Maria Puente, USA Today
The day was marked in a low-key way (well, aside from all the guns going off) in London because Accession Day is officially marked in June, when the weather is usually better.
But Princess Elizabeth officially became Her Majesty on Feb. 6, 1952, when her father, King George VI, died in England while she and husband Prince Philipwere on a brief holiday in Kenya. She returned home immediately and was proclaimed queen.
She was 25 when she came to the throne, and 26 when she was crowned more than a year later in June 1953.
The actual anniversary typically is marked with gun salutes. Gunners from the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery, dressed in elaborate uniforms, fired 41 guns in Royal Salute in Hyde Park this morning.
This was followed by a 62-gun salute by the Honourable Artillery Company from Gun Wharf at the Tower of London in the afternoon.
But that was just London. Similar gun salutes took place all over Britain today.
Queen Victoria reigned from June 1837 to January 1901, when she died at age 81. Queen Elizabeth, who celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and will turn 88 in April, appears prepared to match her ancestor's record.
Just this week, Buckingham Palace announced two European trips she will make this year, likely to be her last since she has cut back on long-haul tours and turned those duties over to her heirs, Prince Charles and Prince William.
In April, she and Prince Philip will make a quick trip to Rome to meet Pope Francis at the Vatican. The trip had been scheduled last year but was postponed when she fell ill and was hospitalized briefly.
Then in June, she and Philip will make a three-day trip to Normandy to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in France.