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Britain’s Queen Elizabeth Marks Sapphire Jubilee | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Members of the Honourable Artillery Company fire a 62 round royal gun salute from the Gun Wharf outside the Tower of London near Tower Bridge to mark the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne, London, 6 February, 2017. Photo: CHRIS J RATCLIFFE / AFP

London – Queen Elizabeth II became on Monday the first British monarch to reign for 65 years.

Her Sapphire Jubilee is being marked with ceremonial gun salutes at London’s Green Park and the Tower of London, and in several other locations across the United Kingdom.

Sapphire is the 65th anniversary gemstone. The Buckingham Palace has reissued a photograph of the Queen wearing a suite of sapphire jewelry given to her by her father as a wedding gift in 1947.

In 2014, David Bailey took the photograph showing her wearing the glittering necklace, dating from 1850 and made of 16 large oblong sapphires surrounded by diamonds.

Prime Minister Theresa May issued a statement for the occasion in which she said the country would join in giving thanks for the queen’s lifetime of service to Britain and the wider Commonwealth.

“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 said.

The PM described the Queen as an inspiration to the nation and offered her humble thanks and congratulations.

The anniversary was marked by specially-designed coins, ranging from a £5 coin to a £1,000 solid gold coin, which weighs 1 Kg and costs £50,000 to buy.

They also bear words from the famous quote in her 21st birthday speech to the Commonwealth back in 1947: “My whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.”

In addition, the Royal Mail issued a £5 stamp in a sapphire blue color.

Elizabeth became Britain’s longest-serving monarch ever in September 2015, surpassing the reign of her great-great-grandmother queen Victoria, a record she said was “not one to which I have ever aspired”.

She is currently the longest-reigning living monarch in the world following the death of Thai king Bhumibol Adulyadej, in October last year.

Elizabeth became queen in 1952 at the age of 25 upon the premature death of her father, king George VI.

According to Buckingham Palace, the Queen has no public events planned for the anniversary, and will instead spend the day at Sandringham.

Despite her reluctance to celebrate publicly, the occasion will be marked in Britain. At the Tower of London, in the capital’s Green Park and all around the kingdom, gun salutes will be fired in tribute. The bells at Westminster Abbey in central London will be rung at 1pm in honor of the occasion.