(Reuters) - POLITICS:
- The queen is the second-longest serving monarch. Only five other kings and queens in British history have reigned for 50 years or more:
� Victoria (63 years)
� George III (59 years)
� Henry III (56 years)
� Edward III (50 years)
� James VI of Scotland (James I of England) (58 years)
- The queen is the 40th monarch since William the Conqueror won the crown of England.
- Since 1952 The queen has given Royal Assent to more than 3,500 Acts of Parliament.
- Over her reign, she has given regular audiences to 12 Prime Ministers.
Winston Churchill 1951-55
Sir Anthony Eden 1955-57
Harold Macmillan 1957-63
Sir Alec Douglas-Home 1963-64
Harold Wilson 1964-70 and 1974-76
Edward Heath 1970-74
James Callaghan 1976-79
Margaret Thatcher 1979-90
John Major 1990-97
Tony Blair 1997-2007
Gordon Brown 2007-2010
David Cameron 2010-
- Tony Blair was the first Prime Minister to have been born during The queen’s reign. He was born in early May, 1953 - a month before the Coronation.
- The queen has attended every opening of Parliament except those in 1959 and 1963, when she was expecting Prince Andrew and Prince Edward respectively.
- There have been six Archbishops of Canterbury during The queen’s reign (Archbishops Geoffrey Fisher, Michael Ramsey, Donald Coggan, Robert Runcie, George Carey and Rowan Williams).
- There have been six Roman Catholic popes during the queen’s reign (Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, Benedict XVI).
- The queen has received two popes on visits to the UK (Pope John Paul II in 1982 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2010). Pope John Paul II’s visit in 1982 was the first Papal visit to the United Kingdom for over 450 years.
- The queen has officially visited the Vatican twice in her reign - in 1961 visiting Pope John XXIII and in 1980 visiting Pope John Paul II.
- The Queen is Head of State of 15 Commonwealth realms in addition to the United Kingdom. She is also Head of the Commonwealth itself, a voluntary association of 54 independent countries.
- In 60 years, the queen has undertaken 261 official overseas visits, including 78 state visits, to 116 different countries.
- Between 1954 and 1997 when it was de-commissioned, the royal yacht Britannia travelled more than a million miles on royal and official duties.
- The queen has visited Australia 18 times, Canada 22 times, Jamaica 6 times and New Zealand 10 times.
- The queen’s official visits have ranged from the Cocos Islands, 5.4 square miles with a population of 596, to The Peoples’ Republic of China, 3.7 million square miles with a population of 1.34 billion.
- Unusual live gifts given to the queen on foreign tours include: two tortoises given in the Seychelles in 1972; a seven-year-old bull elephant called “Jumbo” given to her by the president of Cameroon in 1972 to mark her silver wedding anniversary and two black beavers given to her after a visit to Canada.
- The only time the queen has had to interrupt an overseas tour was in 1974 during a tour of Australia and Indonesia. She was called back to Britain from Australia when a general election in the UK was suddenly called.
- The queen made a historic visit to the Republic of Ireland in May 2011, the first visit by a British monarch since Irish independence - King George V visited in 1911.
- In a daring gesture, the queen laid a wreath to those who died fighting the British crown. She also visited the scene of a massacre of 14 people by British forces. In a speech to the nation, she expressed sympathy to those who suffered during hundreds of years of conflict between the two neighbors.
- There have been only three Diamond Jubilees of Heads of State celebrated throughout the world during The Queen’s reign. King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand celebrated 60 years on the throne in 2006; the former Sultan of Johor (now a part of Malaysia) celebrated his in 1955; and the late Emperor Hirohito of Japan celebrated his in 1986.