“Long to reign over us…”
The words of the national anthem aren’t wrong.
Queen Elizabeth II, now 95, has been on the throne for almost 70 years, making her the UK’s longest-reigning monarch.
And she took that title on this day six years ago.
Up until 9 September, 2015, the UK monarch with the most reign time had been Queen Victoria.
She had been queen for 63 years and 216 days between 20 June, 1837 and her death on 22 January, 1901.
Victoria succeeded to the throne when she was just 18 years old, seven years younger than Elizabeth II was when it was her turn.
Elizabeth became queen on 6 February, 1952, following the death of her father, King George VI.
She was in Kenya at the time of her father’s death and became the first sovereign in more than 200 years to accede while abroad.
Long has Elizabeth II reigned over us then - 69 years and counting - but will a future royal ever wear the crown for such an extended period again?
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The chances, in the near future at least, appear slim.
The current heir to the throne is the Queen’s firstborn, Charles, the Prince of Wales.
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However, should he succeed her, at the age of 72, he will not be king for anywhere near as length a period as his mother.
Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, is second in line to the throne, as Charles’ eldest child.
But the duke will turn 40 next year, meaning that any time he does have as future king is highly unlikely to match his grandmother’s tally.
And so we come to William’s children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
George, aged eight, is third in line to the throne as William’s eldest child, followed by Charlotte, six, who is fourth in line, and Louis, aged three, who is fifth.
In 2011, succession laws were changed so sons and daughters of British monarchs have equal rights to the throne, meaning an elder girl takes precedence over a younger brother.
But could the Cambridge princes or princess ever come close to emulating the Queen’s 69 years on the throne should they become monarch?
It’s not impossible, but it is difficult to foresee.
Should the Duke of Cambridge take the crown at some point, he could well have decades as king, meaning George, the next in line, might be a similar age to his father now before he took over. And that may not be enough time to stay on the throne for more than 60 years.
Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, William’s younger brother, is sixth in line to the throne.
His two children, Archie and Lilibet, are seventh and eighth in line respectively.
By virtue of being monarch for almost all of her adult life, Elizabeth II’s record looks very unlikely to be troubled during our lifetimes.
On 9 September, 2015, Elizabeth II took the longest-reigning monarch crown having been queen for 23,226 days.
She said at the time the title was “not one to which I have ever aspired”.
During a speech that day in the Scottish Borders, she said: “Inevitably, a long life can pass by many milestones - my own is no exception - but I thank you all and the many others at home and overseas for your touching messages of great kindness.”