Not many crowned monarchs get to mark four jubilees. In all of global history, only two have reigned for longer: Kings Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand and Louis XIV of France. On 12 June, Queen Elizabeth II will move up into second place, with only Louis XIV’s 72-year-and-110-day record to beat: she’ll have to make it to 27 May 2024 to do so.
Knowing that Louis became king when he was five and was succeeded by his great-grandson gives us some sense of how unusual her reign is.
In these 70 years, the Queen has been an anchor of continuity in a sea of change. Since 1952, the Empire has decolonised and Britain’s geopolitical power declined, the British welfare system was created and healthcare became free at the point of delivery.
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