Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Sapphire Jubilee

The queen becomes the first British monarch in history to reach the anniversary

 

Gun salutes have rung out across London to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II, making history by becoming the first British monarch to reach their Sapphire Jubilee.

It is 65 years to the day since the queen acceded to the throne following the death of her father, George VI, on February 6th, 1952.

The queen has spent the day privately at her Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, where the monarch spends her winter break.

However, in London, a 41-gun salute was fired by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery in Green Park at noon.

The Band of the Royal Artillery played a selection of celebratory music close to the firing position, and 89 horses pulled the six first World War-era 13-pounder field guns into position in the park.

The Honourable Artillery Company fired volleys at the Tower of London to mark the Sapphire Jubilee of the queen’s accession.

They fired a 62-round royal salute from Gun Wharf at 1pm - with an extra 21 volleys for the citizens of the City of London to show their loyalty to the monarch.

The queen was in good spirits on Sunday as she greeted well-wishers after attending a church service at St Peter & St Paul in West Newton, Norfolk.

The queen, who missed church over Christmas due to a heavy cold, will undoubtedly be matter-of-fact about the historic occasion.

In 2015, when she thanked the nation for their kind messages after overtaking Queen Victoria to become the longest-reigning monarch in British history, she admitted bluntly that the royal record was ”not one to which I have ever aspired.

”Inevitably, a long life can pass by many milestones. My own is no exception.”

Birthday

The queen celebrated her 90th birthday last year and had a busy schedule commemorating the occasion, with a walkabout, beacon-lighting and a black tie dinner for family and friends in Windsor on her actual birthday.

A weekend of national celebrations, including a party in The Mall, was held for her official birthday in June.

It is likely that any large-scale jubilee celebrations will be reserved for the Platinum Jubilee in 2022 - although any events will take into account the fact that the queen is due to turn 96 that year.

The Duke of Cambridge is about to become a full-time royal this summer and will increase his official duties on behalf of the queen.

PA