Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland set to mark Queen's royal record

By Rebecca Black

Tomorrow the Queen becomes Britain's longest serving monarch - and the historic occasion will be marked with events in Northern Ireland.

The monarch will have reigned for longer than her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria, who sat on the throne for 63 years and 216 days.

Her six-decade reign began in 1952 when she succeeded her father King George VI when he died following an illness.

The young princess was just 25 years old when she became Queen and has reigned over 12 Prime Ministers, six Archbishops of Canterbury and given Royal Assent to more than 3,500 Acts of Parliament.

At this time of year the Queen is taking her traditional summer break at her private Scottish home of Balmoral.

But tomorrow she will open the new Scottish Borders Railway and take a steam train ride on the £294m railway.

Celebrations will start early tomorrow morning in Northern Ireland with schoolchildren in Belfast singing her praises. ITV's Good Morning Britain programme will broadcast live from a number of schools including Belfast Girls Model, during which pupils will sing the first verse of the national anthem.

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Finance Minister Arlene Foster is to host an event in Stormont to mark the record service.

The event will be attended by the Lord Lieutenant of County Down, David Lindsay, and will include a display of important artefacts including a throne used by the Queen when she visited Parliament Buildings, the Coronation Vase; a specially commissioned piece of artwork made for the occasion of the coronation and various pictures relating the Queen's long reign.

Ms Foster said: "Her Majesty the Queen has been a fixed point in an ever-changing world. Throughout her long years of public service she has displayed a tireless devotion to our country and its people. At all times the Queen has carried out her duties with a warmth of spirit and a kindness of heart."

A special Evensong in St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast will also mark the occasion.

A prayer written for the occasion, approved by the Queen, will be said in churches and cathedrals across the UK.

In St Anne's, where Choral Evensong takes place almost every weekday, the music will reflect this historic milestone and will include the national anthem.

Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant of Belfast, Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle, will be among those expected to attend the service, which begins at 5.30pm.

Belfast Telegraph


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