Palace under the supervision of the Queen and their governess (nanny), Marion Crawford, who in 1950 — to the dismay of the royal family — wrote a biography about the two sisters describing the Queen’s love for horses and dogs, as well as her neatness and sense of responsibility from a young age.
While King George VI reigned, Elizabeth was third in line to the throne (the same position Prince George is today) and wasn’t expected to become reigning Queen since she stood behind her still-young uncle, Edward, the Prince of Wales, and her father, George, the Duke of York.
However, several things conspired to make Elizabeth become the ruling Queen. First, her grandfather, George V, died in 1936, and her uncle became Edward VII, making her second in line to the throne after her father. Secondly, later the same year Edward famously abdicated to marry divorced socialite Wallis Simpson.
Following the Constitutional crisis, her father became King George VI and she became heiress presumptive. If Queen Elizabeth II would have had a younger male sibling he would have inherited the throne, as females lost their rights to any male brothers in the line of succession.
On February 6, 1952, Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh. informed the new Queen Elizabeth II that her father, King George VI, had passed away.
The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place on June 2, 1953 in Westminster Abbey and the royal celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
— BritishMonarchy (@BritishMonarchy) April 20, 2014
Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 88th birthday with the unveiling of a new portrait shared on the monarchy’s Twitter account on Monday.