Dressed in turquoise with her trusty black handbag at her side, the Queen smiled and waved to those gathered at the Waverley Station on the day she passes the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria to board the new Borders Railway.
The occasion was marked by cheering, flag-waving crowds on the street, bells ringing out in Westminster Abbey and solemn messages in parliament but Elizabeth, who is also the nation’s oldest ever monarch, wanted little fuss.
Elizabeth came to the throne in 1952 upon the death of her father, King George VI. The photograph, by Mary McCartney, shows The Queen seated at her desk in her private audience room at Buckingham Palace in London, with one of her official red boxes which she has received nearly every day of her reign and contains important papers from government ministers in the United Kingdom and her Realms and from her representatives across the Commonwealth and beyond.
The queen and her husband, Prince Philip, conducted one public event, inaugurating a new train route along the Scottish border.
“But I thank you all, and the many others at home and overseas, for your touching messages of great kindness”.
In a short speech, the queen thanked her supporters for the “warmth of your welcome”.
The record of length of time on the throne can be calculated in different ways, but the Palace considers the total number of days plus hours and minutes to be the most accurate.
Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to the Queen in an address to the UK Parliament. She also suggested the Queen has maintained her popularity because she is “from an era when you work”, and she is very dedicated to her job.
“It is only right that today we should celebrate her extraordinary record, as well as the grace and dignity with which she serves our country”. “For those watching from around the world let me say, on their behalf ma’am a simple but heartfelt thank you”.
“A quick look through our picture archive and the images drawn from the many visits she made to South Wales over the past six decades illustrates that all too clearly”.
Today, the Queen becomes the longest-reigning British monarch.
The queen presided over a gradual decline in Britain’s global influence as many of its former colonies became independent, as well as a sharp rise in living standards and the advent of the digital age.
The rest of the royals carried on with their scheduled diary of engagements, with the Queen’s daughter-in-law the Duchess of Cornwall describing the milestone as “marvellous” on a tour of the studios of ITV show This Morning.
“It is of course typical of her selfless sense of service that she would have us treat this day just like any other”, he said.
Mark Watts, general manager at No Man’s Fort, said: ‘It’s incredible how long she has managed to keep her reign going but also how England has come back around to the feeling that we’re so proud of our monarchy’.