Crowds gathered to watch gun salutes marking the 64th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne.

Cannons were fired in public as the Queen, now the longest reigning monarch in British history, in line with her usual desire appeared to mark Accession Day in private.

It commemorates the start of her reign, which began on the death of her father, King George VI.

Asshe does most years, the Queen is likely to be reflecting on the anniversary of her father’s death in private at Sandringham, where she has been staying for her annual winter break.

George VI died in his sleep at Sandringham House on the royal estate in Norfolk on February 6 1952 after suffering from lung cancer.

Princess Elizabeth, who was just 25, was thousands of miles away in Kenya on a Commonwealth tour with the Duke of Edinburgh when she learned of his death. She returned home a queen.

A 41-gun salute has been fired by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery in London’s Green Park and a 62-gun salute by the Honourable Artillery Company at the Tower of London.