Record reign for Queen Elizabeth II

The record books will be re-written today as Queen Elizabeth II becomes Britain’s longest serving monarch.

Her Majesty overtakes Queen Victoria’s 23,226 days on Wednesday, September 9, 2015.

A descendant of the House of Windsor, the young Elizabeth ascended the throne at the age of 25 after a dramatic turn of events that began in the mid-1930s.

King Edward VIII, her uncle, abdicated to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

Following the abdication, Elizabeth’s father, George VI, became king.

In 1952, while in Kenya with her husband Prince Philip, Elizabeth learned her father had died from lung cancer.

Elizabeth’s five-month tour, scheduled to take in Australia and New Zealand, was abruptly cancelled and the grieving woman flew back to London, her life forever changed.

No one could have imagined 63 years, seven months and two days after being crowned she would still be on the throne serving 139 million constituents in the UK and 15 Commonwealth countries.

Since her coronation in 1953, Queen Elizabeth II has visited Australia 16 times and is the first reigning monarch to set foot on Australian soil.

The 1954 Royal Tour took her to more than 60 towns and cities in 60 days.

Around regional NSW crowds turned out in droves, with an estimated 50,000 standing in torrential rain in Lismore waiting for Her Majesty to arrive at the local council chambers.

At the Melbourne Cricket Ground she was welcomed by 70,000 ex-servicemen and women.

During her 1963 visit, the Queen made a broadcast to people in remote communities over the Royal Flying Doctor Service network in Alice Springs.

The Queen has presided at the official opening of the Sydney Opera House in 1973; the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame in Longreach in 1988; the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000; and the new Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne in 2011, where she met conjoined twins Trishna and Krishna separated in a 27-hour operation in 2009.

In her Jubilee year in 1977 the Queen visited every Australian state during a three-week tour.

At the end of her 1954 tour the then Prime Minister Robert Menzies wrote in an article in Fairfax’s Sydney Morning Herald:

"It is a basic truth that for our Queen we have within us, sometimes unrealised until the moment of expression, the most profound and passionate feelings of loyalty and devotion.

“It does not require much imagination to realise that when eight million people spontaneously pour out this feeling they are engaging in a great act of common allegiance and common joy which brings them closer together.”

Several months after Her Majesty left Australia in 1954, an editorial appeared in Fairfax’s Muswellbrook Chronicle, dated June 8, 1954.

It was entitled, ‘A Queen’s Lead,’ and reported on the monarch’s impact during that Royal Tour of 1954 stating, in part:

“Her Majesty has become something personal to us.

“She is not now a distant figure, a symbol; she is a warm, human, living figure.”

The Queen’s reign has not been without blemish and she has made mistakes, among them her failure to anticipate the emotional impact of the death of Diana.

But whatever your thoughts may be on this day, be you Republican or Monarchist, it must be said this woman, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, has fulfilled her Coronation Oath and done so with a devotion to duty unlikely to be seen again.

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