She has lived longer than any of her predecessors, seen a dozen prime ministers come and go, and presided over six decades of British history — from war with Germany to the death of Princess Diana and terror attacks on London.
"You have to be a certain age to remember a time when she wasn't the queen," said royal historian and commentator Hugo Vickers.Now Queen Elizabeth II is set to become the longest reigning monarch in British history. On Wednesday, she beats the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria — 63 years and 7 months — more than a century ago. Only four other British kings and queens have reigned 50 years or more.
The only monarch most living Britons have ever known, Elizabeth has been the constant heart of British life since she came to the throne as a young woman aged 25.