(WHTM) – The big weekend of Platinum Jubilee festivities just wrapped up in Great Britain where they are celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne. She is now the longest-reigning monarch in English history.
Elizabeth became Queen on February 6, 1952, upon the death of her father, King George VI. Her coronation ceremony took place on June 2, 1953.
For those of you who are wondering, the second longest-reigning monarch of England was Queen Victoria, at 63 years, 216 days. Third longest monarch of England? George III, at 59 years, 96 days. (You may have heard of him.)
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In addition to being the longest-serving monarch in British history, Elizabeth is the third longest-reigning monarch of a sovereign nation in the world-though that is likely to change by this time next week.
One of those two monarchs reigned within living history; the other was a few hundred years ago.
The second longest reigning monarch hailed from Thailand. Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), served as King from June 9, 1946, until his death at age 88 on October 13, 2016.
Bhumibol was actually born in the United States. (His father Prince Mahidol Adulyadej was enrolled in the public health program at Harvard, and the future king was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts.)
During his reign he commanded great popular support, managing to be a source of continuity and stability as Thailand went through a series of military coups.
In total, his reign lasted 70 years, 126 days. As of this writing, Queen Elizabeth II has been on the throne for 70 years, 120 days. This means that a week from now Her Majesty will take the number two spot.
The all-time, number one longest ruler on record is Louis XIV, the “Sun King” of France, who reigned from May 14, 1643 until September 1, 1715, for a total of 72 years, 110 days. One of the reasons for his long reign was he started young, ascending to the throne at the ripe old age of five. He ruled autocratically, consolidating power, and getting involved in three major wars and an assortment of smaller ones. He also built the Palace at Versailles.
So there you have it, the three longest lived monarchs in history-except they’re not. They are the longest lived monarchs of sovereign states. A Wikipedia list of longest reigning monarchs also contains a list of monarchs of dependent or constituent states, states which existed (or sometimes still exist) within larger political units, such as the Holy Roman or British empires. . In this list, we find no less than sixteen monarchs who ruled longer than Louis XIV. At the top of the list, the longest reigning monarch of all time (that we know for certain) is Sobhuza II, King (or Paramount Chief if you will) of Swaziland, which was a British Protectorate until 1968. He ruled from December 10 1899 to August 21 1982. That’s 82 years and 254 days!
Just to add to the confusion there is another list, of monarchs whose time on their thrones is open to dispute, because of the difficulties of reconciling ancient dating systems with modern calendars. At the top of this list is Minthi, ruler of the Kingdom of Mrauk (Myanmar) for 95 years from 1279 to 1374, followed by Pepi II Neferkare, Pharaoh in the 6th Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of Egypt, at 94 years. His reign is believed to have started in 2278 BCE-4300 years ago.
One can’t help wondering how muddled our lists of monarchs will be in 6322 CE…
For the Wikipedia list of longest lived monarchs, click here. (It’s a long list.)