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Queen all smiles as bells ring out to mark historic day

By Sara Neill

Published 10/09/2015

Queen Elizabeth II waves to the crowd as she arrives at Edinburgh's Waverley Station, on the day she becomes Britain's longest reigning monarch, before boarding a steam train to inaugurate the new £294 million Scottish Borders Railway. Picture date: Wednesday September 9, 2015. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA
Queen Elizabeth II waves to the crowd as she arrives at Edinburgh's Waverley Station, on the day she becomes Britain's longest reigning monarch, before boarding a steam train to inaugurate the new £294 million Scottish Borders Railway. Picture date: Wednesday September 9, 2015. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA
First Minister Peter Robinson and Finance Minister Arlene Foster pictured at an event in Parliament Buildings, Stormont on Wednesday evening to mark the record service. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
A lady waits at Tweedbank, ahead of the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, on the day she becomes Britain's longest reigning monarch, as the Royal couple travel by steam locomotive from Edinburgh's Waverley station to inaugurate the new ?294 million Scottish Borders Railway. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday September 9, 2015. See PA story ROYAL Reign. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II, on the day she becomes Britain's longest reigning monarch, waves from a carriage window at Edinburgh's Waverley Station, after boarding a steam train to inaugurate the new ?294 million Scottish Borders Railway. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday September 9, 2015. See PA story ROYAL Reign. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
The BT Tower in London scrolling the message "Long May She Reign" to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II becoming the longest reigning British monarch. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday September 9, 2015. See PA story ROYAL Reign. Photo credit should read: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire
The royal barge Gloriana in front of the Houses of Parliament, London, during a Royal River Salute to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II becoming the longest reigning British monarch. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday September 9, 2015. See PA story ROYAL Reign. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Crowds watch as a Royal River Salute sails under the Millennium Bridge in London to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II becoming the longest reigning British monarch. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday September 9, 2015. See PA story ROYAL Reign. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
A Royal River Salute in front of the skyline of London, as the procession navigates the river Thames to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II becoming the longest reigning British monarch. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday September 9, 2015. See PA story ROYAL Reign. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she arrives at Tweedbank, on the day she becomes Britain's longest reigning monarch, as she and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, travel by steam train to inaugurate the new ?294 million Scottish Borders Railway. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday September 9, 2015. See PA story ROYAL Reign. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Crowds gather to see Queen Elizabeth II at Newtongrange railway station, on the day she becomes Britain's longest reigning monarch, as she and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, travel by steam train to inaugurate the new ?294 million Scottish Borders Railway. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday September 9, 2015. See PA story ROYAL Reign. Photo credit should read: Ian Rutherford/PA Wire
Gregor Bunyan, 18 months, waits to see Queen Elizabeth II at Newtongrange railway station, on the day she becomes Britain's longest reigning monarch, as she and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, travel by steam train to inaugurate the new ?294 million Scottish Borders Railway. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday September 9, 2015. See PA story ROYAL Reign. Photo credit should read: Ian Rutherford/PA Wire
People watch from a house window as Queen Elizabeth II arrives at Newtongrange railway station, on the day she becomes Britain's longest reigning monarch, as she and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, travel by steam train to inaugurate the new ?294 million Scottish Borders Railway. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday September 9, 2015. See PA story ROYAL Reign. Photo credit should read: Ian Rutherford/PA Wire
A royal fan waves a Union flag outside Buckingham Palace in central London on September 9, 2015 on the day Britain's Queen Elizabeth II becomes Britain's longest reigning monarch. Britain celebrated Queen Elizabeth II becoming the country's longest-reigning monarch on Wednesday, a milestone the 89-year-old herself downplayed as "not one to which I have ever aspired." Elizabeth overtook Victoria at 1630 GMT, the best estimate from royal officials for the time at which the monarch, who has become synonymous with Britain itself, reaches the historic moment. She has served more than 23,226 days on the throne -- a reign spanning from the gloom of the post-war years to the digital age, with a few royal scandals causing blushes along the way. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Crowds gather to watch town crier Tony Appleton proclaims the record breaking reign of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II outside Buckingham Palace in central London at 1630 GMT on September 9, 2015 on the day the Queen becomes Britain's longest reigning monarch. Britain celebrated Queen Elizabeth II becoming the country's longest-reigning monarch on Wednesday, a milestone the 89-year-old herself downplayed as "not one to which I have ever aspired." Elizabeth overtook Victoria at 1630 GMT, the best estimate from royal officials for the time at which the monarch, who has become synonymous with Britain itself, reaches the historic moment. She has served more than 23,226 days on the throne -- a reign spanning from the gloom of the post-war years to the digital age, with a few royal scandals causing blushes along the way. