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Long to reign over us ...

This editorial was published in ROYALTY DIGEST QUARTERLY 1/2012

One cannot help but wonder how H.M. Queen Elizabeth II is able to stay so active and so diligent after 60 amazing years as sovereign. It is astonishing to see her and the Duke of Edinburgh go about their business, this Jubilee year even increasing their activities, as if they were still young! But they are not. Where others would have retired 25 or 30 years ago, they are still amazingly alert at 86 and 91 respectively. More power to them! The Queen is however not yet a record breaker. Her great-great-grandmother, Victoria Regina, reigned for 63 years and 7 months, and if we look around in other countries, we may come up with some rulers that have reigned as long or even longer:

73 years Grand Duke Karl Friedrich of Baden (first 7 years under regency)

72 years King Louis XIV of France (first 8 years under regency)

70 years Prince Johann II of Liechtenstein

68 years Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria

61 years King Nikola I of Montenegro (last 3 years in exile)

60 years King George III of England (last 9 years under regency)

59 years King Louis XV of France (first 8 years under regency)

58 years Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands (first 8 years under regency)

52 years King Haakon VII of Norway

48 years King Carol I of Romania

48 years Grand Duke Carl Alexander of Saxe-Weimar

46 years King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy

45 years King Alfonso XIII of Spain

45 years Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxemburg

43 years King Christian IX of Denmark

43 years King Gustav V of Sweden


Alfonso XIII, who was born a King in 1886, would certainly have had a chance to reach the top of this list, had he not been dethroned in 1931, and if Charlotte of Luxemburg had stayed on until she died, rather than abdicating, she would have reigned for a glorious 65 ½ years.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, who both ascended to the throne when relatively young, now stand a real chance to surpass their respective great-grandfathers’s reigning records.

Here is probably the magic and beauty of Monarchy as compared with a Republic. Presidents only last for 5 or 10 years – unless they fiddle about and become prime ministers for a while in between – whereas Kings and Queens go on forever! And when they eventually die, the succession is automatically taken care of …

Ted Rosvall

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