God Save the Queen(s)

In this Diamond Jubilee year, it's perhaps fitting to reflect upon the reigns of both Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Victoria, England's two longest reigning monarchs. To date, Queen Elizabeth has been on the throne for 60 years and still has a few years to go before breaking the regal record held by Queen Victoria for a reign of 63 years and 7 months (and 2 days).

Naturally, all monarchs begin their reigns upon the death of their predecessor.  

Queen Elizabeth, her grandmother, Queen Mary and her mother, Queen Elizabeth,  the Queen Mother at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth's father, King George VI in February, 1952.

However, as is well known, Queen Victoria took her mourning upon the early death of her husband, Prince Albert, to a whole new level.

 The widowed Queen Victoria

To back up a bit, Victoria and her cousin Albert were married on February 10th, 1840, at the royal chapel of St. James, in London.

 Queen Elizabeth and her cousin, Prince Philip, were married on November 20, 1947 in Westminster Abbey, London.

Queen Victoria's uninterrupted mourning affected all aspects of her life, not the least of which was her fashion sense, as can be seen by the dress above, on display at the Costume Museum in Bath. Queen Victoria stood a mere five feet tall and, as the above dress will attest, seemingly enjoyed her food.

 In contrast, Queen Elizabeth stands at a comparatively statuesque 5' 4", eats a bit less and is known for wearing an often bright and always colourful wardrobe.

One thing that Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth have in common is their love for horses and horseback riding. Each began riding early in their lives and continued to ride as long as they were able. Queen Elizabeth is still in the saddle . . . . . 

Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee was marked by many celebrations, including, on 22 June 1897, a progress to St Paul's Cathedral, where a short service of thanksgiving was held outside the building, as the Queen was too lame to manage the steps. Thankfully, Queen Elizabeth is in fine health and a host of Jubilee celebrations will be held throughout the land over the coming months.

The Queen's 80th birthday portrait, taken in February 2006

Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Photo

Queen Elizabeth II's Official Diamond Jubilee Portrait

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