Who is the longest reigning monarch? How long was Queen Elizabeth II on the throne - UK history timeline

The Queen died at Balmoral Castle at 6.30pm on Thursday 8 September

Queen Elizabeth II has died aged 96-years-old at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

Tributes have poured in from around the world, with a period of national mourning set to culminate in a state funeral in 10 days time.

The Queen’s heir, Charles, has acceded the throne and will be known as King Charles III.

Her reign lasted more than seven decades, and she celebrated her Platinum Jubilee earlier in 2022.

So, where does this put her on the list of longest-reigning UK Kings and Queens?

The Queen has reigned for more than 70 years (image: AFP/Getty Images)

How long has the Queen reigned for?

The Queen acceded to the throne on 6 February 1952 after the death of her father, King George VI.

She was just 25-years-old at the time.

Her official coronation took place in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953.

It means she reigned for 70 years, seven months and one day - or almost 25,800 days in total.

During this time, she had 15 Prime Ministers serve under her, made almost 100 state visits across the globe and met key historical figures, including Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.

Who is the longest reigning monarch?

Queen Elizabeth II’s reign makes her the UK’s longest-reigning monarch by quite a margin.

Queen Victoria managed 63 years, seven months and two days - or 23,226 days overall - as head of state between 1837 and 1901.


In third place, you have King George III, who ruled between 1760 and 1820 for a period of 59 years, three months and two days.

At the other end of the scale, the monarchs with the shortest reigns are harder to judge given the changing make-up of rule in the British Isles, and poor record keeping in the period between Roman rule and the Norman Conquest.

If we were to take a post-1066 view of the monarchy, the shortest-serving Kings and Queens include:

  • Edward V: just 13 when he became monarch but was usurped by Richard III after only 70 to 80 days (the exact length of his reign is unknown).
  • King Edward VII: lasted 326 days in 1936 before abdicating
  • King Richard III: had 788 days (two years, one month and 27 days) between 1483 and 1485 before being killed by Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth
  • James II: took over from his brother Charles II but was ousted from power after 1,404 days (three years, 10 months and three days) by William III, also known as William of Orange, in what is known as the Glorious Revolution
  • Queen Mary: served for five years, three months and 29 days between the death of her brother Edward VI and her sister Elizabeth I.
Louis XIV of France is the longest ever reigning monarch (image: Getty Images)

How does Queen’s reign compare internationally?

While the Queen’s reign was the longest in the history of the British Isles, she did not attain the world record for a monarch’s time on the throne.

Louis XIV of France, who was known as the ‘Sun King’ and built the Palace of Versailles, is believed to hold the record with a reign lasting 72 years and 110 days between 1643 and 1715.