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Crowds gather to watch town crier Tony Appleton proclaims the record breaking reign of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II outside Buckingham Palace in central London at 1630 GMT on September 9, 2015 on the day the Queen becomes Britain's longest reigning monarch. Britain celebrated Queen Elizabeth II becoming the country's longest-reigning monarch on Wednesday, a milestone the 89-year-old herself downplayed as "not one to which I have ever aspired." Elizabeth overtook Victoria at 1630 GMT, the best estimate from royal officials for the time at which the monarch, who has become synonymous with Britain itself, reaches the historic moment. She has served more than 23,226 days on the throne -- a reign spanning from the gloom of the post-war years to the digital age, with a few royal scandals causing blushes along the way. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
David Hinde, the Bridlington Town Crier, prepares to deliver a congratulatory proclamation to mark the day upon which Queen Elizabeth II becomes Britain's longest reigning Monarch in Bridlington, northern England on September 9, 2015. Britain celebrated Queen Elizabeth II becoming the country's longest-reigning monarch on Wednesday, a milestone the 89-year-old herself downplayed as like many in the life of an elderly person. It is not known where exactly she will be at 1630 GMT, the best estimate from royal officials for the time at which the monarch, who has become synonymous with Britain itself, reaches the historic moment. At that time, she will have served 23,226 days, 16 hours and roughly 30 minutes on the throne -- a reign spanning from the gloom of the post-war years to the digital age, with a few royal scandals causing blushes along the way. Hinde, who in 2013 became the loudest recorded town crier in the world, as measured by Cirrus Research, delivered his proclamation on behalf of the Bridlington Mayor, the Town Council and the people of Bridlington. AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFFOLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images
David Hinde, the Bridlington Town Crier, delivers a congratulatory proclamation to mark the day upon which Queen Elizabeth II becomes Britain's longest reigning Monarch in Bridlington, northern England on September 9, 2015. Britain celebrated Queen Elizabeth II becoming the country's longest-reigning monarch on Wednesday, a milestone the 89-year-old herself downplayed as like many in the life of an elderly person. It is not known where exactly she will be at 1630 GMT, the best estimate from royal officials for the time at which the monarch, who has become synonymous with Britain itself, reaches the historic moment. At that time, she will have served 23,226 days, 16 hours and roughly 30 minutes on the throne -- a reign spanning from the gloom of the post-war years to the digital age, with a few royal scandals causing blushes along the way. Hinde, who in 2013 became the loudest recorded town crier in the world, as measured by Cirrus Research, delivered his proclamation on behalf of the Bridlington Mayor, the Town Council and the people of Bridlington. AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFFOLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images
David Hinde, the Bridlington Town Crier, delivers a congratulatory proclamation to mark the day upon which Queen Elizabeth II becomes Britain's longest reigning Monarch in Bridlington, northern England on September 9, 2015. Britain celebrated Queen Elizabeth II becoming the country's longest-reigning monarch on Wednesday, a milestone the 89-year-old herself downplayed as like many in the life of an elderly person. It is not known where exactly she will be at 1630 GMT, the best estimate from royal officials for the time at which the monarch, who has become synonymous with Britain itself, reaches the historic moment. At that time, she will have served 23,226 days, 16 hours and roughly 30 minutes on the throne -- a reign spanning from the gloom of the post-war years to the digital age, with a few royal scandals causing blushes along the way. Hinde, who in 2013 became the loudest recorded town crier in the world, as measured by Cirrus Research, delivered his proclamation on behalf of the Bridlington Mayor, the Town Council and the people of Bridlington. AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFFOLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images
A band of pipers rehearse for a ceremony to be attended by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II at Tweedbank Station in Tweedbank on the Scottish Borders on September 9, 2015 to officially open the Borders Railway on the day that The Queen becomes Britain's longest-serving monarch. Britain celebrated Queen Elizabeth II becoming the country's longest-serving monarch with a flotilla down the River Thames, a gun salute and the peal of Westminster Abbey's bells. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images
Ceremonial archers rehearse for a ceremony to be attended by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II at Tweedbank Station in Tweedbank on the Scottish Borders on September 9, 2015 to officially open the Borders Railway on the day that The Queen becomes Britain's longest-serving monarch. Britain celebrated Queen Elizabeth II becoming the country's longest-serving monarch with a flotilla down the River Thames, a gun salute and the peal of Westminster Abbey's bells. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II talks with guests as she attends a ceremony at Tweedbank Station in Tweedbank on the Scottish Borders on September 9, 2015 to officially open the Borders Railway on the day that The Queen becomes Britain's longest-serving monarch. Britain celebrated Queen Elizabeth II becoming the country's longest-serving monarch with a flotilla down the River Thames, a gun salute and the peal of Westminster Abbey's bells. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II attends a ceremony at Tweedbank Station in Tweedbank on the Scottish Borders on September 9, 2015 to officially open the Borders Railway on the day that The Queen becomes Britain's longest-serving monarch. Britain celebrated Queen Elizabeth II becoming the country's longest-serving monarch with a flotilla down the River Thames, a gun salute and the peal of Westminster Abbey's bells. