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The Royal 2010s: the most historic moment of all

2019 Royal Central

In a decade packed with royal moments to remember, this was the one that will linger. On September 9th 2015, Elizabeth II became the longest reigning monarch in British history. It was a milestone in some ways beyond her control but as she reached it, tributes poured in from around the world, celebrating her service and her success throughout her long reign. Here, Royal Central looks back at the day Elizabeth II’s reign entered the history books.

The record breaking Queen

The Queen overtook the record set by her great, great grandmother, Queen Victoria, in the late afternoon of September 9th 2015 when she had reigned for 22, 226 days, 16 hours and 30 minutes.

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She had spent the day in Scotland where she inaugurated a new Borders railway in the company of her consort, the Duke of Edinburgh.

The popular record breaker

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Although the Queen had no real intention of marking the moment, others had different ideas. Huge crowds turned out to see her in Scotland, lining the route of the steam train which carried her on a special journey to mark the opening of the new railway.

Special words for a special day

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The Queen made reference to her record breaking reign as she addressed crowds in Scotland. She told them ”inevitably, a long life can pass many milestones – my own is no exception – but I thank you all and the many others at home and overseas for your touching messages of great kindness”. But she added that the title of longest reigning British monarch was ”not one to which I have ever aspired”.

Tributes for Elizabeth II

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The then UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, led praise for the Queen on her record breaking day, calling her service ”truly humbling”. MPs in the House of Commons started their daily business late so that they could pay tribute to the Queen. Elizabeth II was accompanied in Scotland by the country’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who praised the Queen for her ”dedication…and exemplary sense of public service”. Thousands of wellwishers greeted her in Scotland where she received flowers and plaudits on a walkabout.

Memories of a milestone

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A special portrait of the Queen was commissioned by the Illustrated London News to mark the record while the Royal Mint issued a limited edition £20 coin for the celebrations. Meanwhile, a simple sign commemorating the Queen’s visit to Newtongrange Station on the day she became a record breaking monarch stands as another testament to this most historic moment of all.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton, a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. June has been a reporter, producer and editor, picking up several awards over the years. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.