It went relatively unnoticed, but Queen Elizabeth II eclipsed the record set by her foremother, Empress of India and Queen of England, Victoria. Victoria’s record reign, which lasted from 1837 until her death in 1901, and which seemed like it would never be broken, was quietly eclipsed by Elizabeth II, who shows no signs of slowing down.
Victoria’s ascension to the throne was dramatic, even though England has never had the tradition that the monarch must be male. If the monarch has no son, the crown is inherited by the nearest collateral line, regardless of whether the heir is a man or a woman. Even though Victoria’s male relatives were alive and well – and they also had their own successors – as the monarch’s closest living relative, Victoria inherited the crown. Elizabeth II earned the crown as the King’s daughter, even though the King had brothers who in turn had a number of male successors.
But who could have guessed that her reign would last longer than Victoria’s? In 1952, it would have been hard to believe. Today it is much easier to believe, since her mother, who was also named Elizabeth, lived to the age of 101.
Long reigns are the trademark of a number of the forefathers of Elizabeth II. One of her forefathers was Peter August Friedrich, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, and Governor-General of Estonia. He ruled Estonia for nearly 50 years in the 18th century. Longer than Ivan Käbin. It is astonishing that Elizabeth II married Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, whose direct male line forefather was also Peter August Friedrich, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, and Governor-General of Estonia. Prince Philip is already 94 years old! It’s no wonder that the Queen expressed such a keen interest in visiting Tallinn; even though, as we all remember, the Queen suffered from severe back pain during her visit and underwent surgery after her trip to Estonia. As you can see, curiosity won out. From the window of the Three Sisters Hotel, in Tallinn, she saw what it was that her forefather, Peter August Friedrich, had ruled over here.
Estonia has been ruled by other relatives of the British royal family, which makes the historic connection between our countries a strong one. May God grant many years to Elizabeth II, our Queen!