A new photo has been released by Buckingham Palace to mark The Queen becoming the longest-reigning British Monarch. The photograph, taken at Buckingham Palace in July in The Queen’s private audience room, shows Her Majesty seated at her desk, with one of her official red boxes.
The Queen is wearing a pink and white floral print day dress by Karl Ludwig. She wore this dress in Perth, Western Australia, on the final day of the 2011 tour.
The Queen is also wearing a pink sapphire brooch, surrounded by diamonds.
It is in this room, The Queen’s private audience room, that Her Majesty has received her Prime Ministers for their weekly audiences as well as other guests such as visiting Heads of State and Government.
In her constitutional role as Head of State, a primary component of The Queen’s work involves the red boxes. She has received the boxes almost every day of her reign, including weekends and holidays, but excluding Christmas Day.
The red box contains important papers from government ministers in the United Kingdom and her realms and her representatives across the Commonwealth and beyond. These documents are sent from the Private Secretary’s Office to The Queen, wherever she may be in residence, in a locked red despatch box.
While all government boxes bear the royal cipher, only Her Majesty’s box is embossed with the words ‘The Queen’. The Queen reads all of the papers and, where necessary, approves and signs relevant papers.
The Queen still receives documents in the boxes made for her upon her Coronation. These have been regularly restored to keep them in good condition. Barrow and Gale Ltd manufactures the red despatch boxes to The Queen and Her Majesty’s Government.
Her Majesty is currently in residence in Scotland, and it is business as usual for the 89-year sovereign. She will be accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh as they open the new Scottish Borders Railway.
The Queen and Prince Philip will board a steam train from Edinburgh Waverley Station in Scotland. They will travel to Newtongrange and on to Tweedbank as part of the train’s historical journey along the longest domestic railway to be built in the UK in over one hundred years. The Queen will be joined by the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon amongst other officials.
Twitter and other social media have been abuzz with the news that Her Majesty might deliver a short speech at Tweedbank. There has not been official confirmation on this.
The Queen did not seek to have a formal celebration marking today’s historic milestone. A special service open to the public will take place at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. The service will start at 5 pm approximately the time that is thought to be the precise moment that The Queen passes the milestone set by Queen Victoria.
Her Majesty became the oldest Monarch in British history in 2007, a record in which she surpassed Queen Victoria.
Additionally, The Queen is the only British monarch to have celebrated a diamond wedding anniversary.
The history books will need to add additional pages as Her Majesty will be the 46th longest-reigning Monarch in world history at the end of 2015. Her Platinum Jubilee would take place in 2022 making her the 20th longest-reigning in world history.
The longest reigning monarch in history is Sobhuza II Paramount Chief and later King of Swaziland for 82 years and 254 days.
photo copyright: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (photographer: Mary McCartney)