Queen Elizabeth's Coronation, courtesy A

Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation, June 2, 1953.  Courtesy Associated Press

Today Queen Elizabeth has been on the British throne longer than the former longest-throne-sitter, Queen Victoria, with over 23,226 days, 16 hours and about 30 minutes.

I know some people believe that the British Royal Family belong in the Rubbish Bin of History.  I don’t agree.

This particular Queen, in a word, has been, and continues to be, marvellous.

She lived through World War II when the Nazis dropped bombs on London, including Buckingham Palace, and she knows what war and privation are like.

She had the most wonderful mother, the Queen Mum, who helped Britain keep up its collective spirits through the war.

She lived through the dismantling of the British Empire which has allowed people to govern themselves in their own countries.

For almost her entire life she has gone around the country opening shopping malls, visiting schools and hospitals, and otherwise letting people know that she cares, and she’s done this more than any other British King or Queen in history.

At her advanced ago of almost 90, she’s still doing it, as when I saw her last year when she visited an English clothes manufacturer in a small Derbyshire village.

To put her reign in a U.S. context, she came onto the throne when Harry S. Truman was president, and she has outlasted 11 of his successors. (For more on this, see the wonderful Laurence Brown’s Lost in the Pond.)

Unfortunately, there’s no one of her stature in the next generation down, but her grandson William, wife Kate, and two children and one-on-the-way, will no doubt maintain the connection between the Royal Family and British citizens.

And that’s a Good Thing.