Queen Elizabeth II became Britain’s longest reigning monarch on Wednesday, 9th September 2015, a record set by her great-great grand-mother, Queen Victoria, who ruled for 63 years and 216 days.
The 89 year old monarch ascended the throne 63 years ago, following the death of her father, King George in 1952, after he failed to recover from a lung operation. Her reign has spanned 12 British prime ministers and dramatic changes in society.
The Queen who eschewed any formal celebration, marked the day in Scotland, by launching the opening of a new rail line, the longest to be built in the U.K. in more than a century.
The Queen, in a short speech thanked those around the world for their touching messages before declaring the border rail line open.
The speech read: “The Duke of Edinburgh and I are delighted to be back in the Borders today and especially to have arrived by train. It is wonderful to have witnessed the excitement which the return of the railway has brought here.
We are very grateful for the warmth of your welcome on this occasion. Many, including you, First Minister, have noted another significance attached to today. Although it’s not one to which I’ve aspired. A long life can pass many milestones. Mine is no exception.”
Meanwhile, Business in the House of Commons was postponed for about 30 minutes, so that the Prime Minister of Britain, David Cameron, could pay tribute to the Queen.
Cameron described her as a rock of stability and a reflection of selfless service.
He said, “While I rarely advocate disobeying her majesty, least of all in her own parliament, I do think it is right today we should stop and take a moment as a nation to mark this historic milestone and to thank her majesty for the extraordinary service she’s given to our country over more than six decades,”
“The queen is our queen and we could not be more proud of her. She has served this country with unerring grace, dignity and decency and long may she continue to do so.”
The Queen is due to have dinner with members of her family at Balmoral Castle, in Aberdeenshire where she spends summer. Some of those attending will include grandson Prince William and his wife Kate, the duchess of Cambridge.