New picture marks moment Queen sets new record
The Queen has been greeted by cheering crowds in Edinburgh on the day she becomes Britain's longest reigning monarch.
The 89-year-old monarch and the Duke of Edinburgh were at Waverley Station in the Scottish capital for a trip on the new Borders Railway.
An official picture showing the Queen at work at her desk has been released to mark the moment she sets the new record.
She will pass the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria who defined an era and left an indelible mark on 19th century British history.
The exact moment the Queen passes Victoria's milestone is not known as there is no precise time for the death of her father George VI, who died in the early hours of February 6, 1952.
But it is thought he probably died at 1am so at around 5.30pm the Queen will make history as Buckingham Palace has calculated she will have reigned for 23,226 days, 16 hours and approximately 30 minutes, a few minutes longer than Victoria.
Mary McCartney, the daughter of former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, has photographed the Queen sitting at her desk in Buckingham Palace working on matters of state to commemorate the milestone.
David Cameron has already paid tribute to the Queen, telling Cabinet colleagues at their weekly meeting in Downing Street yesterday that the Queen had a "remarkable record" and was "a symbol of Britain's enduring spirit admired around the world", said the Prime Minister's official spokeswoman.
His words was greeted by supportive banging of the Cabinet table by ministers.
There had been speculation a celebratory private event was planned for today but it is understood that in keeping with the Queen's business-as-usual approach Wednesday 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 Queen, joined by the Duke of Edinburgh, will open the new Scottish Borders Railway and take a steam train ride on the new £294 million railway with Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Members of the Royal Family including the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will also be working.
The commemorative photograph is not a formal one but an image showing the Queen working from papers delivered to her in a famous red box - which is prominent in the picture's foreground.
Every day of the year - except Christmas Day - wherever she is, the Queen receives from government ministers, and from her representatives in Commonwealth and foreign countries, information in the form of policy papers, cabinet documents, Foreign Office telegrams, a daily summary of events in Parliament, letters and other State papers.
These are sent up to her by the private secretaries in red boxes also used by Government ministers to carry confidential documents.
All of the papers have to be read and, where necessary, approved and signed.
They are made by leather goods company Barrow and Gale and the Queen still uses the boxes made for her on her coronation. They have been refurbished over the years and while Government boxes bear the Royal cypher only the monarch's box is embossed with the words The Queen.
Ms McCartney has followed in the footsteps of her photographer mother Linda McCartney and is now an in-demand photographer who has taken the pictures of a host of famous names from Gwyneth Paltrow to Jude Law.
In the image, taken in July, the Queen is wearing a pink and white floral print day dress by designer Karl Ludwig, also worn by the monarch in Perth on the last day of her tour of Australia in 2011, and a pink sapphire brooch surrounded by diamonds.
She is clasping a pair of spectacles in her right hand as she holds a piece of paper and resting against the back of her chair is her black handbag.
Family pictures line a nearby sideboard in the room which the Queen uses for her private weekly audiences with the Prime Minister and to meet visiting heads of state like President Barack Obama.
Celebrations will be held throughout the day with church bells ringing out across the country and business in the House of Commons will be postponed for half an hour so MPs can pay tribute to the Queen.
The BT Tower will scroll the message "Long May She Reign'' and the royal rowbarge Gloriana will join a flotilla of boats in a procession down the River Thames.
Tower Bridge will lift as a mark of respect and, as the procession passes HMS Belfast, a four-gun salute will sound out and the Massey Shaw fireboat will shoot jets of water into the air.
Belfast Telegraph Digital