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The Queen celebrates 68 years as sovereign

The Queen in a head scarf visits station in Sandringham
The Queen toured Wolferton Pumping Station 72 years and 3 days after her father opened the original station. Photo: WPA Pool/Getty

This week the Queen hit another milestone in her reign having officially served as Monarch for 68 years. Queen Elizabeth is now the fourth longest reigning monarch in history after Johann II of Liechtenstein, Rama IX of Thailand and Louis XIV of France. The Queen has just finished her winter holiday at Sandringham where she typically stays until February at which point she returns to London.

Before officially returning to London, The Queen opened the new Wolferton pumping station on the grounds of Sandringham. King George VI, the Queens father, opened the first station 72 years ago after the Second World War. It was built to allow the surrounding marshlands to be drained and used for farming.

Her Majesty learned about the improvements they have made to be more environmentall friendly. Photo: Adrian Dennis/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Over the past 18 months the new station has been rebuilt to be more environmentally friendly with more regard for the safety and well being of local wildlife. The three pumps are able to drain an Olympic sized swimming pool in only nine minutes and the station has been credited with 'keeping Norfolk's feet dry' for over 70 years.

The Queen was given a tour of the facility and met with staff who were involved in the rebuild. After her tour the Queen officially started the pumps and unveiled a plaque to commemorate the visit which occurred 72 years and three days after the Queens father opened the original station.

Her Majesty will now be returning to London where she will resume her normal work schedule with visits to Windsor Castle nearly every weekend to be with Prince Phillip. As the Queen approaches her 94th birthday, the majority of engagements are diplomatic meetings that occur within the Buckingham Palace. Her calendar of public engagements has slowed down throughout her nineties as the younger generations of royals step up in their roles as representatives of the United Kingdom. xx

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