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II waves as she attends a ceremony at Tweedbank Station in Tweedbank on the Scottish Borders on September 9, 2015 to officially open the Borders Railway on the day The Queen becomes Britain's longest-serving monarch. Britain celebrated Queen Elizabeth II becoming the country's longest-serving monarch with a flotilla down the River Thames, a gun salute and the peal of Westminster Abbey's bells. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II gives an address at Tweedbank Station in Tweedbank on the Scottish Borders on September 9, 2015 during a ceremony to officially open the Borders Railway on the day The Queen becomes Britain's longest-serving monarch. Britain celebrated Queen Elizabeth II becoming the country's longest-serving monarch with a flotilla down the River Thames, a gun salute and the peal of Westminster Abbey's bells. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images
Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh attends a ceremony with Queen Elizabeth II at Tweedbank Station in Tweedbank on the Scottish Borders on September 9, 2015 to officially open the Borders Railway on the day that The Queen becomes Britain's longest-serving monarch. Britain celebrated Queen Elizabeth II becoming the country's longest-serving monarch with a flotilla down the River Thames, a gun salute and the peal of Westminster Abbey's bells. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II attends a ceremony at Tweedbank Station in Tweedbank on the Scottish Borders on September 9, 2015 to officially open the Borders Railway on the day that The Queen becomes Britain's longest-serving monarch. Britain celebrated Queen Elizabeth II becoming the country's longest-serving monarch with a flotilla down the River Thames, a gun salute and the peal of Westminster Abbey's bells. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (C) attends a ceremony at Tweedbank Station in Tweedbank on the Scottish Borders on September 9, 2015 to officially open the Borders Railway on the day that The Queen becomes Britain's longest-serving monarch. Britain celebrated Queen Elizabeth II becoming the country's longest-serving monarch with a flotilla down the River Thames, a gun salute and the peal of Westminster Abbey's bells. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) attends a ceremony at Tweedbank Station in Tweedbank on the Scottish Borders on September 9, 2015 to officially open the Borders Railway on the day that The Queen becomes Britain's longest-serving monarch. Britain celebrated Queen Elizabeth II becoming the country's longest-serving monarch with a flotilla down the River Thames, a gun salute and the peal of Westminster Abbey's bells. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images
A well-wisher wearing Union Flags on her head waits to greet Britain's Queen Elizabeth II at Tweedbank Station in Tweedbank on the Scottish Borders on September 9, 2015 where The Queen will officially open the Borders Railway on the day that she becomes Britain's longest-serving monarch. Britain celebrated Queen Elizabeth II becoming the country's longest-serving monarch with a flotilla down the River Thames, a gun salute and the peal of Westminster Abbey's bells. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images
The Royal Barge Gloriana leads a procession along the River Thames in front of Tower Bridge in London, on September 9, 2015 to pay tribute to Britain's Queen Elizabeth II becoming Britain's longest-reigning monarch. Britain celebrated Queen Elizabeth II becoming the country's longest-serving monarch with a flotilla down the River Thames, a gun salute and the peal of Westminster Abbey's bells. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALLBEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
A handout image obtained in London from Britain's Royal Mail on September 9, 2015, shows one of five stamps which the company are issuing to commemorate the historic landmark of Queen Elizabeth II becoming the longest reigning British monarch. The stamp (The Classic Machin definitive), which features the iconic profile of Queen Elizabeth II by sculptor Arnold Machin, has been in use on definitive stamps since 1967, and the purple version now replaces the red version for the period of one year. Westminster Abbey's bells will peal, a flotilla will sail down the River Thames and a gun salute will ring out on Wednesday as Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest-serving monarch in British history. AFP PHOTO/ROYAL MAIL/HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT " AFP PHOTO / ROYAL MAIL" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS -/AFP/Getty Images
EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 2301 GMT ON SEPTEMBER 8, 2015 A handout photo taken in July 2015 by Mary McCartney and released by Buckingham Palace on September 8, 2015, shows Britain's Queen Elizabeth as she poses for a photograph at her desk in her private audience room in Buckingham Palace, with one of her official red boxes in which she receives on an almost daily basis official correspondence from government ministers, her representatives across the Commonwealth, and dignitaries further afield. Queen Elizabeth II is planning to keep things low-key on September 9, 2015, when she will overtake Queen Victoria as Britain's longest-serving monarch, despite public interest in the historic date. According to calculations by royal officials, at around 1630 GMT Elizabeth will beat her great-great grandmother Victoria's time on the throne: a total of 63 years, seven months and two days which she served between 1837 and 1901. AFP PHOTO / MARY MCCARTNEY / HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE -- MANDATORY CREDIT " AFP PHOTO / MARY MCCARTNEY / HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II " -- NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS -- DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 2301 GMT ON SEPTEMBER 8, 2015 -- IMAGE FREE OF CHARGE FOR USE FROM ONE CALENDAR MONTH FROM OCTOBER 9, 2015. FURTHER USE, ON OR AFTER OCTOBER 7, 2015 MUST BE APPROVED IN ADVANCE FROM THE ROYAL COMMUNICATIONS AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE +44 20 7930 4832HO/AFP/Getty Images
