Her Majesty the Queen: the longest reigning monarch

On 9 September 2015, Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history. Only four other kings and queens in British history have reigned for 50 years or more: Victoria, George III, Henry III and Edward III.

For six decades, The Gazette has marked important milestones in the Queen’s family life and in her role as head of state.

21 April 1926

Birth of Princess Elizabeth (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary)

The Queen was the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York, and was born at Bruton Street in Mayfair, London. At the time, Elizabeth was third in line of succession to the throne (Gazette issue 33153).

22 August 1930

Birth of Elizabeth’s sister, Princess Margaret (Margaret Rose)

Margaret was educated at home with her sister. She went on to become patron of more than 80 organisations in her public role (Gazette issue 33636).

20 January 1936

Death of King George V, the Queen’s grandfather

‘On Monday night the twentieth of January instant, at five minutes to twelve o'clock, our late Most Gracious Sovereign King George the Fifth expired at Sandringham in the seventy-first year of His age, and the  twenty sixth of His Reign.’ (Gazette supplement 34245)

12 December 1936

Accession to the throne of the Queen's father, King George VI

The Queen’s father, King George, acceded to the throne in 1936 (Gazette issue 34356) after the abdication of her uncle, Edward VIII. The young Princesses Elizabeth, then age 11, and Margaret, age 5, attended the coronation of their father in May 1937.

20 November 1947

Marriage to Philip Mountbatten

Consent to a contract of matrimony was published on 29 July 1947 (Gazette supplement 38030). Elizabeth had turned 21 in April of that year.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were married in Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947, with 2,000 guests attending and millions listening to the service broadcast on the radio.

Elizabeth had collected clothing coupons for her wedding dress, which was made from ivory satin, with a bridal train embroidered in pearl, crystal and appliqué duchesse satin.

15 November 1948

Birth of Elizabeth’s first son, Prince Charles (Charles Philip Arthur George)

The Queen's eldest child and heir apparent to the throne on her accession, at the age of just 3 years.

(Gazette issue 38455)

15 August 1950

Birth of Princess Anne (Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise)

The only daughter of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. She received the title Princess Royal in June 1987.

(Gazette issue 38995)

6 February 1952

Accession to the throne of Queen Elizabeth II

Elizabeth received the news of her father's death, and her accession to the throne, while on a tour of Kenya. The young princess flew back to Britain as Queen. Elizabeth II was crowned on 2 June 1953, having ascended the throne on 6 February 1952 (Gazette issue 39458).

15 February 1952

Funeral of Elizabeth’s father, King George VI

‘When the Royal Coffin had been placed upon the Catafalque HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN, Her Majesty the Queen Mother, and the other Royal Mourners stood at the head of the Coffin.’ (Gazette supplement 39575)

27 February 1952

The first Investiture of the Queen's reign

This took place at Buckingham Palace, the first recipient Private William Speakman VC, ‘1st Battalion, The King's Own Scottish Borderers, in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Korea’, gazetted 28 December 1951 (Gazette supplement 39418).

2 June 1953

Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

For the last 900 years, the coronation of the sovereign has taken place at Westminster Abbey. The Coronation dress was made by Mr Norman Hartnell (KCVO) from white satin, embroidered with the emblems of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, and encrusted with seed pearls and crystals. There were 8,251 guests attending.

In May 1953, a collective licence was issued by the Queen to allow the broadcast of the ceremony on the day ‘in any place' (Gazette issue 39859), which was made in 44 languages, and watched by around 27 million people in Britain. The 1953 Coronation service was the first service to be televised (Gazette issue 39566).

17 November 1953

Ceremonial of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey

The ceremonial followed at Westminster Abbey, with the order of procession published in The Gazette

(Gazette issue 40020).

19 February 1960

Birth of Prince Andrew (Andrew Albert Christian Edward)

(Gazette issue 41961)

10 March 1964

Birth of Prince Edward (Edward Antony Richard Louis)

(Gazette issue 43268)


The Queen’s Silver Jubilee: 25 years

The 1977 Silver Jubilee and Birthday Honours were announced on 11 June 1977 to celebrate 25 years of the Queen’s reign (Gazette issue 47234).

21 June 1982

Birth of Prince William (William Arthur Philip Louis), the Queen’s first grandchild 

(Gazette issue 49027)

30 March 2002

Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, dies

‘The Queen, with the greatest sadness, has asked for the following announcement to be made immediately. Her beloved mother, Queen Elizabeth, died peacefully in Her sleep at 3.15 this afternoon, at Royal Lodge, Windsor’ (Gazette issue 56523)


The Queen’s Golden Jubilee: 50 years

The Queen visited 70 cities and towns in Britain, in 50 counties, over 38 days, from May to August. Honours were published in August 2002 with appointments to the Royal Victorian Order for services in connection with the Golden Jubilee (Gazette supplement 56654).


The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee: 60 years

A special supplement of The London Gazette details the addresses given by parliament and privileged bodies to the Queen to mark the 60-year celebration (Gazette issue 60160).

22 July 2013

Birth of Prince George (George Alexander Louis), the Queen's first great-grandchild

‘This afternoon, at 4:24 o’clock, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington. His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge was present. Her Royal Highness and her son are both well. This happy event will be commemorated by the firing of the Park and Tower Guns.’ (Gazette issue 60576)

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Image: Queen Elizabeth, February 1952. Mary Evans/Epic/PVDE