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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 December 2007, 14:09 GMT
In pictures: Queen Elizabeth II

The Duchess of York and Princess Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth II becomes the oldest British monarch on 20 December 2007 - surpassing Queen Victoria's 81 years, seven months and 29 days. She is held here by her mother in 1926.

King George VI, Princess Margaret, Princess Elizabeth and Queen Elizabeth

With the abdication of Edward VIII, his brother George - Elizabeth's father - unexpectedly became king. The new king is pictured with his wife and daughters at his coronation.

Princess Elizabeth and Shaun Plunket

Princess Elizabeth plays with the penguins at London Zoo in 1938.

Princess Elizabeth in uniform, 1944

Princess Elizabeth served with the Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War II.

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip

Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten marry in 1947.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh

The Queen and Prince Philip wave from the balcony of Buckingham Palace after her coronation in 1953.

The Queen, Prince Andrew and headmaster James Edwards

The Queen takes her son Prince Andrew to Heatherdown preparatory school in Berkshire for the first time in 1968.

The Queen and the Queen Mother

The Queen, who is very keen on horse racing, visits Royal Ascot with the Queen Mother in 1978.

President Reagan and the Queen on horseback

The Queen and US President Ronald Reagan go out riding in Windsor Home Park in June 1982.

Queen Elizabeth II

At the wedding of her son Prince Edward to Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999.

Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen attends the annual Chelsea Flower Show in 2006.


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