The Queen is born! 21 April 1926. Photo: Bob Thomas/Popperfoto/Getty Images
Elizabeth, Duchess of York (1900 - 2002), looking at her first child, Princess Elizabeth. Photo: Speaight/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
A young Elizabeth hugging a Corgi dog in this photo from July 1936. Photo: July 1936: Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Getty Images
Princess Elizabeth makes her first broadcast, accompanied by her younger sister Princess Margaret Rose (1930 - 2002). Photo: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images
Princess Elizabeth trains as an ATS mechanic at a training centre in southern England, April 1945. At this stage she is a Second Subaltern of the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service). Photo: Popperfoto/Getty Images
Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh, on the occasion of their engagement at Buckingham Palace in London, 1947. Photo: Fox Photos/Getty Images
Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip make their way down the aisle of Westminster Abbey, London, on their wedding day, 20 November 1947. Photo: Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II at her coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey, London in 1953. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II on the way to Westminster to preside at the first State Opening of Parliament ceremony since her accession to the throne, 4 November 1952. Photo: Central Press/Getty Images
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh wave from the famous balcony at Buckingham Palace on 2 June 1953 upon their return from Westminster Abbey after the coronation of the Queen. Photo: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
Princess Elizabeth playing with her son Prince Charles in her private sitting room in Buckingham Palace on 9 April 1949. Photo: by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
Princess Elizabeth watching her son Prince Charles playing in his toy car while at Balmoral, 28 September 1952. Photo: Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II crowns her son Charles, Prince of Wales, during his investiture ceremony at Caernarvon Castle, 1 July 1969. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Princess Diana with Queen Elizabeth watching a polo match at Guards Polo Club, Windsor, Berkshire. Photo: Tim Graham/Getty Images
A soldier passes out onto the ground while Queen Elizabeth II passes by on a horse during the trooping the colour parade held in June 1970 in London, England. Photo: GAMMA/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
The Queen inspecting the damage with firemen after the fire at Windsor Castle, 1992. Photo: Tim Graham/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Harry attend the annual Chelsea Flower show at Royal Hospital Chelsea on 18 May 2015 in London, England. Photo: Julian Simmonds/WPA Pool/Getty Images)
In this handout photo released by Buckingham Palace on 8 September 2015, Queen Elizabeth II is seated at her desk in her private audience room at Buckingham Palace with one of her official red boxes, which she has received almost every day of her reign and which contain important papers from government ministers in the United Kingdom and her Realms and from her representatives across the Commonwealth and beyond. The photo has been taken by Mary McCartney in July 2015, to mark the moment she becomes the longest reigning British Monarch. Photo: Mary McCartney/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II via Getty Images
Thousands of speeches, zero interviews: Queen Elizabeth's extraordinary reign
At some point on 9 September, Elizabeth II surpassed her great-great grandmother Victoria to become Britain's longest-serving monarch.
It's a reign that spans almost 64 years - or, as statisticians have delighted in pointing out through the day yesterday, 23,226 days and an ever-increasing number of hours.
"Over the last 63 years, Her Majesty has been a rock of stability in a world of constant change and her selfless sense of service and duty has earned admiration not only in Britain, but right across the globe," said British PM David Cameron.
Buckingham Palace marked the event by releasing an official photograph of the queen taken by photographer Mary McCartney, daughter of former Beatle Paul McCartney.
While arguments about the politics of a monarchy in a democracy never go out of style, all of Britain and much of the world seems to have set the dissent aside for the day to salute a woman who has reigned from the post-war era to the digital age.
She's met everyone from India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru to Japanese emperor Hirohito, from French general-turned-statesman Charles de Gaulle to South African anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.
She was reigning when the Berlin Wall was constructed and has reigned through its destruction as well.
She has seen the shrinking of the British empire and the creation of a unified Europe.
Ironically, for a woman whose life has been marked by so many milestones, the birth of Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor on 21 April 1926 was a relatively minor event.
The world was in turmoil, in the shaky period between two world wars.
It was a twist of fate that later led to her being installed on the throne: after reigning for just 325 days, her uncle Edward VIII - who had no children of his own - abdicated in 1936 to marry American Wallis Simpson.
That was how her father, George VI, inherited the crown and she suddenly became next in line to the throne.
On 20 November 1947 Elizabeth married Philip, a distant cousin, who renounced his titles as prince of Greece and Denmark and his career in the Royal Navy to be with her.
When her father died in 1952 at the age of 56, Elizabeth became Queen. She was 25 and had two young children: Charles, born in 1948, and Anne, born in 1950.
Two more children came later: Andrew, born in 1960, and Edward, born in 1964.
There have been no shortage of firsts in her family and personal life as well. That Charles and Diana's 1981 wedding was a fairytale is unsurprising but that the marriages of three of her children would be troubled was devastating to her.
She called 1992 her 'annus horribilis' when the marriages of Charles, Anne and Andrew all fell apart and her castle in Windsor was badly burnt in a fire.
She went on to survive global shock and criticism of the monarchy in the wake of Diana's 1997 death; then went on in the almost two decades since to turn around perception of the monarchy.
She's seen her grandson William marry a 'commoner' and the birth of two great-grandchildren.
And while bets are always on about the chances of her abdicating - there is no reason to believe she won't hold her reign to the end.
'It's possible going forward if she wasn't feeling particularly well or was physically infirm that her son Prince Charles could act as regent,' Royal biographer Robert Jobson said. 'Nobody is saying she would abdicate.'
In the almost 64 years she's been Queen, Elizabeth has visited 132 countries, posed for 139 portraits and given thousands of speeches - but has never given an interview. Her private life, therefore, is entirely the subject of speculation rather than fact.
Very rare revelations from palace insiders have documented her love of crossword puzzles and a Dubonnet and gin before lunch.
They do nothing to lessen the mystique of one of the world's most complex public figures.
Text by Priyata Brajabasi.