Today’s columnist, James Taylor: A great peacetime queen

Pic:  Mary McCartney/copyright: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II / PA Wire.
Pic: Mary McCartney/copyright: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II / PA Wire.
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Today is a special milestone as the Queen becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history.

Having reigned for 63 years and 217 days, she has now passed the record set by her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, who died in 1901.

The Queen is not known to make a fuss and so it is not surprising that, as in Queen Victoria’s day, calls for large-scale events to commemorate this milestone have been rejected.

Although unlike Queen Victoria, who spent the day quietly at Balmoral, the Queen will make a rare public appearance during the Balmoral break to open the Scottish Borders Railway.

This gives people a chance to see her on the day either in person or, most likely, on television.

There have been suggestions that the Queen was reluctant to make this appearance.

We cannot know if this is the case but I am sure she understands the value of making this appearance and puts her duty above any personal feelings.

Having become the world’s oldest current reigning monarch in January, the Queen’s place in the history books is secured.

Rather than be remembered for these quirks of history, though, I am sure that her legacy will be her actions during her long reign.

On her 21st birthday in 1947, she dedicated herself to the service of her people, something she reaffirmed at her coronation in 1953.

If her father, George VI, is remembered as a great wartime king, Elizabeth II will be remembered as a great peacetime queen.

Duty and service have been her bywords: in 2014, the Queen carried out almost 400 engagements, including visits in this country and abroad, investitures, audiences and receptions.

Despite her advanced age, she has the rare skill of remaining relevant to each generation: on VJ Day last month, she met fellow Second World War veterans and shared their experiences, in contrast she hosts the Queen’s Young Leaders awards, rewarding talented individuals under 30.

Her relevance and wide appeal means she is not only respected but also admired by many.

Although this milestone is being marked in a low-key way, there are commemorations planned for the Queen’s 90th birthday next summer.

It’s often said the monarchy helps unify the country and celebrations such as this will give us the opportunity to join in to celebrate her long life and her continued reign.

* James Taylor, royal watcher

en becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history.

Having reigned for 63 years and 217 days, she has now passed the record set by her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, who died in 1901.

The Queen is not known as one to make a fuss and so it is not surprising that as in Queen Victoria’s day, calls for large-scale events to commemorate this milestone have been rejected.

Although unlike Queen Victoria, who spent the day quietly at Balmoral, the Queen will make a rare public appearance during the Balmoral break to open the Scottish Borders Railway.

This gives people a chance to see her on the day either in person or, most likely, on television.

There have been suggestions that the Queen was reluctant to make this appearance.

We cannot know if this is the case but as someone who quoted as saying “I have to be seen to be believed”, I am sure she understands the value of making this appearance and puts her duty above any personal feelings.

Having become the oldest monarch currently reigning in the world in January, the Queen’s place in the history books has been secured.

Rather than be remembered for these quirks of history, though, I am sure that her legacy will be her actions during her long reign.

On her 21st birthday in 1947, she dedicated herself to the service of her people, something she reaffirmed at her coronation in 1953.

If her father, George VI, is remembered as a great wartime king, Elizabeth II will be remembered as a great peacetime queen.

Duty and service have been her bywords: in 2014, the Queen carried out almost 400 engagements including visits in this country and abroad, investitures, audiences and receptions.

Despite her advanced age, she has the rare skill of remaining relevant to each generation: on VJ Day last month, she met fellow Second World War veterans and shared their experiences, in contrast she hosts the Queen’s Young Leaders awards, rewarding talented individuals under 30.

Her relevance and wide appeal means she is not only respected but also admired by many.

Although this milestone is being marked in a low-key way, there are commemorations planned for the Queen’s 90th birthday next summer.

It’s often said the monarchy helps unify the country and celebrations such as this will give us the opportunity to join in to celebrate her long life and her continued reign.