At 86, the Queen is the oldest in Forbes magazine’s list of 100.
Having played a starring role in her own Diamond Jubilee celebration and taken a turn as a Bond Girl in the space of a few months, the Queen’s profile has perhaps never been higher.
Yesterday she entrenched her position on the international stage by being named the 26th most powerful woman in the world.
The Jubilee celebrations helped her jump 23 places from last year, along with events such as her visit to Northern Ireland – which saw her shake hands with former IRA commander Martin McGuinness.
At 86, the Queen is the oldest woman on a list that represents leading figures in politics, technology, entertainment and philanthropy. There is no sign of the Duchess of Cambridge, who graced magazine covers across the world after her wedding to Prince William.
Instead, Kate, 29, is tipped by the magazine as a woman to watch over the coming year as she embarks on her charity work.
For the second year running, German Chancellor Angela Merkel tops the list, cited as the ‘lead player in the eurozone economic crisis’ and praised for embracing social media by answering citizens’ questions on YouTube.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff hold their second and third places respectively.
Clinton is planning to bow out of public life after the upcoming American elections in November, despite praise for her handling of the WikiLeaks diplomatic cables crisis, while Rousseff is enjoying approval rates of 77 per cent among Brazilians ahead of running for another term in 2014.
The women on the list were ranked according to influence, the amount of money they control or earn, and media presence.
Sonia Gandhi, president of the Indian National Congress, rises one place to number six in the list since last year, while U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama moves up from eight to seventh.
The list featured newcomers such as actress and performer Jennifer Lopez and the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs, Laurene Powell Jobs, a billionaire philanthropist.
Burmese pro-democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi rises from 26 to 19 in the 2012 Forbes rankings.
Leading figures from the media include Oprah Winfrey at 11, Diane Sawyer at 23, and British-born U.S. Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour at 51.
Celebrities such as singers Lady Gaga (ranked 14) and Shakira (number 40) are lauded for their charity work.
Notable exclusions from this year’s list include Republican politicians Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann after failed bids for the White House. In 2011 they were ranked 22 and 34 respectively.
Forbes said: ‘So many of these women are in policy or political roles, and their influence … is only growing so it’s not surprising that someone like Merkel or Clinton would continue to be present on the list year to year.’
FORBES’ FULL LIST OF TOP 100 MOST POWERFUL WOMEN IN THE WORLD
1 Angela Merkel, Chancellor, Germany, 58, Germany, Politics
2 Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, United States, 64, United States, Politics
3 Dilma Rousseff, President, Brazil, 64, Brazil, Politics
4 Melinda Gates, Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 48, United States, Humanitarian
5 Jill Abramson, Executive Editor, New York Times Co., 58, United States, Media
6 Sonia Gandhi, President, National Congress Party, India, 65, India, Politics
7 Michelle Obama, First Lady, United States, 48, United States, Politics
8 Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, 56, France, Humanitarian
9 Janet Napolitano, Secretary, US Department of Homeland Security, 54, United States, Politics
10 Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook, 42, United States, Technology
11 Oprah Winfrey, Entrepreneur and Personality, 58, United States, Celebrity
12 Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo, 56, United States, Business
13 Irene Rosenfeld, Chairman and CEO, Kraft Foods, 59, United States, Business
14 Lady Gaga, Musician and Philanthropist, 26, United States, Celebrity
15 Virginia Rometty, President and CEO, IBM, 54, United States, Technology
16 Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, President of Argentina, 59, Argentina, Politics
17 Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO, Xerox 53 United States Technology
18 Meg Whitman, CEO, Hewlett-Packard, 56, United States, Technology
19 Aung San Suu Kyi, Chair and Parliamentarian, National League for Democracy, Burma, 67, Burma, Politics
20 Maria das Graças Silva Foster, CEO, Petrobras-Petróleo Brasil, 58, Brazil, Business
21 Marissa Mayer, CEO, Yahoo, 37, United States, Technology
22 Anne Sweeney, Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks and President, Disney/ABC Television Group, Walt Disney, 54, United States, Media
23 Diane Sawyer, Anchor of World News, ABC, Walt Disney, 66, United States, Media
24 Angela Braly, CEO, WellPoint, 51, United States, Business
25 Susan Wojcicki, Senior Vice President, Google, 44, United States, Technology
26 Queen Elizabeth II, Monarch, United Kingdom, 86, United Kingdom, Politics
27 Julia Gillard, Prime Minister, Australia, 50, Australia, Politics
28 Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, United States, 72, United States, Politics
29 Arianna Huffington, Editor-In-Chief, Huffington Post Media Group, AOL, 62, United States, Media
30 Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister, Thailand, 45, Thailand, Politics
31 Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, US Department of Health and Human Service, 64, United States, Politics
32 Beyonce Knowles, Actress, Entrepreneur and Musician, 30, United States, Celebrity
33 Diane Von Furstenberg, Owner and Fashion Designer, Diane von Furstenberg Studio, L.P., 65, United States, Business
34 Helen Clark, Administrator, U.N. Development Programme, 62, New Zealand, Humanitarian
