2012 was the 60th anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II and she held Diamond Jubilee celebrations to commemorate the landmark date. I blogged asking if any English monarchs had ruled longer – read on!
The answer, of course, is yes. Queen Victoria – queen of England and empress of India – chalked up an impressive 64 years from 1837 to 1901. Her reign saw the expansion of the British Empire, the creation of huge industrial cities and London’s population explode.
A few years before her reign was the 59 year stretch put in by George III – most famous for presiding over the loss of Britain’s American colonies. He reigned for 59 years – so Elizabeth has nudged past him in the last year.
But what about the Middle Ages? Well, there are two impressive English reigns – in terms of duration. Henry III dominated the 13th century, sitting on the throne from 1216 to 1272. He was nine when he became king and 65 when he died – which was a venerable age in those times. Henry built most of the Westminster Abbey you see today but wasn’t a particularly brilliant monarch.
His reign started inauspiciously with a coronation outside of London as the city had been taken by Louis of France in a daring invasion of England. Henry also had no crown as his predecessor, King John of Magna Carta fame, had managed to lose it fleeing the aforementioned Louis of France.
Edward III came to power in the wake of the crushing of the Templar Order in England and was in power from 1327 to 1377. A monarch with conservative aims – restoring the Angevin empire – he embarked on an aggressive policy towards his neighbours, Scotland and France. The end of his long reign was mired in corruption and a general torpor as he lost his faculties.