Later today, on the 9th of September 2015, Queen Elizabeth II will become the longest-reigning monarch in British history. The record for longest reigning monarch was previously held by Queen Elizabeth’s great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. With an institution as old as the monarchy, this is another striking measure to add to the other memorable features of her reign.
The Queen will have reigned for 63 years and 7 months; which equates to 23,226 days, 16 hours and approximately 30mins at about 17:30 BST. Elizabeth has served the Commonwealth through the Cold War, the Space Age and the Internet Age. At her 21st birthday broadcast, Princess Elizabeth promised that “my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service”.
Business will be postponed by half an hour in the House of Commons to allow MPs to pay tribute to the Queen which will be led by Prime Minister David Cameron.
There will also be a River Thames procession between Tower Bridge and the Houses of Parliament, consisting of a flotilla of historic vessels, leisure cruisers and passenger boats. As a sign of respect the bridge will lift and HMS Belfast will sound a four-gun salute. The BT Tower in the centre of London is displaying the message “Long shall she reign”.
The Queen has let it be known that she does not want a fuss to be made today. It is viewed as bad form for one long-lived queen to be seen to be celebrating the passing of a record set by another long-lived queen. She will turn 90 next year, whereby celebrations are expected to be a much more outstanding event.
Today will be a normal working day for the Queen with no celebration. She will open the £293m Scottish Borders Railway today with the Duke of Edinburgh, then make a journey on a steam train with Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
The Queen is taking her summer break at her private Scottish home, Balmoral which was bought by Victoria.
Here are a few interesting facts about the Queen:
– She has launched 23 ships during her reign
– 12 Prime Ministers have served the Queen
– 56 Televised Christmas messages have been broadcast from the Queen
– In 1945 she learnt to drive
– She has sat through 129 portraits through her reign
– She has owned 30 corgis
– 0 passports have been held by the Queen, as they are all issued in her name