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Business as usual for Queen's milestone

By Tony Jones and Laura Elston

The Queen is poised to make history when she becomes the longest reigning British monarch - but on the day it will be business as usual for the head of state and her family.

On Wednesday, she will pass the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria who, Buckingham Palace has calculated, reigned for 23,226 days, 16 hours and 23 minutes.

There has been speculation a celebratory private event is planned but it is understood that in keeping with the Queen's business-as-usual approach it will be a normal working day for the monarch with no special dinner party.

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

But on the day she passes Victoria's milestone, the monarch, joined by the Duke of Edinburgh, will open the new Scottish Borders Railway and take a steam train ride on the new £294m railway.

Members of the Royal Family, including the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, will also be working.

Charles will be filming a documentary with TV presenters Ant and Dec, believed to be about his Prince's Trust organisation which celebrates its 40th anniversary next year, while Camilla will visit the ITV studios in London to celebrate the organisation's 60th anniversary.

A royal source said: "You need to remember for the Queen this is a date whose calculation rests on the death of her father and great-great-grandmother, that naturally colours the way she sees it. While she acknowledges it as a historic moment, it's also for her not a moment she would personally celebrate, which is why she has been keen to convey business as usual, and no fuss."

Historian Dr Kate Williams said: "The Queen's longevity is a great source of her strength and popularity. Many people will not have known a different monarch."

Belfast Telegraph


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