A 41-gun salute has been fired in London's Green Park to mark the Queen's 65 years on the throne.
Gun salutes also took place in Cardiff, Edinburgh and York.
The Queen has become the first British monarch to reach a sapphire jubilee, after becoming the UK's longest-reigning monarch in 2015, aged 89.
A portrait of the Queen by British photographer David Bailey has been reissued for the anniversary.
In the photo, the Queen wears sapphire jewellery given to her by King George VI as a wedding gift in 1947.
The portrait was among a series taken by Bailey in 2014, with one released for the Queen's 88th birthday that year.
The photographer's subjects over the years include Princess Diana, the Beatles, and criminals the Kray twins.
In the portrait, the Queen, who is now 90, wears a necklace made of 16 large oblong sapphires surrounded by diamonds with a matching pair of drop earrings.
Over the years, she has added to the gifts from her father with a tiara and a bracelet to complement the original jewellery.
It is tradition for the Queen to spend the Accession Day - as the anniversary of the day she became monarch is officially known - in private at her Sandringham Estate and return to Buckingham Palace a few days later.
Prime Minister Theresa May offered her congratulations hailing the Queen as "truly an inspiration to all of us".
The prime minister said: "I know the nation will join with me today in celebrating and giving thanks for the lifetime of service Her Majesty the Queen has given to our country and to the Commonwealth."
Mrs May said it was "a testament to her selfless devotion to the nation" that the Queen had made clear she did not want official celebrations to mark the historic milestone.
Longevity for a hereditary head of state has brought many milestones.
Britain's longest reigning monarch - she overtook her great great grandmother, Victoria, in 2015 - has already commemorated her Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees.
Today, after 23,742 days on the throne, it's the start of the first Sapphire Jubilee in British history.
For the Queen, it's a moment for contemplation rather than celebration - as it is also the anniversary of her father's death.
The woman who became Queen in 1952, when butter was still rationed in those post-war years, continues to reign, 65 years on, in a country now fashioning its future outside of the EU.
In the coming months and years, she will, inevitably, do less and other royals will take on more - most notably Prince William, once he finishes his job as an air ambulance pilot in the summer.
The 90-year-old working monarch has another significant moment on the horizon.
In November, she and Prince Philip will mark 70 years of marriage.