Queen Elizabeth II: record breaker

TOPSHOT – Members of the public stop in the rain to study a huge picture of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II displayed at Piccadilly Circus in central London on September 8, 2022, after the announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, in central London. (Photo by Ben Stansall / AFP)

(AFP) – Queen Elizabeth II notched up a number of landmarks in her record-breaking 70 years on the throne.

– Longevity –

Elizabeth reigned for 70 years and nearly four months — longer than any other monarch in British history.

The previous record was held by her great-great-grandmother queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years, seven months and two days until 1901.

Until her death on Thursday aged 96, Elizabeth was the oldest current monarch and head of state in the world.

Only two kings have ruled for longer: France’s Louis XIV — more than 72 years between 1643 and 1715 — and Thailand’s Bhumibol Adulyadej — 70 years and four months, until his death in October 2016.

– Globetrotter –

The queen travelled to more than 100 countries since 1952 — another record for a British monarch — and made more than 150 visits to Commonwealth nations.

She went to Canada 22 times — more than any other country. In Europe, she visited France the most — 13 times — and spoke the language.

The Daily Telegraph calculated that she travelled the equivalent of 42 times around the world before stopping overseas trips in November 2015 aged 89.

Her longest foreign trip lasted 168 days from November 1953 to May 1954 during which she visited 13 countries.

– Busy –

As a 21-year-old princess, Elizabeth pledged her life to the service of the Commonwealth.

As queen, she carried out some 21,000 engagements, gave royal assent to 4,000 pieces of legislation, and hosted 112 state visits of foreign heads of state.

Among those she hosted were emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia (1954), Japan’s emperor Hirohito (1971), president Lech Walesa of Poland (1991) and US president Barack Obama (2011).

More than 180 garden parties have been hosted at Buckingham Palace, attended by more than 1.5 million people.

– Politics and religion –

A total of 15 British prime ministers served under the queen. Her first was Winston Churchill (1952-1955) and the last was Liz Truss, who was appointed only on Tuesday.

She held regular private meetings with her prime minister of the day, usually at Buckingham Palace on a weekly basis.

Elizabeth II met 13 out of the last 14 US presidents with the exception of Lyndon B Johnson. Her last visitor from the White House was Joe Biden in 2021.

The queen was the supreme governor of the Church of England, a position dating back to the creation of the church under Henry VIII in the 16th century.

She met four popes on official visits — John XXIII (1961), John Paul II (1980, 1982 and 2000), Benedict XVI (2010) and Francis I (2014).

– Cards –

The queen sent some 300,000 cards of congratulation to centenarians and more than 900,000 to couples celebrating 60 years of marriage.

She was married for 73 years — another record for a British monarch. Her husband, Prince Philip, died aged 99 in April last year.

– Portraits –

The queen posed for more than 200 portraits since the age of seven. Most were painted in a traditional style.

But Lucien Freud’s in 2001 proved controversial: one critic said it made her majesty look like one of her corgi dogs.

– Pioneer –

In 1996, the queen became the first British monarch to visit mainland China. She was also the first to address the House of Representatives in Washington.

She sent her first email on March 26, 1976 during a visit to a Ministry of Defence research facility.

In 1997, she launched the Buckingham Palace website and in 2014 sent her first tweet. Three years ago, she made her debut on Instagram.

– 007 –

The queen is the only monarch to have jumped out of a helicopter with James Bond and parachuted into the opening ceremony of the Olympics. Kind of.

She and her beloved corgis made a cameo appearance at the 2012 London Games with 007 actor Daniel Craig, before a stuntman made the leap.

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