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Queen Elizabeth II: Social Snapshots from the Longest Reign

Queen Elizabeth II greets well-wishers as she opens Newton Grange railway station, on the day she becomes Britain’s longest reigning monarch. Sept. 9, 2015 | Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire © PA Wire/PA Photos/KEYSTONE Press

Earlier today at 17:30pm British Summer Time, Queen Elizabeth II became the United Kingdom’s longest reigning monarch. Surpassing her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, the Queen had reigned for 23,226 days, 16 hours and approximately 30 minutes when the clock struck 5:30. A BBC team took on the arduous but highly fascinating task of counting up much more about the Queen’s years on the throne than the actual minutes spent. For instance, her great-great-grandmother ruled an empire that encompassed 400 million inhabitants and now, the Queen is head of state for a more modest realm of 138 million.

Queen Elizabeth II travels on a steam train to inaugurate the new Scottish Borders Railway. Sept. 9, 2015 | Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire © PA Wire/PA Photos/KEYSTONE Press

As she spoke briefly to a crowd of well-wishers in Tweedbank, Scotland, the 89-year-old monarch admitted that this milestone was “not one to which I have ever aspired”. To her, this was primarily another day to carry on with business as usual as she officially opened the new £294 million Scottish Borders Railway. However, official duties did not interfere with taking time to recognize today’s historic and public significance.

“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.

While the Queen’s empire may be smaller than it was over a century ago, her ability to reach a worldwide audience at a moment’s notice has exponentially grown in recent years thanks to the advent of social media. The British Monarchy has a number of social media accounts and, as such, seem more accessible than ever before. Today, the Twitter hashtags #QueenElizabeth, #longestreign, #GodSaveTheQueen and more were all trending in light of the plethora of news, commentary and congratulations generated by this momentous occasion.

Searching the hashtag #longestreign, here is a selection of our favourite social media acknowledgements of a milestone 63 years in the making.