Today, the Queen makes history as she becomes the first British monarch to reach 65 years on the throne.
The Sapphire Jubilee will mark yet another remarkable milestone but the Queen is not expected to hold any public celebrations.
However it is a public holiday in one of her dominions. Aotearoa / New Zealand marks its national day, Waitangi Day, today.
The Queen will spend the day in private, remembering her father King George VI, who died in his sleep, from coronary thrombosis, at the age of 56 on this day in 1952.
Overnight, his daughter went from being Princess Elizabeth to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She has always made it clear that her long reign is a consequence of her father’s early death, and therefore no cause for celebration.
The Queen will be at Sandringham with her husband, Prince Philip, and is expected to spend part of the day going through her red boxes of official documents, as she has done every day of her reign.
In 2015 the Queen surpassed Queen Victoria as the nation’s longest-reigning monarch. Then, the 90-year-old royal acknowledged her milestone, but also made clear that she did not want to ‘celebrate’ Victoria’s death. She asked for no public celebrations, and held a low-key dinner at home.
The Queen is due to return to London in early February, following her winter retreat at Sandringham. Her next public engagement will be on Valentine’s Day, when she and the Duke of Edinburgh will open the National Cyber Security Centre in central London.
Her reign will be marked with special photographic displays at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. These include official portraits, pictures of the Queen on royal visits and informal family moments. Called Long to Reign Over Us, the Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle displays will be staged in areas that are not usually included in the visitor route. The selection of images will run from 1952 until the present day.
The Royal Mint is issuing a special collection of coins. The Sapphire Jubilee range comprises £5 coins in silver and gold, inspired by regalia from her coronation and bearing phrases from her 21st birthday speech: “My whole life, whether it be long or short, will be devoted to your service.”
The 1kg and 5-ounce coins, also in silver and gold, feature the royal arms supported by an olive branch, a symbol of faithfulness and reconciliation, and a branch of oak, representing stability and loyalty in service.