GUEST COLUMN: Historic day as Queen becomes longest serving monarch, by James Taylor, Royal Expert

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Today sees a royal milestone reached as the Queen surpasses the record of her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria to become the longest reigning monarch in British history.

Her achievement in becoming our longest reigning monarch is all the more remarkable given the fact that she was not born to succeed.

Born Princess Elizabeth of York in 1926, it was the abdication of her uncle, Edward VIII when she was ten which set the seal on her future life.

Although remembered as a great queen, Victoria spent the majority of her reign as a widow making few public appearances.

Indeed, the day she became the longest-reigning monarch was spent privately at Balmoral.

Although in residence in her Scottish castle, in contrast, the Queen is venturing south to Edinburgh to open the Scottish Borders Railway today.

This is, admittedly, a rare public appearance during the Balmoral break but will allow people see her and mark the occasion.

It has been said that the Queen was reluctant to appear in public on the day and would have preferred to have spent it privately believing it not appropriate for public commemoration.

Although we cannot know if this is the case, it would be typical of someone who is known for a personal dislike of ostentation.

If it is true, it is a case of duty triumphing over any private feelings she may have had.

This is fitting for someone who has spent all her adult life making public appearances and who has been quoted as saying “I have to be seen to be believed”.

At 89, Her Majesty is 12 years older than Queen Victoria was when she broke the previous record set by her grandfather, George III.

Although she has scaled back in some areas such as allowing other members of the Royal Family to carry out investitures on her behalf, the Queen’s diary seems as full as ever.

I am sure this is how history will remember her, the dates record only the length of her reign but not the amount of service she has shown during these decades.

She has spent a lifetime serving her country and its people as well as the wider Commonwealth.

She has met some of the biggest names in modern history and travelled the world several times over.

Next April, she will turn 90 public events are planned next June to mark the occasion at the time of her official birthday.

This will give us an chance to show this affection for the Queen and to give thanks for herlongevity and her reign.