Queen Elizabeth II has passed another historic milestone as the first British monarch to reach her Sapphire Jubilee on 6 February 2017.

Queen Elizabeth II wears the George VI Victorian Sapphire Suite. Photo by David Bailey, 2014.

Buckingham Palace has released a new portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by David Bailey to mark this special occasion.

The present Governor-General of Australia Sir Peter Cosgrove posted a comment on Facebook for Australia’s longest-reigning Queen.

The new Queen was in Kenya, whilst travelling en-route to Australia and New Zealand for a tour, when news reached the royal party that her father, King George VI, suddenly died in his sleep at Sandringham from lung cancer, aged 56, on 6 February 1952.

George VI had been ill for some time, had an operation the year before, and his health seemed to be improving.

The King had pre-recorded his Christmas broadcast because of his hoarse voice and bad chest, assuring listeners he had come through his illness, through God’s grace and the “faithful skill” of his doctors, surgeons and nurses. He said he had learnt once again, in bad times, the value of support and sympathy from friends.

The Royal Family had seen the musical, South Pacific, at Drury Lane Theatre, on 30 January, to celebrate the King’s recovery and to give Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip a happy send-off, as they were leaving for East Africa, Australia and New Zealand the following day.

Prince Philip broke the sad news to his wife during their stay at Treetops, and the royal party quickly returned to London, postponing the rest of their tour.

The Queen and Prince Philip were greeted by dignitaries including Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee, Anthony Eden, her uncle the Duke of Gloucester and members of the Privy Council all dressed in black, upon their arrival at Heathrow, and to a nation in mourning.

Flags were at half-mast, theatres and cinemas were closed and sporting events had been cancelled.

Meanwhile, in Australia, the Governor-General, Sir William McKell, issued the proclamation of Elizabeth’s accession as Queen of Australia, which was read out on the steps of Parliament House in Canberra on Friday, 8 February 1952.

Queen Elizabeth celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in 2012, and became the longest-reigning monarch, surpassing her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria’s record on 9 September 2015.

However, there will be no celebration as the Queen will stay home behind closed doors, in quiet contemplation remembering her beloved father’s death.

The Queen will also, according to sources, go through her red boxes and sort through official documents.

Meanwhile, in London, there will be a 62-round gun salute to mark the 65th anniversary of the Queen’s accession at 1.00 pm (local time) at the Tower of London.

The following day, the Queen will return to London, ending her winter break in Norfolk.

Queen Elizabeth does not expect to receive any gifts to mark her latest jubilee. However, she already owns a set of blue sapphires which were a gift from her father when she married the Duke of Edinburgh in 1947, known as the George VI Victorian Sapphire Suite.

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