As of today, September 9, 2015, Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in Britain's history, passing her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, who sat on the throne for 63 years and 216 days.
The irony is that the longest reigning monarch was not even supposed to be queen. Born on April 21, 1926, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary is the eldest daughter of Prince Albert, Duke of York, the second son of King George V, and Elizabeth, Duchess of York. When her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated the throne to marry the American divorcee Wallis Simpson in 1936, her father was crowned King George VI and Elizabeth moved to the top of the line of succession. She became Queen at the age of 25 when her father passed away on February 6, 1952.
During her six decades on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II has watched her kingdom shrink in size from its days as a colonial empire, had 12 prime ministers (the first of whom was Sir Winston Churchill), and weathered the rapid changes of the 20th century. And through it all, she’s kept the promise she made during a speech she gave on her 21st birthday “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.” God save the Queen.