February 6th marks the Anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becoming the first queen regnant of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth Realms since Queen Victoria upon the untimely demise of her father, George VI. The traditional 41-gun and 62-gun Royal Salute to mark accession day also took place at noon at Hyde Park Corner and at the Tower of London by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery the Honourable Artillery Company as is tradition on accession day. A Royal Salute is normally 21 guns, but this is increased to 41 if fired from a Royal Residence and 62 rounds are fired from the Tower of London on Royal anniversaries.
On her accession Queen Elizabeth became Head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon. From 1956 to 1992, the number of her realms varied as territories gained independence and some realms became republics. At present, in addition to the first four aforementioned countries, Elizabeth is Queen of Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Kitts and Nevis. Her reign of more than 60 years is currently the second longest for a British monarch; only Queen Victoria has reigned longer at 63 years.