A Royal River Salute of boats passes the Houses of Parliament, to mark Britain's Queen Elizabeth II becoming the longest reigning monarch in British history, in London, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015. The Queen has on Wednesday become the longest ever reigning monarch in British history surpassing Queen Victoria who served for 63 years and seven months. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
TWEEDBANK, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 9: Queen Elizabeth II travels on a steam train to inaugurate the new ?294 million Scottish Borders Railway, on the day the Queen becomes Britain's longest reigning monarch, on September 9, 2015 in Tweedbank, England. (Photo by Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
TWEEDBANK, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 9: Queen Elizabeth II travels on a steam train to inaugurate the new ?294 million Scottish Borders Railway, on the day the Queen becomes Britain's longest reigning monarch, on September 9, 2015 in Tweedbank, England. (Photo by Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Plates commemorating Queen Elizabeth II becoming the longest serving monarch on September 9, 2015 in London, England. Today, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria's record by one day. The Queen has reigned for a total of 63 years and 217 days. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Police bkes drive past Buckingham Palace on September 9, 2015 in London, England. Today, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria's record by one day. The Queen has reigned for a total of 63 years and 217 days. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)
TWEEDBANK, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh look on at the opening of the Borders Railway at Tweedbank Station on September 9, 2015 in Tweedbank, Scotland. Today, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria's record by one day. The Queen has reigned for a total of 63 years and 217 days. Accompanied by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, she will officially open the new Scottish Border's Railway which runs from the capital to Tweedbank. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
TWEEDBANK, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Scottish flags and Union Jacks are waved at the opening of the Borders Railway at Tweedbank Station on September 9, 2015 in Tweedbank, Scotland. Today, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria's record by one day. The Queen has reigned for a total of 63 years and 217 days. Accompanied by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, she will officially open the new Scottish Border's Railway which runs from the capital to Tweedbank. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
TWEEDBANK, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Queen Elizabeth II and First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon at the opening of the Borders Railway at Tweedbank Station on September 9, 2015 in Tweedbank, Scotland. Today, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria's record by one day. The Queen has reigned for a total of 63 years and 217 days. Accompanied by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, she will officially open the new Scottish Border's Railway which runs from the capital to Tweedbank. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
TWEEDBANK, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon attends the opening of the Borders Railway at Tweedbank Station on September 9, 2015 in Tweedbank, Scotland. Today, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria's record by one day. The Queen has reigned for a total of 63 years and 217 days. Accompanied by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, she will officially open the new Scottish Border's Railway which runs from the capital to Tweedbank. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
TWEEDBANK, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she arrives at Tweedbank Station on September 9, 2015 in Tweedbank, Scotland. Today, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria's record by one day. The Queen has reigned for a total of 63 years and 217 days. Accompanied by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, she will officially open the new Scottish Border's Railway which runs from the capital to Tweedbank. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
TWEEDBANK, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Queen Elizabeth II walks past ceremonial archers as she arrives at Tweedbank Station on September 9, 2015 in Tweedbank, Scotland. Today, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria's record by one day. The Queen has reigned for a total of 63 years and 217 days. Accompanied by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, she will officially open the new Scottish Border's Railway which runs from the capital to Tweedbank. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
TWEEDBANK, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she arrives at Tweedbank Station on September 9, 2015 in Tweedbank, Scotland. Today, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria's record by one day. The Queen has reigned for a total of 63 years and 217 days. Accompanied by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, she will officially open the new Scottish Border's Railway which runs from the capital to Tweedbank. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 09: King Felipe VI of Spain and Queen Letizia of Spain (C) visit the Constitutional Court in occasion of his 35th anniversary on September 9, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)
NEWTONGRANGE, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Queen Elizabeth II opens Newtongrange Station after arriving on the steam locomotive the Union of South Africa on September 9, 2015 in Newtongrange , Scotland.Today, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victorias record by one day. The Queen has reigned for a total of 63 years and 217 days. Accompanied by her husband The Duke of Edinburgh, she has today opened the new Scottish Borders Railway. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: The Royal Barge Gloriana leads a procession along the River Thames near Tower Bridge and HMS Belfast to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II becoming Britain's longest reigning monarch on September 9, 2015 in London, England. The Queen will have served for 63 years and seven months - 23,226 days - by around 5.30pm today surpassing her great-grandmother Queen Victoria to become Britain's longest ever reigning monarch. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
