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Behind the scenes on Accession Day

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As she marks her Diamond Jubilee, view images from the extraordinary life and long reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

msnbc.com and news services— Meticulous preparations were underway for the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery ahead of their inspection on the parade ground before a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park to mark the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II in London.

The 41 gun salute also signifies the official start to the celebrations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and comes after the King's Troop left their barracks in St. John's Wood for the final time.

Accession Day is usually marked quietly because it also marks the anniversary of the death of Elizabeth's father, King George VI. But it drew extra attention Monday because this year marks the queen's Diamond Jubilee celebration. Only Queen Victoria had a longer reign.

In pictures: Queen Elizabeth II marks 60 years on the throne

Oli Scarff / Getty Images

Horse grooming tools used by members of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, left, and A member of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery shaves a horse, right.

Oli Scarff / Getty Images

Gunner Zanna Bateman of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery prepares for an inspection on the parade ground of her barracks in St. John's Wood before departing to fire a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park to mark the 60 anniversary of the accession of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Feb. 6 in London, England.

Oli Scarff / Getty Images

A member of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery checks the six First World War guns in preparation for an inspection on the parade ground of their barracks in St. John's Wood before departing to fire a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park to mark the 60 anniversary of the accession of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Feb. 6.

Oli Scarff / Getty Images

Members of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery prepare for an inspection on the parade ground of their barracks in St. John's Wood before departing to fire a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park to mark the 60 anniversary of the accession of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Feb. 6.

Oli Scarff / Getty Images

Members of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery depart after firing a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park to mark the 60 anniversary of the accession of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Feb. 6.