split image Queen Elizabeth 2

Her Majesty Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth realms, has passed away aged 96 at Balmoral Castle on 8 September 2022.

In addition to being the oldest reigning queen ever, Elizabeth II was the longest-reigning queen ever. Her rule lasted for 70 years 214 days (6 February 1952 – 8 September 2022).

Both records were previously held by Elizabeth II’s great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria (1819-1901), who reigned for 63 years 216 days and lived to be 81 years 244 days old.

Queen Elizabeth II is succeeded by her son, King Charles III, who has been waiting in line to the throne for 70 years 214 days, making him the longest heir-apparent ever.

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

She became the heir presumptive at just 10 years old, following her grandfather’s death and the abdication of her uncle, King Edward VIII.

Elizabeth first met her future husband, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, in 1934. After a second meeting in 1937 and a third in 1939, 13-year-old Elizabeth developed a crush and they began exchanging letters. The royal couple tied the knot eight years later, on 20 November 1947.

On 6 February 1952, the 25-year-old princess became Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, after the death of her father, King George VI. 

Her official coronation took place on 2 June 1953.

The same year, the Queen and Prince Philip departed on a round-the-world tour, covering 13 countries and over 40,000 miles (64,000 km) in seven months.

During the tour, the newly-crowned queen attracted massive crowds wherever she went. It is estimated that 75% of Australia’s population caught a glimpse of her when she visited. Elizabeth II was the first reigning monarch of Australia and New Zealand to actually step foot in each country.

Over the course of her reign, the Queen completed many more tours of the Commonwealth, in addition to hundreds of state visits to other countries. She was one of the most widely travelled heads of state ever.

Queen Elizabeth 2 sitting on the throne

As the world's longest-reigning queen ever, Elizabeth presided over a time of many major political changes, such as the decolonisation of Africa, devolution in the United Kingdom, the creation of the European Union and the UK’s subsequent exit from it.

She celebrated her Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees in 1977, 2002 and 2012 respectively. In 2017 she became the first British monarch to celebrate a Sapphire Jubilee (65th anniversary) and her Platinum Jubilee in 2022 marked 70 years on the throne.

Queen Elizabeth II was also the world’s wealthiest queen. Her net worth was estimated to be £370 million ($427 million) by the 2022 Sunday Times Rich List.

As Head of the Commonwealth, her face appears on the coinage of at least 33 different countries, which is a record for the most currencies featuring the same individual.

Queen Elizabeth II at the opening of the 1956 Olympic equestrian events in Stockholm, Sweden. The remainder of the 1956 Olympic Games were held in Melbourne, Australia and were officially opened by Prince Philip.

The much-adored monarch also held the unique distinction of being the only person to ever open more than one Summer Olympic Games. Queen Elizabeth II opened the 1976 Montreal Games and 36 years later opened the 2012 London Olympics, earning her another record title for the most Summer Olympic Games opened by an individual.

During the course of her reign, she presented over 100 knighthoods and damehoods to sportspeople.

Elizabeth II’s marriage to Prince Philip lasted for over 73 years, until he passed away in 2021. Philip was the longest-serving consort of the British monarch ever, with a 69 year 62 day tenure.

The late royal couple are survived by their four children, eight grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.

Guinness World Records joins those from the UK and around the world in expressing our profound sadness at the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. As the longest-reigning queen ever, she was an inspiration and a constant in the lives of so many. She will be greatly missed by us all, and our thoughts are with the Royal Family at this time. - Alistair Richards, President of Guinness World Records

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