Queen Elizabeth has thanked well-wishers at home and overseas for their “touching messages of kindness” as she becomes Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.
The Queen, Speaking in the Scottish Borders, the 89-year-old monarch said the title was “not one to which I have ever aspired”.
David Cameron said the service she had given was “truly humbling”.
Dressed in turquoise with her trusty black handbag at her side, the Queen spoke briefly to the gathered crowds on the day she passes the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.
“Inevitably a long life can pass by many milestones – my own is no exception – but I thank you all and the many others at home and overseas for your touching messages of great kindness,” she said.
The prime minster said she had been a “rock of stability” in an era when so much had changed, and her reign had been the “golden thread running through three post-war generations”.
He said it was “typical of the Queen’s selfless sense of service” that she thinks today should be a normal day.
Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman said it was “no exaggeration” to say the Queen was “admired by billions of people all around the world”.
Ministers are to present the Queen with a bound copy of cabinet papers from the meeting in 1952 when Sir Winston Churchill’s government approved the content of her first Queen’s Speech.
There have been glowing tributes and much talk about the significance of this moment. No such words were uttered by the subject of all the attention.
In Scotland – and indeed in other parts of the United Kingdom – that life and her reign have been celebrated very publicly.
Privately, later, the Queen will mark the moment she enters the record books. Prince Philip will be with her – her husband of 67 years has been the one constant in a reign of sometimes dizzying change.