On December 22nd the Queen will have outlived
Queen Victoria, her great-great grandmother
Queen soon to be Britain's oldest monarch
By Andrew Pierce
The Queen will this week pass another milestone in her reign when she becomes the oldest monarch in the history of the nation.
On Saturday she will overtake Victoria, one of her most illustrious predecessors, but the event will pass without any fanfare at Buckingham Palace.
The Queen will spend the day at Windsor Castle with the Duke of Edinburgh. There will be no public pronouncements.
Victoria died on Jan 22, 1901, aged 81 years, seven months, four weeks and one day.
On Saturday, the Queen, who will be 82 on April 21, will have outlived her great-great-grandmother.
The longest serving King was George III, who was 81 years and 239 days when he died in 1820.
Peter Hennessy, the Attlee Professor of contemporary British History at Queen Mary, University of London, said: "Even allowing for the improvement in medicine since Victoria it is remarkable. I cannot think of any other head of an institution who has not put a foot wrong over such a long period of time.
"In those years she has presided over the most dignified withdrawal from the superpower status, which is no bad legacy. The way she has adapted, without succumbing to faddish fashions, is a gift of genius."
The Queen, the fourth longest-reigning monarch in 1,000 years of British history, will on March 5 next year overtake Henry III, who reigned for 56 years from 1216-1272. It will be 2012 before she overtakes George III, who served for 59 years from 1760-1820.
Queen Victoria remains the longest serving monarch. She ruled the empire for almost 64 years. If she is still on the throne on Sept 9, 2015, the Queen will take her place.
It would mean that the Prince of Wales, who is 60 on Nov 14, would be the oldest heir to succeed to the throne, passing William IV who was 64.
The Queen shows little sign of slowing down. There had been speculation that she would spend more time at Windsor when Paul Whybrew, her page - whose access to her is second only to the Duke of Edinburgh - moved from his grace-and-favour apartment in Kensington Palace to a cottage in Windsor Great Park last year.
She continues to carry out about 450 engagements each year and spends up to four nights a week at Buckingham Palace, which is known by the royals as the office, and three at Windsor Castle, her favourite home.
The Queen is the second longest-serving head of state in the world after King Bhumibol of Thailand. Her reign has seen 11 prime ministers, starting with Sir Winston Churchill.
The Queen's reign is littered with milestones. Last month, she became the first monarch to celebrate her diamond wedding anniversary. She is also the first to have a prime minister born during her reign.