Royal notes on June 10

June 10 would have been Prince Philip’s 100th birthday. He fell two months short, somewhat like Bradman with his 99.94.

Queen Elizabeth II is now past her 95th birthday and is the longest-lived British monarch. It should be remembered that her mother (known in later years as Elizabeth, the Queen Mother) missed reaching 102 by a few months. As she lived from 1900 to 2002, she saw the entire 20th century.

After some years we can expect to hear this after a long gap:

As is well known the line of succession is Prince Charles followed by Prince William. But it does not follow that they would be known as Charles III or William V.

(Footnote: a line of succession running into several hundreds is on record. Prince Philip was about #220 on this list, by virtue of being a descendant of Queen Victoria)

Like the Pope, the monarch has some freedom in choosing his/her name. The tradition seems to be to choose from the set of given names.

Thus, the current heir apparent to the British throne, Charles, Prince of Wales, whose full name is Charles Philip Arthur George, may elect not to be known as “King Charles III” out of concern about comparisons with Charles II of England (who was known for his Catholic sympathies), Charles I of England (who was executed after the English Civil War) and the Jacobite “Young Pretender” Charles Edward Stuart (who claimed the title “Charles III”).

So he may choose to be Philip 1 or Arthur 1 or George VII. The earlier King Arthur is too far back to count. Perhaps he did not even exist.

Similarly, Prince William’s full name is William Arthur Philip Louis and he could choose any of these. Arthur, Philip and Louis would all be numbered 1, though William would be 5 (Queen Victoria’s predecessor was #4).

There has been talk that Prince Charles (b.1948) may choose not to become monarch, thus clearing the way for Prince William (b.1982). (And of course his mother may outlive him, as in the case of his grandfather George VI)

It would be nice to see a headline “King Charles III meets King Kim III in Pyongyang”. Though it may well be Queen Kim I:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Yo-jong

The importance of February 6

On February 6, 1952 King George VI died in London. His daughter Elizabeth, who was than on an official visit to Kenya ascended the throne (though the coronation took place over a year later). 69 years later, she is still going strong….

In 2021, Queen Elizabeth will turn 95, Prince Philip will turn 100 and their marriage will complete 74 years. They were married a few months after India’s independence.

Closer home, Feb 6, 1952 was the first day of the 5th Test between India and England at Madras. England led 1-0 at that point.

In those days there used to be a rest day after 3 days of play. However Feb 7 was made the rest day instead because of the King’s demise. The English players wore black armbands.

On Feb 10th (the 4th day of play) India won by an innings and 8 runs. This was India’s first Test victory and they drew the series 1-1. This was the only Test when England was captained by DB Carr, while Vijay Hazare was India’s captain.

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/england-tour-of-india-1951-52-61800/india-vs-england-5th-test-62729/full-scorecard

On February 6, 2021 another Test between India and England will be in progress at Chennai.

Important people born on Feb 6:

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1890)

Ronald Reagan (1911)

Eva Braun Hitler (1912)

Fred Trueman (1931)

Bob Marley (1945)

S Sreesanth (1983)

Important people who died on Feb 6:

Motilal Nehru (1931)

King George VI (1952)

Ritwik Ghatak (1976)

James Hadley Chase (1985)

Arthur Ashe (1993)

besides several football players of Manchester United in a plane crash in 1958.

The longest-lived US President and other obscure facts

On October 1, James Earl Carter Jr (born October 1, 1924) becomes the first US President to celebrate his 95th birthday. On March 22 this year he became the longest-living US President when he crossed the mark set by George Herbert Walker Bush.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Carter#Longevity

More about George Bush Sr here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_and_state_funeral_of_George_H._W._Bush

He passes one more landmark on October 17, when his marriage to Rosalynn will become the longest-lasting of Presidential unions. (See update at end). They were married on July 7, 1946. They will cross the record of 73+ years of George Bush Sr (again!) which ended with Barbara’s death on April 17, 2018.

However, Rosalynn Carter (born August 18, 1927) is now 92+ and has some time to go before she can overtake Bessie Truman (97, 1885-1982) as the longest-lived First Lady. She also has to overtake others such as “Lady Bird” Johnson (94), Betty Ford (93) and Nancy Reagan (94).

