Guest column: Queen is longest reigning monarch by James Taylor

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This week 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 southwards to Edinburgh to open the Scottish Borders Railway.

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

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

Although we cannot know for sure, 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 George III.

Although she has scaled back in some areas, the Queen’s diary seems as full as ever.

Earlier in the summer, she paid a state visit to Germany and the autumn will see her visit Malta.

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. Winston Churchill was her first Prime Minister and she has welcomed figures including John F Kennedy and Nelson Mandela and travelled the world.

She has remained visible and has remained relevant to each subsequent generation maintaining her popularity as someone who is not only respected but also admired and held in great affection.

In April, she will turn 90 and public events are planned in June to mark the occasion on her official birthday.

This will give us an opportunity to show affection and give thanks for her longevity.