It’s an exciting day for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth: today she became Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, passing the length of time served by her legendary great-great grandmother, Victoria. Elizabeth assumed the throne after the death of her father, George VI, in 1952, when she was 25 years old.
Naturally, Elizabeth takes on today’s events with the grace and humility which have prevailed over her long career, seeking not to “make a fuss” over it all. “Inevitably a long life can pass by many milestones – my own is no exception – but I thank you all and the many others at home and overseas for your touching messages of great kindness,” she said.
Per her itinerary today, Elizabeth and her husband of 67 years, Prince Philip, traveled by train from Edinburgh to Tweedbank to formerly open the new Scottish Borders Railway. In London, a fleet of historic vessels passed down the Thames and the HMS Belfast sounded a four-gun salute in her honor. The regular Commons meeting today was also postponed for a short time so that members could pay tribute to the Queen.
Elizabeth has had a long and productive career, reigning over three post-war generations and overseeing many cultural and institutional changes. When she married Philip in 1947, she paid for her wedding dress with ration coupons because of post-war shortages. She joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1940 at the age of 16, where she also maintained vehicles personally.
In addition to her humanitarian and governmental works, Elizabeth also keeps a purse with her full of good luck charms from her children; she has also owned more than 30 corgis during her reign. Her current dogs include corgis Holly and Willow and two dachshund-corgi mixes, Candy and Vulcan.
David Cameron described his service under Elizabeth as “truly humbling,” and acting Labour leader Harriet Harman said it was “no exaggeration” to say the Queen was “admired by billions of people all around the world”.