BBC BLOGS - Newsnight: Michael Crick
« Previous | Main | Next »

Queen about to overtake George III

Michael Crick | 16:14 UK time, Wednesday, 20 April 2011

There has been much comment today about the fact that Prince Charles has just overtaken the future Edward VII to become the longest-ever serving heir to the throne in British history. He has been waiting to take the throne more than 59 years.

On 13 May, by my reckoning, we will see even more important royal milestone achieved.

Queen Elizabeth II will overtake George III to become the second longest-reigning monarch in British history.

George III reigned from 25 October 1760 to 29 January 1820 - which is 59 years and 96 days. Or more acurately he was king for 21,644 days (including 13 leap days).

The Queen succeeded to the throne on 6 February 1952 (and has lived through 14 leap days) will reach her 21,644th day in the job on 12 May, I calculate.

Queen Victoria was the longest serving British monarch. She reigned between 20 June 1837 and 22 January 1901 - a total of more than 63 years, or, I calculate, 23,222 days.


  • Comment number 1.

    'I, Calculate'

    Proud moment...s. Guessing the BBC Political Research Unit previously deployed are on a well earned? Or, post Barnsley Central, no longer in the mood?

  • Comment number 2.

    just how long are we going to continue this outdated farce about privilege class, and outdated tradition that every other country has confined to the dustbin of history....

  • Comment number 3.

    Well done sir. You've passed your special journalist's numeracy MOT. ;)

  • Comment number 4.

    Michael, as political journalistic instinct goes, this example is truly and utterly uncoachable.

  • Comment number 5.

    If you discount the Regency years, Brenda has done a far longer stint than poor old Farmer George.

  • Comment number 6.

    Monarchy= The squalid antithesis of democratic communalism. However I will make an exception for the next generation. They have made a creditable effort to give the impression that they are with us, what with rescue helicopters and Apache attack helicopters. I have to say though that it's all a bit comic book hero and not necessarily what the underprivileged majority will find themselves instantly identifying with.

  • Comment number 7.

    Ah yes, what shall we have instead? President Blair perhaps?

  • Comment number 8.

    I believe I'm right in saying that the Queen already holds the record for being the oldest monarch on the throne of our country.

  • Comment number 9.

    @7 No need for President Blair or Her majesty anyone. Replace the head of state with a council of three Guardians with the right of veto, elected by STV at the annual May elections.

    As a condition of standing, they resign party membership and renounce other political office permanently. No more Queen's Speech equivalents either: let governments announce their own planned misdeeds!

  • Comment number 10.

    The longest reigning English/Scottish and later British Monarch was James Francis Edward Stuart (de jure James III and VIII) who reigned for 64 years, 3 months and 16 days. His father, James II, lost the throne after his son in law William of Orange was offered it in conjunction with James' daughter, Mary, (by his first wife, Anne Hyde.) James II did not abdicate and William and Mary were usurpers. After the de facto Stuart monarchs were no more the throne was offered to George, Elector of Hanover (more's the pity)

  • Comment number 11.

    @10 ALL monarchs are usurpers, or descended from usurpers, or both. Despite haemophilia and porphyria, there is nothing special about royal blood, and the possessors of it defecate like the rest of us.

    As a freeborn human being, I owe allegiance no-one, although, should I choose to do so, I might have a few ancestral scores to settle.

    As for James II & VII, - he abdicated by running away - twice*: something his son and grandson also did. They all got people to die for them, but didn't have the decency to die with them. In Japan they would have committed seppuku to avoid the dishonour.

    *Hence James (père) was known by a very rude name in Ireland, which wouldn't get past the moderators:

  • Comment number 12.

    come the revolution....

  • Comment number 13.

    Dare I say that Prince Charles is the most deeply disliked heir apparent in modern times.

    No doubt, Prince Charles will relish his lazy option of Prince William to become King of England?

    Queen Elizabeth II has to be the most devoted and hard working Monarch in centuries. What a pity that some of her male children have let her, and Britain down so badly?

  • Comment number 14.

    Just a wee Easter heads up on matters... more acurately.

  • Comment number 15.

    # Stevie - you must be gutted after seeing the popularity of the Royal Wedding, and that the crowd cheered the Queen just as enthusiatically as they did Will and Kate. 'every other country has confined to the dustbin', what utter tosh. Please check your facts before you post. There are plenty of Royal Families around the world and many people who live in Republics are very jealous about our Royal Family - just look at the fuss the Americans have made about it, and an estimated worldwide audience of 2 billion. I think you are the outdated one and your views belong in the dustbin.

  • Comment number 16.

    @2 you said, "outdated tradition that every other country has confined to the dustbin of history"

    You mean we should follow those shining examples of modern democratic society Sweden and Denmark. Or the progressive Netherlands perhaps.

    Of course the Australians have opted out of monarchy - well, they would probably have opted out of monarchy if only they had liked the alternative. So our model will be the Canadians, then - nope, I'm not sure how well liked the Queen is in Quebec (though I believe her French to be good), but the rest of Canada. Still not a republic.

    And in Belgium at least they've got a Head of State whilst they wait for a government.

    One of my favourite "plus ça change" moments was the picture of once and future President Putin crossing himself at the state re-burial of the last of the Romanovs, though I don't think he was planning to re-instate the Tsars.

    Coming back to our own Royal Family, I will forgive them almost anything for the pleasure it gave me to know that Thatcher had to curtsey and call someone else "Maam".

  • Comment number 17.

    "13. At 17:20pm 23rd Apr 2011, Read Animal Farm wrote:
    Dare I say that Prince Charles is the most deeply disliked heir apparent in modern times."

    Compared to who? The previous heir apparent was Elizabeth and you would have to be at least 65 to have any memory of her as heir apparent.

  • Comment number 18.


    Well said, Andy. It would also be interesting to see if RAF's comment is mirrored in the nation or if it is indicative of something more personal.

  • Comment number 19.

    Chartered Out Professionals on Mandate.

  • Comment number 20.

    The Queen will actually overtake George III on Thursday 12th May 2011 because of the following reasons:
    1. The Queen ascended the throne before Leap Year's Day in 1952
    2. George III died before Leap Year's Day in 1820
    3. 1800 was not a Leap Year as it was not divisible by 400
    4. 2000 was a Leap Year as it was divisible by 400


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.