split image Queen Elizabeth

On the 6th of February 1952, Elizabeth II became Queen of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms.

Her Platinum Jubilee celebrates this historic 70th anniversary, five years after she became the first British monarch to celebrate a Sapphire Jubilee (65th anniversary). 

We’re celebrating this occasion in the only way we know how; by exploring her large collection of Guinness World Records titles. 

Longest-reigning queen

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born on 21 April 1926, third in the line of succession to the British throne, which belonged then to her grandfather, King George V.

Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne was an unexpected one. Although her grandfather was ageing, her uncle Edward was next in line, and he was likely to have children of his own.

In January 1936, King George V died and Edward became King Edward VIII. However, in the same year, he abdicated after standing by his controversial choice to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American socialite.

Thus, his younger brother was crowned King George VI in December, and 10-year-old Elizabeth was suddenly the heir presumptive.

At the age of 25, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II succeeded her father, following his death on 6 February 1952.

Queen Elizabeth during her coronation

Her official coronation took place a year later, on 2 June 1953.

In 2015 she became the longest-reigning queen ever, taking the record from her great, great grandmother Queen Victoria (1819-1901), who reigned for 63 years 216 days (20 June 1837-22 January 1901).

Queen Elizabeth II is not just the longest-reigning queen living, but also the longest-reigning monarch living

King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand previously held this title until his death in 2016. His rule of 70 years 126 days was the second longest reign of a sovereign state in history.

The longest-reigning monarch ever was King Louis XIV, who presided over France for 72 years 110 days (14 May 1643- 1 September 1715).

A contender for Louis' record is Pepi II Neferkare, the longest reigning pharoah

Based on the Turin Canon, a papyrus ledger of Ancient Egyptian rulers, Pepi II took power circa 2281 BCE at six years of age and reigned for around 94 years. However, the true length of his reign remains unverifiable and is disputed by some Egyptologists as being closer to 64 years.

Oldest Queen

At the age of 95 years 287 days, Queen Elizabeth II is both the oldest reigning queen and the oldest British monarch ever. Again, the previous record holder was Queen Victoria, who lived to be 81 years 244 days old.

Unsurprisingly, Elizabeth II is also the oldest current monarch. The record was held by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud (Saudi Arabia, b. 1 August 1924), until his death in 2015, aged 90.

The Queen has met many of her fellow Guinness World Records title holders over the years:

  • 1956 – Marilyn Monroe, whose "Happy birthday, Mr. President" dress became the most expensive dress sold at auction ($4.8 million; £3.9 million)
  • 1961 – John F. Kennedy, the youngest elected US president ever (43 years 236 days old)
  • 1969 – Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin, the first people on the Moon
  • 1983 – Frank Sinatra, receiver of the most Grammy nominations for Record of the Year (7)
  • 1991 – Nelson Mandela, who suffered the longest period of incarceration for a future head of state (27 years 188 days)
  • 2009 – Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the USA
  • 2019 – Donald Trump, who has the most viewed Wikipedia page for a person (male) (over 226 million views)

Old aged Queen Elizabeth laughing

Wealthiest Queen

The 2021 Sunday Times Rich List estimated the net worth of Queen Elizabeth II at £365 million ($495 million).

Her wealth has increased by £15 million ($20 million) since 2020. This was primarily due to the £10 million estate left behind by her late husband Prince Philip, the longest-serving consort of the British monarch (69 years 62 days).

As Head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II’s face appears on the coinage of at least 33 different countries, which is the most currencies featuring the same individual.

The current richest monarch overall is King Maha Vajiralongkorn (Rama X) of Thailand with an estimated personal wealth of at least £22.4 billion ($30 billion).

Most Summer Olympic Games opened by an individual 

Last, but certainly not least, is this esteemed accolade.

Queen Elizabeth II is the only individual to have officially opened the Summer Olympic Games more than once.

She opened the 1976 Montreal Games, and 36 years later opened the 2012 London Olympics.

Queen Elizabeth II has presented over 100 knighthoods and damehoods to sportspeople during the course of her reign.

The next Commonwealth country to host the Olympics will be Australia, in 2032. The Queen could put her record beyond reach should she still be around in 10 years time to open the Brisbane Games.

She would also be the longest-reigning monarch ever, a title that she could claim much earlier, on 28 May 2024.

Until then, we'll be eagerly anticipating her next visit to Guinness World Records headquarters!

Queen Elizabeth receives a copy of our 50th anniversary edition from GWR President Alistair Richards in 2005