Queen Elizabeth II today (September 9, 2015) celebrates becoming Britain’s longest reigning monarch, surpassing her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria.
Her extraordinary life has seen her serve the Commonwealth through the Cold War, the Space Age and the onset of the internet age.
During her historic reign, The Queen has worked alongside 12 British Prime Ministers from Winston Churchill to the current UK Prime Minister David Cameron.
The UK Prime Minister David Cameron describes the Queen’s combination of ‘tradition and progress’ as defining the nation.
As the world pays tribute to her remarkable achievement, the Queen had planned to spend the day privately at Balmoral but later agreed to open the Scottish Borders Railway and travel from Edinburgh to Tweedbank.
She marked the evening by hosting a private dinner at Balmoral where her guests included her grandson and second in line to the throne – Prince William, his wife Catherine and their children George and Charlotte.
The Queen, 89, today has reigned for 63 years and 217 days and in this time has won the respect and admiration of millions of people around the world.
Among the many tributes paid to her, the Queen’s biographer David Starkey, described her many qualities as a woman who has earned respect, adding that she has “established a record of unimpeachable integrity.”
She has visited 116 countries on 265 official visits, including a particularly celebrated trip to Dublin in 2011, where she became the first British monarch to make the visit there for a century.
The Queen has visited Australia 16 times and her most recent visit in 2011 saw her stay for 11 days where crowds lined the street to catch a glimpse of her much like they did during her early tours in the 1950s.
In 1947, on her 21st birthday, she pledged during a radio broadcast that her “life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to the service of our great imperial family, to which we all belong”.
Four years later, young Elizabeth was crowned when her father King George VI died at age 56. At the time of his death from lung cancer, the Queen was married to Prince Philip and had two children Charles and Anne and later gave birth to Andrew and Edward.
The Queen will not abdicate in favour of her son Prince Charles, aged 66, as many European monarchs have done.