Queen Elizabeth II becomes longest reigning monarch: Here are the key facts and events that show just how different 1952 and 2015 are

Elizabeth II is now Britain's longest-serving monarch (Source: Getty)

Queen Elizabeth II has become the longest-reigning monarch in the UK's history.

Today marks the 63rd year, seventh month and second day she has ruled over the country, beating her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.

Back when she ascended to the throne, the world was a very different place. The UK was at war (in Korea), tensions between the “free west” and USSR were high, Mousetrap was on stage in London's West End and the Conservatives, led by Winston Churchill, were in power.

Actually, thinking about it, not much has changed.

But some things were very different. The cost of a new home was just over £1,500, while London properties were a "toppy" £2,650. The height of technology was a jet airliner that flew non-stop between London and Johannesburg. And no one had ever heard the word selfie (let alone belfie).

Our infographic explores the differences – and similarities – between life in 1952 and life in 2015.

We've come a long way under Queen Elizabeth II.


It's when you get to the British Empire that things start to look very different.


Although many of the former colonies had gained their independence by 1952, the UK still had a hefty footprint in parts of Africa, as well as Asia and the Middle East.

Fast-forward to today, and that sun has set pretty much everywhere, with just a handful of islands remaining.

In 2015, there are 14 British overseas territories remaining: the British Indian Ocean Territory, Gibraltar, Bermuda, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory, St Helena and its dependencies (Ascension and Tristan da Cunha), Montserrat, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Anguilla, the Pitcairn Group of Islands, and the Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus. Most of what remains is illustrated below.

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