The longest to reign over us: Business as usual for the Queen as she surpasses Victoria but says it is not a record 'to which I have ever aspired'
- The Queen surpasses her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria to become Britain's longest reigning monarch
- Rather than mark the milestone with celebratory events, Her Majesty is carrying out official duties in Scotland
- The monarch was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh as she opened the new £294million Scottish Borders Railway
The Queen today surpasses the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria to become Britain's longest-reigning monarch. But rather than mark the historic day with high-profile celebrations, it is business as usual for Her Majesty as she carries out official duties in Scotland.
With Prince Philip by her side, the Queen was greeted by cheering crowds as she arrived in the village of Tweedbank to open the new £294million Scottish Borders Railway.
In a speech to hundreds of well-wishers, the monarch thanked supporters for their 'touching messages of great kindness' but said the 'milestone' was not one 'to which she has ever aspired'.
Earlier today, David Cameron led MPs in paying tribute to the Queen, comparing her reign to a 'golden thread running through three generations'. Meanwhile, Tower Bridge was lifted as the royal rowbarge Gloriana led a flotilla of boats down the River Thames in her honour.
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Gracious: The Queen spent time greeting well-wishers before delivering a speech to mark the opening of the new £294million railway
Touched: Speaking to the crowd at the station, the Queen, pictured in Tweedbank, thanked well-wishers for their messages of support
Excited: 18-month-old Gregor Bunyan clutches a Union flag as he sits on his father's shoulders at Newtongrange railway station
Before delivering speaking in Tweedbank, left, the royal couple stopped in Newtongrange, right, where crowds flocked to see them
Remembered: The Queen made no mention of Queen Victoria, but she was wearing her great-great grandmother's diamond bow brooch
Quiet moment: The Queen was seen speaking to the Duke of Edinburgh before she spoke at the opening at Tweedbank Station
Pause for thought: The Queen was seen looking out the window of the carriage as the train made its way through the Scottish Borders
The exact moment the Queen eclipses Queen Victoria's milestone is not known as there is no precise time for the death of the Queen's beloved father, George VI, who died in the early hours of February 6 1952.
But Buckingham Palace has calculated that at around 5.30pm the Queen will make history as she will have reigned for 23,226 days, 16 hours and roughly 30 minutes - a few minutes longer than Queen Victoria.
The Queen made no mention of Queen Victoria in her address today, but she was wearing her great-great grandmother's diamond bow brooch, which has been passed down through the generations.
The Queen began her day of official appearances with a visit to Edinburgh's Waverley Station, where she and the Duke of Edinburgh boarded a steam train bound for Tweedbank.
As the train pulled away from the station, the Queen was seen sitting next to Nicola Sturgeon at a linen-covered table. Her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, was sat opposite.
As the procession passed HMS Belfast, a four-gun salute sounded out and the Massey Shaw fireboat shot jets of water across the Thames
Tower Bridge was lifted in tribute to the Queen as the royal rowbarge Gloriana led a flotilla of boats down the River Thames in her honour
The vessels set off east from the bridge at midday, sounding their horns for one minute in recognition of her dedicated service
THE QUEEN'S SPEECH IN FULL
On their way to Tweedbank, the party stopped in Newtongrange, Midlothian, where hundreds of people who had gathered in the area around the small station cheered as the Queen and Duke stepped from the train.
The royal couple spent a few minutes chatting to well-wishers, many of them schoolchildren, before the Queen unveiled a plaque to mark the opening of the new station.
For the last leg of the journey to Tweedbank, the Queen, Prince Philip and the First Minister were joined by individuals who had a connection with the area's railway.
At Tweedbank, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon offered the Queen 'a simple but heartfelt thank you' for her work as monarch. Ms Sturgeon said: 'We are privileged ma'am that you have chosen to mark today's milestone here. All of us are delighted to be able to share some of this special day with you.
'For those watching from around the world let me say, on their behalf ma'am a simple but heartfelt thank you.'
Delivering her speech, the Queen said: 'Prince Philip and I are very grateful for the warmth of your welcome on this occasion.
Many, including you First Minister, have also kindly noted another significance attaching to today although it is not one to which I have ever aspired.
'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.'
The Queen will now return to Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, where she is currently spending her summer holiday.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron led MPs in paying tribute to the Queen in Parliament today.
Mr Cameron said it was 'truly humbling' to comprehend the scale of the Queen's public service, comparing her reign to a 'golden thread running through three post-war generations'.
Welcome: The Queen appeared in good spirits as she received a bouquet from a young girl on her arrival at Waverley Station, in Edinburgh
Applause: Crowds cheered as the monarch stepped out of her car at Waverley Station, where she was greeted by Nicola Sturgeon
Celebration: One-year-old Ashford Gardiner, centre, from Galashiels, is among those waiting at Tweedbank to greet the Queen later today
On the move: The Queen was accompanied on her journey by the Duke of Edinburgh and Nicola Sturgeon, pictured seated at a table
Mr Cameron prompted laughter in the Commons when he said: 'Whether it's something we suspect she enjoys, like the Highland Games, or something we suspect she might be slightly less keen on, such as spending new year's eve in the Millennium Dome, she never, ever falters.
'Her selfless sense of service and duty have earned her unparalleled respect and admiration not only in Britain but around the world.'
The Prime Minister announced earlier that the Cabinet have given the Queen a leather-bound copy of Cabinet papers from October 1952, shortly before her first opening of parliament.
Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman also paid tribute to the Queen in the Commons, saying there can be 'no doubt of the commitment that she has made and the public service she has given, and continues to give.'
