Queen is first British monarch to reach Sapphire Jubilee

Queen Elizabeth by David Bailey Credit: AP
  • Video report by reporter Paul Davies.

The Queen has made history as the first British monarch to reach their Sapphire Jubilee.

February 6, the anniversary of the day she became Queen, marked 65 years of Elizabeth II's reign.There are no grand festivities planned to mark the head-of-state's new milestone.

However, to commemorate the anniversary of the monarch's accession to the throne a David Bailey photograph taken in 2014 has been re-issued.

The portrait shows the Queen wearing sapphires, the 65th anniversary gemstone, given to her by King George VI as a wedding gift in 1947.

The necklace is made of 16 large oblong sapphires surrounded by diamonds and dates from 1850.

The Queen is not due to be out and about on official engagements on the landmark day.

As is usual on Accession Day, she will be spending it privately at her Sandringham Estate in Norfolk.

She was in good spirits on Sunday as she greeted well-wishers after attending a church service at St Peter and St Paul in West Newton, Norfolk.

The Queen is handed a bouquet in West Newton, Norfolk on Sunday. Credit: PA

Three-year-old Jessica Atfield, who dressed specially for the occasion in a union flag skirt, was delighted when she handed a bunch of flowers to the Queen.

The Queen, who missed church over Christmas due to a heavy cold, will undoubtedly be matter of fact about the historic occasion.

In 2015, when she thanked the nation for the kind messages after overtaking Queen Victoria to become the longest-reigning monarch in British history, she admitted bluntly that the royal record was "not one to which I have ever aspired".

She added: "Inevitably, a long life can pass by many milestones. My own is no exception."

Monday will mark 65 years since the Queen came to the throne. Credit: PA

She added: "Inevitably, a long life can pass by many milestones. My own is no exception."

It is likely that any large-scale jubilee celebrations will be reserved for the Platinum Jubilee in 2022 - although any events will take into account the fact that Queen is due to turn 96 that year.

The anniversary of Elizabeth II's accession to the throne in 1952 is a poignant time for the Queen, marking the day her father George VI died.

She often spends Accession Day privately at Sandringham, staying there through the Christmas period. She usually makes her return to Buckingham Palace a few days later.

The Queen was joined at the church service by the Duke of Edinburgh. Credit: PA

A traditional gun salute was held in Green Park, London, at noon to mark the achievement.

The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery rode their horses and Gun carriages past Buckingham Palace en route to the park to stage the 41 Gun Royal Salute.

Accompanied by the Band of the Royal Artillery, 89 horses pulled First World War-era 13-pounder field guns into position in the park.

A 62-gun salute by the Honourable Artillery Company will be fired at the Tower of London at 1pm.

The Prime Minister hailed The Queen describing her as "remarkable" and "truly an inspiration to all of us".

She said: "It is a testament to her selfless devotion to the nation that she is not marking becoming the first monarch to reign for 65 years with any special celebration but instead getting on with the job to which she has dedicated her life.

"She has truly been an inspiration to all of us and I am proud, on behalf of the nation, to offer our humble thanks and congratulations on celebrating this Sapphire Jubilee."