London: Queen Elizabeth II, the world's longest reigning sovereign, on Monday became the first British monarch to reach her Sapphire Jubilee, with 65 years on the throne. The 90-year-old monarch is marking the landmark as a day of private contemplation at her Sandringham estate in Norfolk as it also coincides with the day her father, George V, died.
To mark the occasion, Buckingham Palace have re-released a photograph of the Queen, wearing distinctive sapphire jewellery. The picture was taken by celebrated photographer David Bailey in 2014 for the GREAT campaign, a publicity campaign to promote Britain around the world.
In the photograph, the Queen is wearing a suite of sapphire jewellery given to her by King George VI as a wedding present in 1947. At the time of the commission, Bailey said he had "always been a huge fan of the Queen". "She has very kind eyes with a mischievous glint. I've always liked strong women, and she is a very strong woman." It was on the 6 February, 1952 that her father died while at Sandringham.
Princess Elizabeth, who was 25, was in Kenya on a royal tour with her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at the time.
Royal gun salutes in London will mark Ascension Day on Monday with a 41-gun salute by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery at Green Park near Buckingham Palace. A 62-gun salute by the Honourable Artillery Company will be fired at the Tower of London soon after. The UK's Royal Mint is to mark the 65th anniversary with a range of specially designed Sapphire Jubilee commemorative coins, as the Royal Mail issues a Sapphire Blue 5 pound stamp.
Large-scale jubilee celebrations are expected to be reserved for the Platinum Jubilee in 2022, when the monarch will mark 70 years.
Updated Date: Feb 06, 2017 16:09 PM