NEWTONGRANGE, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh open Newtongrange Station following arriving on the steam locomotive the Union of South Africa on September 9, 2015 in Newtongrange , Scotland.Today, Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victorias record by one day. The Queen has reigned for a total of 63 years and 217 days. Accompanied by her husband The Duke of Edinburgh, she has today opened the new Scottish Borders Railway. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
NETWONGRANGE, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Members of the public gather as Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh open Newtongrange Station following arriving on the steam locomotive the Union of South Africa on September 9, 2015 in Newtongrange , Scotland.Today, Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victorias record by one day. Queen Elizabeth II has reigned for a total of 63 years and 217 days. Accompanied by her husband The Duke of Edinburgh, she has today opened the new Scottish Borders Railway. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
NETWONGRANGE, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Members of the public gather as Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh open Newtongrange Station following arriving on the steam locomotive the Union of South Africa on September 9, 2015 in Newtongrange , Scotland.Today, Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victorias record by one day. Queen Elizabeth II has reigned for a total of 63 years and 217 days. Accompanied by her husband The Duke of Edinburgh, she has today opened the new Scottish Borders Railway. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
NEWTONGRANGE, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Queen Elizabeth II arrives to greets well-wishers before she unveils a commemorative plaque at Newtongrange railway station on board the steam locomotive 'Union of South Africa' on the day she becomes Britain's longest reigning monarch on September 09, 2015 in Newtongrange, Scotland. Today, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria's record by one day. The Queen has reigned for a total of 63 years and 217 days. Accompanied by her husband and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon she will officially open the new Scottish Border's Railway which runs from the capital to Tweedbank. (Photo by Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Scotraill staff wait to catch a glimpse of Queen Elizabeth II at Waverley Station before boarding the steam locomotive 'Union of South Africa' on September 9, 2015 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Today, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria's record by one day. The Queen has reigned for a total of 63 years and 217 days. Accompanied by her husband The Duke of Edinburgh, she has today opened the new Scottish Border's Railway. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: A drummer in the pipe band plays as crowds wait to catcha glimpse of Queen Elizabeth II at Waverley Station before boarding the steam locomotive 'Union of South Africa' on September 9, 2015 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Today, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria's record by one day. The Queen has reigned for a total of 63 years and 217 days. Accompanied by her husband The Duke of Edinburgh, she has today opened the new Scottish Border's Railway. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
NEWTONGRANGE, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Queen Elizabeth II arrives to greets well-wishers before she unveils a commemorative plaque at Newtongrange railway station on board the steam locomotive 'Union of South Africa' on the day she becomes Britain's longest reigning monarch on September 09, 2015 in Newtongrange, Scotland. Today, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria's record by one day. The Queen has reigned for a total of 63 years and 217 days. Accompanied by her husband and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon she will officially open the new Scottish Border's Railway which runs from the capital to Tweedbank. (Photo by Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: The Royal Barge Gloriana leads a procession along the River Thames near Tower Bridge and HMS Belfast to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II becoming Britain's longest reigning monarch on September 9, 2015 in London, England. The Queen will have served for 63 years and seven months - 23,226 days - by around 5.30pm today surpassing her great-grandmother Queen Victoria to become Britain's longest ever reigning monarch. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on board the steam locomotive 'Union of South Africa' on the day she becomes Britain's longest reigning monarch on September 09, 2015 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Today, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria's record by one day. The Queen has reigned for a total of 63 years and 217 days. Accompanied by her husband and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon she will officially open the new Scottish Border's Railway which runs from the capital to Tweedbank. (Photo by Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Emily Smith is seen at Waverley Station ahead of the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II on September 09, 2015 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Today, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria's record by one day. The Queen has reigned for a total of 63 years and 217 days. Accompanied by her husband and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon she will officially open the new Scottish Border's Railway which runs from the capital to Tweedbank. (Photo by Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The National Anthem rang out at St Anne's Cathedral as Belfast marked the day the Queen became the longest-serving monarch in British history.

