Today there are a thousand and one obituaries celebrating the life and times of Elizabeth II, the British queen who served longer than any other, and second-longest-tenured monarch in all of recorded human history. Elizabeth died yesterday at the age of 96, having sat on the British throne for more than seven decades.
Rather than dole out the same story offered by mainstream media outlets and those who actually knew her or who study British history, I’ll simply offer the following.
First, my best to Elizabeth’s family, and those thousands or millions of Britons who really did love her and treat her, well, like a queen.
Second, the answer to my cryptic lead. The longest-tenured monarch in all of recorded human history? That would be Louis XIV. He was King of France from 1643 to his death in 1715, a total of 26,407 days. Elizabeth ruled from 1952 until yesterday, her 25,782nd day on the job.
It is on the subject of employment that I offer my final bit of trivia. For 20 years or so I’ve been using this bit, that 1926 must have been some kind of magical year given the number of well-known persons born then who held on to their gigs way longer than anyone thought possible. I’ve written about it here probably half a dozen times, first with “Royal Birthday” from April 2016, when Britain’s then-queen turned 90 years old. I noted that she was the second of four such persons, the first being magazine mogul (among other things), Hugh Hefner. Funny to put those two in the same category. In addition to being born weeks apart, they both held their respective jobs for decades, and lived really well.
Castro was the first on the list to go, passing away at the end of 2016, three months after reaching the big 9-0 and about a thousand years after taking control of Cuba.
Hefner died a year later at age 91, and the queen made 96. (Honorable mentions in this category–Chuck Berry, Jerry Lewis, Don Rickles–all died in 2017 after doing their thing for decades. Sure, there are others–Mel Brooks and David Attenborough are still going–but we’re talking Mount Rushmore here.)
Last man standing?
That would be living legend Tony Bennett. He recently turned 96 and until last year was singing to sellout crowds wherever he went.
Technically Tony retired from performing in 2021, so I guess the last “man” standing honor goes to… Elizabeth II.
Oh, I guess this was a celebratory obituary after all.