She added: 'Her life has been a great sweep of British history - the Second World War, the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and she's presided over the transition from empire to Commonwealth.
Setting off: Waving to her loyal subjects, the Queen is seen looking out the window as the train leaves Waverley Station
Official duties: The Queen, who was seated at a table next to Nicola Sturgeon, leaned forward to look at those supporting her at the station
Reflection: The Queen, who was seated across the table from the Duke of Edinburgh, appeared deep in thought as the train pulled away
Guest: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, pictured greeting the Queen on the platform, is among those making the rail journey with the Queen
'It's entirely characteristic of her that she has let it be known that she doesn't want there to be a fuss about today, but we are making a fuss and deservedly so.'
The Queen's son the Duke of York, in a pre-recorded interview with the BBC, spoke of her consistency and leadership. 'It's a milestone in UK terms but as far as her consistency and leadership - it's the normal run of the mill sort of date. It's just one day in her reign,' he said.
'So yes it's an extraordinary achievement in some respects, but actually it's about the consistency and the leadership that she is showing and has shown throughout her reign that I think is probably the one thing that marks her up more than anything else.'
The bells of Westminster Abbey, where the Queen was married and crowned, today sounded out in tribute to the monarch. Bell-ringers rang a quarter peal for 50 minutes. The then Princess Elizabeth wed the Duke of Edinburgh at the Abbey in 1947, and was crowned there less than six years later.
Meanwhile, Tower Bridge was lifted in tribute to the Queen as the royal rowbarge Gloriana led a flotilla of boats down the River Thames in her honour. The vessels set off east from the bridge at midday, sounding their horns for one minute in recognition of her service.
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Dress up: Children from Busy Bees Nursery wait at Tweedbank station ahead of the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh
Princesses for a day: Hannah Walton, five, right, is one of a number of young girls waiting to greet the Queen at Tweedbank
Excitement: The Queen is expected to deliver a short speech when she arrives at Tweedbank, where crowds have already gathered
As the procession passed HMS Belfast, a four-gun salute sounded out and the Massey Shaw fireboat shot jets of water across the famous waterway. Smartly dressed Naval officers lined up up aboard HMS Portland, next to HMS Belfast, to salute the flotilla.
Among the boats was the Havengore, which was used to transport Sir Winston Churchill's body on the day of his state funeral in 1965, as well as the steam ship SS George Stephenson. Throughout the day, the message 'Long May She Reign' is being scrolled across the BT Tower in central London.
At St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, the monarch's favourite residence, prayers are being said to mark the historic day. Meanwhile, Buckingham Palace, Edinburgh's Palace of Holyroodhouse and Windsor Castle have unveiled special outdoor exhibitions of photos.
Long To Reign Over Us, which can be viewed by visitors to the palaces and castle, includes official portraits and images of the Queen from 1952 to the present day, such as Cecil Beaton's 1953 official Coronation Day portrait, as well as informal pictures of the monarch and her family.
A pipe band paraded through the station as the Queen arrived. She was greeted by Nicola Sturgeon before boarding the train
Celebration: A man shows his support in a jacket and hat printed with the Union flag. Right, a young girl wears tartan outside the station
Tour: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon took a look inside the cab of the steam train, Union of South Africa, before the journey
Royal welcome: Well-wishers outside the train station, where the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived this morning
Official duties: The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh boarded this steam train to alongside Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
In Windsor, a special walking route named The Queen's Walkway has been completed by the Outdoor Trust. The Walkway connects 63 points of interest such as the Henry VIII Gateway of the Castle and the Guildhall where the Prince of Wales married the Duchess of Cornwall in 2005.
It stretches for 6.37km to symbolically represent the 63 years and 7 months the Queen has reigned.
Sir John Major, one of the 12 prime ministers of Elizabeth II's reign so far, is among the high-profile figures who have paid tribute to the Queen today.
Describing the sovereign as an 'absolute constant' in British life, Sir John told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme: 'Throughout the last 60 or so years, the Queen has been an absolute constant.
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Mark of respect: The message 'Long May She Reign' scrolled across the top of the iconic BT tower in central London this morning
Even the lemurs at Drusillas Park, East Sussex, joined in the celebrations, holding Union flags in their enclosures
Buckingham Palace, pictured, and Windsor Castle have unveiled special outdoor exhibitions of photos from the Queen's reign
Long To Reign Over Us, includes official portraits and images of the Queen from 1952 to the present day, such as Cecil Beaton's 1953 official Coronation Day portrait, as well as informal pictures of the monarch and her family. Above, visitors at Buckingham Palace today
'Whilst prime ministers have come and gone, celebrities have come and gone, life has changed, she and the monarchy have been an absolute constant in their lives and I think that is very reassuring.'
Meanwhile in London, the Duchess of Cornwall described the Queen's reign as 'unbelievable' when she appeared on ITV's This Morning. The Duchess was on hand to help the broadcaster mark it's 60th anniversary.
Speaking to ITV News' Alastair Stewart, the Duchess of Cornwall said: 'I just can't believe it's as long as Queen Victoria...such a big person in history, you know, to beat that and you know, with such style.'
work: Meanwhile in London, the Duchess of Cornwall was seen leaving the ITV studios after an appearance on This Morning
Support: The Duchess of Cornwall, who looked elegant in a pale pink skirt suit, appeared on the show to mark ITV's 60th anniversary
Out and about: Anne, the Princess Royal, today made an appearance at Doncaster Racecourse while her brother Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, right, watched the action on day one of the Duke of York Young Champions Trophy at the Prince's Golf Club in Sandwich, Kent
Official engagement: The Duke of York and John George (right), General Manager of the Prince's Golf Club, watch play on the course
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