En español | As Groucho Marx once said, “Anyone can get old — all you have to do is to live long enough."
Aging well is another matter entirely, and that is a trick Queen Elizabeth II has mastered. At age 94, she is the longest-reigning monarch in British history, a fact that can't be attributed entirely to either genetics or privilege. Imperial decadence ruined the body mass and mobility of her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria, turning her into “a big round ball on wobbly legs,” according to contemporaries. The enormous strain of the monarchy contributed to the death of Elizabeth's father, George VI — pressures that continue to test each new member of the Windsor “firm” today.
All of which makes Elizabeth II's ability to run the monarchy since 1952 a royal anomaly. World famous since birth, she has worked harder than any of her predecessors — more than 40 hours a week in her 90th year — without the slightest reliable report of her collapsing under the stress, shirking her endless duties or losing her temper. I spent more than a year investigating the mystery of her resilience for my new book, Long Live the Queen; here are just a few of the secrets I discovered.