Portsmouth unites to celebrate the Queen’s record-breaking reign

Residents of Rowlands Castle with the flag which they raised to celebrate the Queen's record-breaking reign ''Picture: Sarah Standing (151565-3949)
Residents of Rowlands Castle with the flag which they raised to celebrate the Queen's record-breaking reign ''Picture: Sarah Standing (151565-3949)
Former Great British Bake Off contestant Enwezor Nzegwu pictured at last year's cooking show.

Picture: Sarah Standing (161630-8733) PPP-160912-203331001

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PATRIOTIC fervour gripped the area as it united to celebrate the Queen’s record-breaking reign on the throne.

Yesterday, Queen Elizabeth II became Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, 63 years and seven months after her coronation.

Barbara Openshaw, Rowlands Castle flag mistress, raising the flag.  Picture: Sarah Standing (151565-4010)

Barbara Openshaw, Rowlands Castle flag mistress, raising the flag. Picture: Sarah Standing (151565-4010)

And Portsmouth came out in force to mark the 89-year-old monarch’s momentous milestone, with royal-themed parties taking place across the city, towns and villages, while the big screen in Guildhall was devoted to coverage of the Queen’s achievement.

Leading Chef Suzanne Clark, who will be serving on the UK’s newest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, which will be based in Portsmouth, baked a cake to mark the Queen’s achievement.

Captain Simon Petitt, Commanding Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth, said: ‘The Queen is a source of inspiration and pride for us all and it is exceptionally fitting that our longest-reigning monarch is the sponsor of the longest ship ever built for the Royal Navy.’

Off the city’s coast, the Union flag was flying at full mast as more than 50 people cruised to No Man’s Fort to enjoy a royal party.

Mark Watts, general manager at No Man’s Fort, said: ‘It’s amazing how long she has managed to keep her reign going but also how England has come back around to the feeling that we’re so proud of our monarchy.’

Spirits were high, too, on Rowlands Castle Green as crowds gathered to watch the raising of the Union flag and sing the national anthem.

Anne Haigh, 77, a member of the British Legion, from Rowlands Castle, said: ‘She’s a marvellous person.

‘She’s done the most marvellous job.’

On the secret of The Queen’s longevity, she said: ‘She’s very fit and has got a strong constitution.’

Mary Jane Lomer, from Rowlands Castle, said: ‘It’s fantastic. The only time I saw her was at Butser Hill in the 60s or 70s. She was in a red suit. I thought she was small, petite and magnificent.

‘I used to write to her at Christmas wishing her Happy Christmas.

‘I still have the letters saying thank you for your wishes.’

John Pickering, chairman of Rowlands Castle Parish Council, said she had been a ‘very committed’ monarch. He added: ‘The fact that she’s lasted even longer than Queen Victoria, even though she succeeded to the throne at a later age, is quite remarkable.’

Tributes were paid at by Hampshire County Council’s cabinet and officers, raised a glass to the Queen.

Councillor Roy Perry, leader of the county council, led the toast to congratulate the monarch and said: ‘For more than 63 years Queen Elizabeth II has been a constant in all our lives, through good times and bad.’

The Queen has now surpassed her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria, as the longest-reigning monarch.