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Queen Elizabeth II sealed a special place in the Britain's history by becoming its longest-reigning monarch Wednesday, but amid warm tributes from politicians and the public, she said the landmark was not something to which she had ever aspired.Elizabeth, 89, surpasses the 63 years, seven months, two days, 16 hours and 23 minutes that her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria spent on the throne.Initially, Elizabeth did not intend to mark the event publicly at all, believing it represented little more than the fact that her father King George VI died early and that she herself has lived a long time.As a young princess, Elizabeth had not expected to become monarch as George VI only took the crown when his elder brother Edward VIII abdicated in 1936 to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.She was 25 when she ascended to the throne on Feb. 6, 1952, following George's death.Not only has Elizabeth reigned the longest but according to a poll in the Sunday Times this week, Britons also think she is the country's greatest monarch, ahead of her Tudor namesake Elizabeth I and Victoria, who was queen for much of the 19th century when Britain built up its empire.
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