back to top

Queen Elizabeth II Thanks Well-Wishers After Becoming Britain’s Longest-Reigning Monarch

The Queen has spent the historic day opening the Borders Railway in Scotland.

Originally posted on
Updated on

Queen Elizabeth II has thanked well-wishers on the day she becomes Britain’s longest-reigning monarch after beating Queen Victoria's record of 63 years and 216 days on the throne.

Mary Mccartney / PA WIRE

At 5:30pm on Wednesday, Queen Elizabeth II will surpass her great-great-grandmother's record reign.

Speaking at Tweedbank station after opening the new Border Railway, the 89-year-old said: "Inevitably a long life can pass by 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," the BBC reported.

The record was "not one to which I have ever aspired", she said.

Elizabeth began her reign on 6 February 1952 at the age of 25 following the death of her father, King George VI.

Victoria served from June 1837 until her death in January 1901.

The Queen, 89, had planned to spend the day in private but instead interrupted her holiday at Balmoral to officially open the Borders Railway.

Andrew Milligan / PA WIRE

This morning she boarded a train at Edinburgh Waverley Station heading to Tweedbank, where she officially opened the railway – the longest domestic route to be built in Britain for over a century.

Mark Runnacles / Getty
Mark Runnacles / Getty

It is believed the monarch will now return to Balmoral, where she'll spend time with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The Queen made today's railway visit with her husband, Prince Philip.

The pair have been married for almost 70 years. They married in November 1947 in Westminster Abbey – the same venue her coronation took place at on 2 June 1953.

Tim Graham / PA

An estimated 27 million watched the coronation on TV and 11 million tuned in on the radio, the BBC reported.

PA Wire

During her reign, Queen Elizabeth II has overseen 12 prime ministers and seven Archbishops of Canterbury and visited 116 countries on official trips.

The Queen poses with four of her prime ministers. From left to right: David Cameron, John Major, Tony Blair, and Gordon Brown.
Stefan Rousseau / PA

The Queen poses with four of her prime ministers. From left to right: David Cameron, John Major, Tony Blair, and Gordon Brown.

Buckingham Palace has released a series of pictures to mark the Queen's record reign.

This Mary McCartney photograph has been released to mark The Queen becoming the longest reigning British Monarch

And the prime minister has led tributes.

PM: Over the last 63 years, Her Majesty has been a rock of stability in a world of constant change. #LongestReign

Richard James is the News Director for BuzzFeed Australia and is based in Sydney.

Contact Richard James at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.