- At the moment she broke the record, the Queen had been on the throne for 33,446,430 minutes.
- Her reign has included 56 Christmas messages, 62 Queen’s Speeches to parliament and 97 state visits.
- While Prince Charles travels with his own toilet seat, the Queen does not.
- She doesn’t need a passport to travel overseas – but every other member of the Royal Family does.
- The Queen’s skirts are weighed to avoid potential embarrassment during high winds.
When Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne in 1952, rationing from the Second World War had only recently been lifted; the British Empire still ruled large swathes of the globe; homosexuality was a crime; divorce, a stigma; premarital sex, the exception; ethnic minorities, a rarity; sport, mostly amateur; British food, mostly inedible.
Today’s Britain – where some London schools have kids speaking more than a hundred languages, where gay marriage is legal and footballers are paid more per week than the prime minister earns in a year – is like another country.
As 12 prime ministers and presidents came and went; as haircuts and hemlines got longer or shorter; and our faith in modernity gave way to anxiety about climate change, the queen has remained as steady as the chimes of Big Ben.
Today, blessed by rosy-cheeked grand-children and the longest period of peace in Britain’s long history, she is admired not just in Britain but around the world.