Elizabeth surpasses Victoria as longest-serving UK sovereign

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

File:Queen Elizabeth II August 2015.jpg
Queen Elizabeth on August 10.
Image: Mark Owens/Ministry of Defence.

Yesterday, Elizabeth II officially surpassed her great-great-grandmother Victoria, to become the longest-serving monarch of the United Kingdom.

Victoria was queen for much of the 19th century, with a grand total of 23,226 days, 16 hours, and 23 minutes. However, the precise moment in time when Elizabeth reached her milestone remains a mystery because it isn't known for certain exactly what time the Queen's father and predecessor, George VI, passed away.

The milestone was the subject of widespread praise from around the world including Kamalesh Sharma, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations, of which Elizabeth is ceremonial head. British Prime Minister David Cameron said that her reign was "truly humbling" and had been a "golden thread" for British society in the post-war era. He was joined by members of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

The occasion was also marked in London by a flotilla proceeding down the River Thames. Buckingham Palace unveiled photographs taken by Mary McCartney, daughter of musician Sir Paul, in which the Queen was sitting in the room where she meets the Prime Minister on a weekly basis.

However, the Queen was not present in London because she is currently on holiday in Scotland. She appeared to underplay the significance of the day, only briefly mentioning it whilst attending the opening of a restored railway line in the Scottish Borders region.

Accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip, and Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, she met crowds of admirers who had turned out in force to welcome her. The First Minister emphasised the Queen's "dedication, wisdom and exemplary sense of public service".