There are, however two Vice-Presidents who have lived longer than any President. They are Levi Morton (96, 1824-1920 and VP to Benjamin Harrison in 1889-93), John N Garner (98, 1868-1967, VP to Franklin Roosevelt in 1933-41). Walter Mondale (91+, VP to Carter in 1977-81) is still in the fray.

An interesting thought: If either Bernie Sanders (born 8 Sep, 1941) or Joseph Biden (20 Nov, 1942) succeeds in the 2020 elections,  the winner will be the oldest person to become President surpassing Ronald Reagan’s 73+ at the start of his second term in 1985. Donald Trump (born Jun 14, 1946) is so far the oldest to become President for the first time at 70+, just edging out Reagan’s accession in 1981.

Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth II (born April 21, 1926) continues to break longevity records as the longest-lived British monarch (93+) with the longest reign (67+ years). It only remains to be seen if Prince Philip (born 10 June, 1921) scores a century. They were married on 20 Nov 1947 and thus trail the Carters by 16 months.

As pointed out earlier here, Queen Elizabeth’s reign has seen 13 US presidents and 15 British PMs (including Harold Wilson twice). It is very likely that she will see the successors of the present incumbents.

Also: “Significant events have included her coronation in 1953 and the celebrations of her Silver, Golden, and Diamond Jubilees in 1977, 2002, and 2012, respectively. In 2017, she became the first British monarch to reach a Sapphire Jubilee. She is the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch as well as the world’s longest-serving female head of state, oldest living monarch, longest-reigning current monarch, and the oldest and longest-serving current head of state. ”

English cricket fans will remember major Ashes victories at home in the Coronation year (1953) as well as the Silver Jubilee (1977).

Update on Oct 18: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/10/18/politics/jimmy-rosalynn-carter-longest-married-presidential-couple-trnd/index.html?fbclid=IwAR0p1wv5QHBMvldYhpeLIOQyY1iZycCwu_pzGDWLMDeOph7pLxf8uEXmlhE

Long-lived leaders

With the election of 92-year old Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister of Malaysia, one has to look closely at the records to see if this is some kind of a new achievement. This is what Wikipedia has to say:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_state_leaders_by_age

The first table shows Mahathir as the oldest currently serving leader, at 92 years 308 days as of 22/05/2018. He is followed closely by Queen Elizabeth II (not elected, but still….) at 92/23. She is already the oldest British monarch and the one with the oldest reign (since Feb 6, 1952). It may be noted that her mother lived to be over 101. Prince Philip (96+, born June 1921) is currently the oldest consort of a British monarch. Queen Elizabeth’s mother ceased to be a consort in 1952, when she was 52.

There are a few lesser-known names in the top 10, apart from Emperor Akihito (94+, born Dec 1933). It was announced that he would abdicate in April 2019.

The second table deals with “10 oldest ever serving state leaders”. Prominent names here include Malawi’s Hastings Banda (96+ before being removed), Thailand’s Prem Tinsulanonda (also 96+ and still living), Robert Mugabe (93+ before being removed) and Mahathir at 92+.

The third table deals with the longest lived state leaders. Many lesser known persons here, headed by a PM of Cambodia who lived to be 103+.

The fourth table deals with the oldest state leader who is still living. The leader here is a former PM of Vietnam who is now 101+. Other better-known names here include Japan’s former PM Nakasone (almost 100), Perez de Cuellar (Secretary-General of the UN and later PM of Peru) at 98+ and Thailand’s Tinsulanonda at 97+.

Next it goes to youngest serving leaders (which include Kim Jong-Un at 35+, the King of Bhutan (38+) and Leo Varadkar (39+). Not Justin Trudeau who is 47+.

The youngest leaders at the time they took office are almost all royals, some of whom (like King Fuad of Egypt and King Gyanendra of Nepal) who became rulers when they were less than 5 years old. There is one representative from a family of dictators, “Baby Doc” Duvalier of Haiti who became President at 19+.

No representative from India? You have to search for other criteria. More later.