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Queen Elizabeth II Becomes The Longest-Reigning British Monarch: A Life In Pictures

As Queen Elizabeth II becomes Britain’s longest-reigning monarch after beating Queen Victoria’s record of 63 years and 216 days on the throne, we take a look at her reign in pictures.

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Princess Elizabeth was born at 2.40am on 21 April 1926. She was the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York, who became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. After King George VI died, his wife became Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

Central Press / Getty

King George and Queen Elizabeth with Princesses Elizabeth (centre) and Margaret and members of the extended royal family in full coronation regalia on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the coronation ceremony of King George VI on 12 May 1937.


Princess Elizabeth reading a book with her sister Margaret sitting by a window with a corgi called Jane in 1940 (left), and the two sisters acting together in a pantomime of Cinderella at Windsor Castle.

Princess Elizabeth writing at her desk in Windsor Castle in 1944 (left), and addressing an assembly of the Governors Court at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children as their president in her first solo engagement (right).

Fox Photos / Getty

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth with their two daughters in the royal box for the reopening of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, in 1946. They are watching a performance of Sleeping Beauty.

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at Buckingham Palace in 1947 shortly before their wedding. The princess is wearing her engagement ring for the first time.


Princess Elizabeth with Prince Charles in 1949 (left), and with her baby daughter Princess Anne in 1950 (right). Anne is wearing the royal christening robe, which is made of Honiton lace.

Hank Walker/The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty

Queen Elizabeth II greets dancers at a state dinner during a visit to New Delhi, India. She is dressed in a tiara and lace gown, embroidered with diamonds and pearls, that had belonged to Queen Mary.

PA Archive

The Queen sitting on a grassy bank with her corgis. She was at Virginia Water to watch competitors, including Prince Philip, in the Marathon of the European Driving Championship, part of the Royal Windsor Horse Show, in 1973.

Universal History Archive / Getty

Gerald Ford, the 38th president of the United States, dancing with Queen Elizabeth II at the ball at the White House, Washington, during the 1976 bicentennial celebrations of the Declaration of Independence.


Queen Elizabeth II laughing while taking shelter under an umbrella at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 1977 (left), and having a cup of tea while in Northern Ireland on a royal visit (right).

Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Charles and his fiancé, Lady Diana Spencer, at Buckingham Palace, in 1981 (right), and the couple kissing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London after their marriage.

Queen Elizabeth II keeps a close eye on a barn owl that landed close to her as she watched a flying display of birds of prey during a visit to the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 1995 (left), and watches proceedings at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 1992 (right).

Pa Photos / EMPICS Sports Photo Agency

The Queen encounters an old acquaintance during a visit to the Roman site of Vindolanda near Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland in 1999: a corgi bred by the Queen and owned by Lady Beaumont.

Ben Curtis / EMPICS Sports Photo Agency

The Queen and Prince Philip are shown the control room during a visit to Strathclyde Fire Brigade's new Command and Control Centre in Johnstone, near Glasgow, in 2001.

Queen Elizabeth II being shown the gardens being exhibited at the Chelsea Flower Show, London, in 2004 (left), and giving an audience at Buckingham Palace to Tony Blair, the then prime minister (right).

Andrew Milligan / PA Archive

Queen Elizabeth II watches a performance from the Royal Country Dance Society in the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh in 2013. She has been the society's patron since 1947.

Matt Tucker is the UK Picture Editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.

Contact Matthew Tucker at

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