An exhibition of 60 rare photographs and portraits chronicling the life of Queen Elizabeth's 60 years on the throne is on display at the Windsor Castle to mark her Diamond Jubilee.

The exhibition entitled "The Queen: 60 Photographs for 60 Years" presents a portrait of the queen's reign as captured in fleeting moments on both official occasions and at relaxed family gatherings.

It celebrates her 60 years as sovereign, from the early years of her reign in the 1950s to the present day. This is mainly through a wide-ranging selection of images, illustrating both key events in her remarkable life and more informal family occasions.

"What we wanted to do was focus on three main areas: the queen as head of state performing her official duties, as well as the Queen with her family and also pursuing her own interests," Lisa Heighway, curator of photographs at the Royal Collection told

It was in February 1952 that Elizabeth was proclaimed the queen throughout her realms after the death of her father George VI. However, the coronation took place in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953.

With the completion of 60 years of reign, Queen Elizabeth II thereby becomes the second longest serving monarch after Queen Victoria who ruled for 63 years.

The current exhibition, which runs till 28 October, 2012, captures important moments from the queen's life throughout her 60 years of reign.

The Art Daily reported that included in the collection was a rare picture from 2005 capturing the queen and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in silhouette at Lady Thatcher's 80th birthday celebrations. Photographs taken around the United Kingdom show The Queen's personal involvement in the life of the nation through her many regional visits, most often accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh.

In addition to her many state visits, the collection features images showcasing the queen pursuing her natural interests like her love for equestrianism. Queen Elizabeth has been a patron of the Royal Windsor Horse Show and has also attended the annual Royal Ascot event every summer since 1945.