Even if you've been systematically sequestering yourself from the news cycle and donning sunglasses—indoors—to avoid the barrage of mags at every check-out aisle from here to Timbuktu, you've probably still heard that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (AKA, Prince Will and Kate) are expecting their second child this April. Let's all raise a cup of tea to toast their crumpet in the cooker! (#Britishhumor)
While all this natal fanfare seems a little much—after all it's still avocado-sized at 16ish weeks and ya know, is just a baby and not the second coming of Christ (as far as I know)—I got to thinking about the impending future of this wee bundle. Namely, that's it's probably going to be Queen (or King) before anyone else currently presiding in the royal family.
Like her mother before her, there's a decent chance that Queen Elizabeth II will live past 100, giving her at least another 12 years on the throne. With modern medicine being what is it and with money being no object—you know royalty and all—she could theoretically live until she's 120. Prince Charles can dream big, but he's already 65. Princes William and Harry will probably miss their chance. I'm even betting that little tyke George will miss his chance.
Right, okay, I jest. I jest! While Prince Charles (who will be 66 next month) has likely missed his shot, the crown will (eventually . . . ) be passed down to Prince William (who is 32). Still, one can't help but wonder: what if the Queen does live to 120? If we compare her reign to the three longest, we notice a few things. First, the current Queen took the throne at an older age than the others. This makes her older than her previous long-lasting monarchs already—yet, she still holding on and shows few signs of slowing.
Also, there's significantly less drama surrounding her reign; no sketchy deaths occurred to give her this title, and she's merely a figurehead (instead of an actual politician). So, the lady is basically just partying in ostentatious hats and teapots all day. No wonder she's still so damn virile.
(If I were a betting woman, I'd be putting my money on the bun in the oven as the next monarch.)
How do the other longest reigns compare? Let's take a look.
Queen Elizabeth II
First things first: The Queen has officially been on the throne since 1953 (her reign began in February 1952, but she didn't have her coronation until June 1953). That's 62 years. Oh, and she wasn't, like, 12 or anything when she began her reign. The Queen was 25—an adult and mother. Yup, Prince Charles was born in 1948. Think about that for a moment. Poor Prince Charles has probably been secretly asking Santa for the crown for 62 years straight now.
Queen Victoria (1837 - 1901)
This was one fierce female. Victoria wasn't supposed to be queen, but the successors ahead of her all died. Needless to say the lady was a tad unprepared when she became queen at the ripe old age of 18, but despite that, she ruled well, often seeking the Prime Minister for guidance (in addition to as her husband/ first cousin, but let's not go there). Victoria's reign is referred to as "the Victorian era" (get it?) and while most people believe this was a time of being prude and boring (LOL!), it was actually pretty damn progressive: the Industrial Revolution—which is the great-great-grandaddy of your damn iPhone 6—shook up history and art just flourished; this era saw the dawn of the vibrator.
Total Reign Time: 63 years.
Likelihood that Queen Elizabeth II will beat this: I am betting my un-conceived first born child that lil' Lizzy will have this beat.
King George III (1760 - 1820)
You know that British bastard that our forefathers fought in the American Revolutionary War? That was King George III, who came into office at 22. This is the man who wanted America to be ruled by England forever and ever.
That wasn't the only time George acted like a bratty toddler screaming "MINE!" George happened to take over the throne during the Seven Years War, which basically was a catastrophe of powerful European countries fighting over territories.
This time however, George led England to victory. Unfortunately, George suffered from what (some) historians today speculate is bipolar disorder. His erratic behavior (including convulsions and strange speech) was deemed "mad" and many remember him solely for this.
Total Reign: 59 years
Queen Elizabeth has already got this beat.
King James VI* (1567 - 1625)
What better way to start a Saturday morning than a nice, tomato-y, Bloody Mary? Drink up some knowledge instead, bitches: your beloved hangover "cure" was named after Mary Queen of Scots, mother of King James VI.
Her lover allegedly had James' father—Lord Darnley—murdered. Mary abdicated shortly after, and baby James (who was just under a year old) became king. Though it was more of an honorary deal until he was 15 (so, 1581), James stood in as the figurehead forScotland.
He allied with Queen Elizabeth I of England, and inherited her position after her death in 1603. You likely know this man because he had the Bible revised, and it remains the version used today.
Total Reign: 57 years
Psssh, he's got nothing on her.
*Also called King James I of England, because he did both