It is official – Britain has kicked off divorce proceedings, to leave the European Union.
Sir Tim Barrow, the UK’s permanent representative to the European Union has handed over a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk, triggering Article 50.
Two years of negotiations now follow, before Britain finally walks away from a marriage that has lasted more than four decades.
“There is no reason to pretend that this is a happy day neither in Brussels nor in London,” said Tusk.
“Paradoxically there is also something positive in the Brexit. Brexit has made us, the community of 27, more determined and more united than before.
“And today I can say that we will remain determined and united also in the future, also during the difficult negotiation ahead.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May, who signed the notification letter on Tuesday, says there is no turning back.
The milestone moment has been a cause for celebration for a group of eurosceptics in Brussels.
They had cake, and ate it, as they reflected on what Brexit could bring.
“The message for Europe is Britain first, everybody else next,” said one of those joining the celebrations.
“I am looking forward to seeing a Frexit, perhaps madame Le Pen will be able to organise that in France. I think the French establishment is starting to worry about what’s going on in France.”
But for the so-called Remainians this is a dark moment in history – those who had hoped Britain and the EU could sort out their differences and look forward to many more years together.