35 Georgina Rinehart, Executive Chairman, Hancock Prospecting, 58, Australia, Billionaire
36 Amy Pascal, Co-Chairman, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony, 54, United States, Media
37 Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization, 65, China, Humanitarian
38 Jennifer Lopez, Actress, Musician and Philanthropist, 43, United States, Celebrity
39 Sheri McCoy, CEO, Avon Products, 53, United States, Business
40 Shakira, Musician and Philanthropist, 35, Colombia, Celebrity
41 Mary Barra, Senior Vice President, Global Product Development, General Motors, 50, United States, Business
42 Zhang Xin & family, Co-founder and CEO, Soho China Ltd., 46, China, Business
43 Alice Walton, Chairman, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, 62, United States, Billionaire
44 Laura Lang, CEO, Time Inc., Time Warner, 56, United States, Media
45 Angela Ahrendts, CEO, Burberry Group, 52, United States, Business
46 Sue Naegle, President, HBO Entertainment, Time Warner Cable, 43, United States, Media
47 Ellen DeGeneres, Comedian, Personality and Philanthropist, 54, United States, Celebrity
48 Safra Catz, President, CFO, Oracle, 50, United States, Technology
49 Laurene Powell Jobs & family, Founder and Chair, Emerson Collective, 48, United States, Billionaire
50 Rosalind Brewer, President and CEO, Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart Stores, 49, United States, Business
51 Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief, Vogue, Conde Nast Publications, Inc., 62, United States, Media
52 Helene Gayle, President, CEO, CARE, 57, United States, Humanitarian
53 Christiane Amanpour, Chief International Correspondent, CNN, Time Warner, 54, United States, Media
54 Rosalia Mera, Investor and Philanthropist, 68, Spain, Billionaire
55 Cynthia Carroll, CEO, Anglo American, 55, United States, Business
56 Cher Wang, Co-founder and Chair, HTC, 53, Taiwan, Technology
57 Abigail Johnson, President, Fidelity Personal, Workplace and Institutional Services, Fidelity Investments, 50, United States, Business
58 Padmasree Warrior, Chief Technology and Strategy Officer, Cisco Systems, 51, India, Technology
59 Chanda Kochhar, Managing Director and CEO, ICICI Bank, 50, India, Business
60 Gail Kelly, CEO, Westpac Banking Group, 56, Australia, Business
61 Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner, US Food and Drug Administration, 57, United States, Politics
62 Ellen Kullman, Chairman and CEO, EI du Pont de Nemours, 56, United States, Business
63 Drew Gilpin, Faust President, Harvard University, 64, United States, Humanitarian
64 Shari Arison, Investor and Philanthropist, 54, Israel, Billionaire
65 Mary Schapiro, Chair, US Securities and Exchange Commission, 57, United States, Politics
66 Angelina Jolie, Actress and Philanthropist, 37, United States, Celebrity
67 Miuccia Prada, Owner and Fashion Designer, Prada, 63, Italy, Business
68 Carol Meyrowitz, CEO, TJX Cos, 58, United States, Business
69 Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, World Food Programme, United Nations, 55, United States, Humanitarian
70 Sue Gardner, Executive Director, WikiMedia Foundation, 45, Canada, Technology
71 Joyce Banda, President, Malawi, 62, Malawi, Politics
72 Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Managing Director, World Bank, 49, Indonesia, Humanitarian
73 Bonnie Hammer, Chairman, Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios, NBCUniversal, Comcast, 62, United States, Media
74 Koong Chua Sock, Koong Group CEO, SingTel, 53, Singapore, Technology
75 Sofia Vergara, Actress and Entrepreneur, 40, Colombia, Celebrity
76 Ho Ching, CEO, Temasek, 59, Singapore, Business
77 Tina Brown, Editor-in-Chief, The Daily Beast and Newsweek, IAC/InterActiveCorp., 58, United States, Media
78 J.K. Rowling, Author, 47, United Kingdom, Celebrity
79 Chan Laiwa & family, Philanthropist, 71, China, Billionaire
80 Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Founder, Chair, Biocon Ltd., 59, India, Technology
81 Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister of Finance, Nigeria, 58, Nigeria, Politics
82 Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President, Liberia, 73, Liberia, Politics
83 Gisele Bundchen, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist and Supermodel, 32, Brazil, Celebrity
84 Mary Meeker, Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, 51, United States, Technology
85 Shaikha Al-Bahar, CEO-Kuwait, National Bank of Kuwait, Business
86 Marjorie Scardino, CEO, Pearson, 65, United States, Media
87 Solina Chau, Director, Li Ka Shing Foundation, 50, Hong Kong, Humanitarian
88 Jan Fields, President, McDonald’s USA, McDonald’s, 57, United States, Business
89 Weili Dai, Co-founder, Marvell Technology Group, 50, United States, Technology
90 Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President, CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 57, United States, Humanitarian
91 Sun Yafang, Chair, Huawei Technologies, 56, China, Technology
92 Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of Foreign Trade, United Arab Emirates, 53, United Arab Emirates, Politics
93 Guler Sabanci, Chairman and Managing Director, Sabanci Holding, 57, Turkey, Business
94 Greta Van Susteren, Anchor, FOX News, News Corp, 58, United States, Media
95 Mary Callahan Erdoes, CEO, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, JPMorgan Chase, 45, United States, Business
96 Mindy Grossman, CEO, HSN, 54, United States, Media
97 Patricia Woertz, Chairman, CEO and President, Archer Daniels Midland, 59, United States, Business
98 Judith Rodin, President, Rockefeller Foundation, 67, United States, Humanitarian
99 Beth Brooke, Global Vice Chair – Public Policy, Ernst & Young, 53, United States, Business
100 Sheikha Mayassa Al Thani, Chair, Qatar Museums Authority, Qatar, 29, Qatar, Humanitarian