A special service started at 5.30pm, the exact moment when Queen Elizabeth II overtook the record previously held by her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, who was Head of State for 63 years and 216 days.

While the monarch was determined to keep it business as usual on the momentous day, those attending the city centre choral evensong joined the choir in a rousing rendition of I Vow To Thee My Country in her honour.

A special prayer was also said at the service, giving "heartfelt thanks" for her service. It was drafted by the Church of England's Liturgical Commission and approved by the Buckingham Palace, and was read at churches across the UK.

Dr Neil Watt and his friend Kyle Leyden travelled from Cookstown, Co Tyrone, to St Anne's to celebrate the day.

Mr Leyden said: "I think it was important to mark this occasion, even if it was only by sitting in a nice building and listening to nice music. We will never see this again in our lifetime."

Dr Watt added: "I think (historian) David Starkey's comments that the Queen has "done and said nothing that anybody will remember" are very unfair. Through tempestuous times, she's been a great support and constant."

Cynthia Diver, who is originally from Londonderry but now lives in Oxfordshire, was keen to mark the event with her friends while visiting Belfast.

She explained: "We phoned St Anne's specially to see if they were having a ceremony. I think the service was very nice, and it's very important to celebrate the Queen's reign. She's done a very good job."

Members of the DUP were also present at the service, with councillor Christopher Stalford adding it was a chance to say thank you to the Queen.

"She has been a wonderful, exemplary monarch, who's carried out her faithful duties with style, elegence and friendliness. She's a great ambassador," he commented.

Party colleague William Humphrey MLA felt an added responsibility to attend the service at St Anne's.

He said: "It was especially important for me to be here, because I'm a former High Sheriff of Belfast and that's the Queen's representative on the council. I'm also a Scout, and the Queen is a patron of that organisation."

Lord Lieutenant of Belfast, Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle, said: "It's great to celebrate this very historic and joyous day, and to mark the utterly selfless service of a very special monarch and woman."

Meanwhile, at St Bartholomew's Church of Ireland in Stranmillis, the bells chimed at 5.30pm for the royal occasion. The bell has a royal history, having rung out on the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, and 60 years earlier in 1952 it rang out once again in proclamation of the Accession of Queen Elizabeth II.

Early on Wednesday celebrations began when pupils from the Belfast Model School for Girls and Belfast Boys' Model sang the National Anthem live on ITV's Good Morning Britain.

Principal Mr Wright said: "I am delighted we have been able to make a contribution to the national celebrations of Her Majesty becoming the longest reigning monarch.

"It was also great to see a number of boys from the Belfast Boys' Model join us for the event. The students were a credit to the community."

Belfast Telegraph

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From Belfast Telegraph