Britain’s longest reigning monarch turns 91 years old on Friday. Queen Elizabeth II surpassed Queen Victoria as the country’s longest-serving queen in 2015 and became the only British royalty ever to celebrate her Sapphire Jubilee this year in February.
Elizabeth never expected to be the queen, but her life changed forever in 1936 when her uncle, Edward VII, abdicated the throne and his brother, Albert, became king, adopting for his reign the name George VI. Thus, Princess Elizabeth found herself first in line to the throne.
George VI died on Feb. 6, 1952, and being the heir to the throne, Elizabeth was announced queen at the age of 25. The formal proclamation of her reign as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was held on Feb. 8, 1952.
On her 91st birthday, here's a look at Britain’s longest-serving monarch’s top 5 quotes throughout her 65 years of monarchy:
1. "The world is not the most pleasant place. Eventually your parents leave you and nobody is going to go out of their way to protect you unconditionally. You need to learn to stand up for yourself and what you believe and sometimes, pardon my language, kick some ass."
2. "I know of no single formula for success. But over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together."
3. During the queen's 2008 Christmas address, she spoke about the importance of perseverance, even at the most challenging of times: “When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future."
4. In September 1997, following the fatal accident of Diana, Princess of Wales, the queen spoke to the crowds gathered to pay respect: “No one who knew Diana will ever forget her. Millions of others who never met her but felt they knew her, will remember her. I, for one, believe there are lessons to be drawn from her life and from the extraordinary and moving reaction to her death. I share in your determination to cherish her memory.”
5. "I don’t like to badmouth people. But I’m the head of a monarchy that began in the ninth century, and I’m apparently more modern than Chris Christie. Look, I know he has to appeal to the crazy right-wingers in his party, but the fact is, he’s not as forward-thinking as an eighty-seven-year-old lady who wears a crown on her head. It’s pathetic."