Remembering when the Queen came to Hemel Hempstead as Elizabeth II becomes Britain’s longest reigning monarch

The Queen is officially the longest reigning monarch in British history
The Queen is officially the longest reigning monarch in British history

The Queen is officially the longest ever reigning monarch in British history after passing the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.

As of today, the Queen will have ruled for more than 63 years and 216 days.

Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II when she was 25 upon the death of her father King George VI, who died in the early hours of 6 February 1952.

The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II as monarch took place at Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953.

The milestone is sure to be well received in Dacorum after the Queen famously visited Hemel Hempstead in 1952.

Queen Elizabeth may have reigned over us longer than any other monarch – but a visit to Hemel was one of her first public engagements in her royal role.

It was July 20, 1952, barely four months after Elizabeth had come to the throne. Hemel was a new town, and local chiefs had originally wanted to the popular young Princess Elizabeth to lay the foundation stone of the community’s first new church.

Sadly George VI died before the visit could take place, so the new Queen came to St Barnabas.

After carrying out her duty the new Queen was then given a tour of Hemel in all its pristine glory – and the shopping square she visited has been named Queen’s Square ever since.

More interesting facts about The Queen and her reign:

The Queen pictured in 1955

The Queen pictured in 1955

The Queen is the 40th monarch since William the Conqueror obtained the crown of England and is Queen of 16 of the 53 member states in the Commonwealth of Nations, as well as Head of the Commonwealth and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

Of current monarch’s around the world, only Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) of Thailand has a longer reign (69 years).

The Queen was born at 17 Bruton St, London W1 on the 21st April, 1926, was christened on the 29th May, 1926 in the Private Chapel at Buckingham Palace and was confirmed on the 28th March, 1942 in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle.

1,333 diamonds and 169 pearls adorn the George IV State Diadem, which the Queen wore on her way to the Coronation ceremony.

In 1943 and 1944, the Queen won first prize at the Royal Windsor Horse Show for driving a utility vehicle harnessed to her black fell pony.

To date, the Queen’s owned more than 30 corgis and currently has two: Willow and Holly. Alongside them are Candy and Vulcan, two of a unique breed known as ‘dorgis’, which the Queen originally created by crossing one of her corgis with Princess Margaret’s dachshund, Pipkin.

Her tally of success stands at more than 20 wins at Royal Ascot and thoroughbreds owned by the Queen have also won four out of the five flat racing classics - the 1,000 Guineas and 2,000 Guineas, the Oaks and the St Leger – with only the Derby eluding her.

Unusual live gifts given to The Queen on foreign tours include: two tortoises in the Seychelles in 1972; a seven-year-old bull elephant called “Jumbo” by the President of Cameroon in 1972; and two black beavers given after a Royal visit to Canada.

Major events and news in 1952:

A devastating flood swept through the Lynmouth on the north Devon coast, claiming more than 30 lives.

Britain suffered its worst-ever peacetime rail accident when 112 people died in a three-train collision at Harrow and Wealdstone station in north-west London.

British troops travelled to Kenya to deal with the Mau Mau rebellion.

Anne Frank’s diary was published.

Nineteen-year-old Derek Bentley was sentenced to be hanged after his 16-year-old accomplice - who was too young to be executed - murdered a policeman.

The Agatha Christie thriller The Mousetrap opened in London, with Richard Attenborough as the detective. It’s still running 63 years later.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill told the Commons that Britain had developed an atomic bomb.

If 1952 prices were converted into today’s equivalent, this is how things would compare:

Something you might buy: 1952 price in 2015 / Actual 2015 price

Average house: £1,888 / £179,696

Pint of beer: £1.42 / £3.31

Loaf of bread: 57p / £1.35

Postage stamp: 19p / 63p

Ford saloon car: £470.00 / £19,995

TV licence: £91 / £145.50