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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Longest Reigning Monarch, the 1897-1898 Maple Leaf Issue and Chicken or Turkey Taco Salad

As of today, Queen Elizabeth II will have ruled the United Kingdom longer than any of her predecessors.  Despite this, she does have two close contenders:

King George III: October 25, 1760 - January 29, 1820 - 59 years, 3 months and 4 days.

Full-length portrait in oils of a clean-shaven young George in eighteenth century dress: gold jacket and breeches, ermine cloak, powdered wig, white stockings, and buckled shoes.

Queen Victoria: June 20, 1837 - January 22, 1901: 63 years, 7 months and two days

Queen Victoria by Bassano.jpg

She has now ruled for 63 years, 7 months and 7 days, making her the longest serving monarch in the UK and possibly the entire world. Indeed it is doubtful that there will be another monarch that will rule that long, as the monarchy may not survive long enough for that to occur. She has been just as popular as George III and Victoria were, maybe even more popular.

She became queen suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 25, while she was visiting Kenya with her husband, Prince Philip. Her father was sick with lung cancer, but as far as Brittons were concerned he was on the mend - he'd had his left lung removed and was slowly gaining strength. He had accompanied her to the airport and waved at her as she took off. That was February 1, 1952. On February 5, he went hunting at his Sandringham estate, and by February 6, 1952 he was dead. 

She adapted to the role quickly and with grace. Her first major challenge was the Suez crisis of 1956 in which Nasser, Egypt's leader at the time, seized control of the Suez Canal and expelled British ships, which relied heavily on this route for trade. Her next major ones were the Falklands War in 1982 and the general strikes in 1983. Most of her challenges otherwise have been social in nature: the changes in attitudes towards the monarchy and what is acceptable have led to a large number of scandals within the Royal Family. This is mainly because the attitudes of the younger royals have changed in step with the general population, while the rules of decorum and her values have not. She has maintained her composure while the Empire that she inherited has largely disintegrated, and while some of its member nations, most notably Australia have called for the abolition of the Monarchy.

She will indeed be a tough act to follow.

I have started listing the Maple Leaf issue of 1897-1898. The first two values of this issue are shown below:

This issue is so called because of the maple leaves that are in the corners of the design. I believe that this is one of the most balanced and exquisite designs of the late Victorian era. It was short lived because of an outcry from French Canadians, who could not read the denominations. Because most households still used gas light at the time this issue was current, many of the values were difficult to distinguish. So the following year in 1898, the design was modified to replace the lower leaves by numerals. It is aptly called the Numeral Issue. 

I tried the Chicken Taco Salad yesterday and it was very tasty. The original recipe calls for turkey, but I believe that ground chicken works just as well. You will need:

1 can of kidney or pinto beans, rinsed.
1 16 oz jar of salsa plus 1 extra cup for serving
1 cup of chilled sour cream, stirred
1 can of sliced black olives
5-6 cups of shredded lettuce
1 large avocado, sliced
2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
3 cups of corn chips
1.5 pounds of ground chicken or turkey

This is an extremely easy meal to prepare. You start by taking 1 jar of the salsa and the ground chicken or turkey and placing it in the slow cooker on low for 5-6 hours. It will become really tender and tasty taco meat. 

When you are ready to eat, line a plate with some of the shredded lettuce, add a handful of corn chips, some of the taco meat and then some of all the other toppings and enjoy! It is like eating de-constructed tacos. 


  1. King Sobhuza II of Swaziland 1899 - 1982 (82 years 254 days)

    1. Thanks Dale! I never would have known. I'm glad to have learned something new.

    2. Thanks Dale! I never would have known. I'm glad to have learned something new.