She's seen a lot of historic events take place during her six-decade reign, and on Wednesday, Queen Elizabeth II will make some history of her own — she's set to become the longest reigning monarch in British history. On September 9, she will beat the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria — 63 years and seven months.
In honor of this momentous occasion, Buckingham Palace has released a commemorative photo of the Queen. The picture, which was taken in July by Mary McCartney (the daughter of Paul McCartney and the late Linda McCartney), shows the Queen seated at her desk in her private audience room at Buckingham Palace with one of her official red boxes.
The boxes, which bear the royal insignia, contain important papers from government ministers in the U.K. and from British representatives across the Commonwealth and around the world. The Queen has received these boxes almost every day since her accession to the throne in 1952. Her Majesty, who celebrated her 89th birthday in April, wears a pink and white floral printed dress and a triple string of pearls in the photograph.
Palace officials say there will be no big celebration on Wednesday as the Queen wants the occasion to be a low-key affair, and the day will be "business as usual." The British royal will however have two important guests to mark the special day. Prince William and Kate Middleton will be joining her and her husband, Prince Philip, at Balmoral on Wednesday to help celebrate.
The royal couple and their children, Prince George, 2, and Princess Charlotte, 4 months, will be the only senior royals in attendance. The family is heading to the Queen's Scottish estate ahead of Kate's return to public engagements following maternity leave.
While she returned to public life less than a month after the birth of Prince George in 2013, the Duchess decided to take a longer period of leave after Charlotte's arrival on May 2. Kate told friends that she wanted to spend the summer fully enjoying the experience of having two children under 2, and looks like that was achieved.