Queen Elizabeth II celebrates 96th birthday privately

LONDON – Queen Elizabeth II will mark her 96th birthday privately on Thursday, retreating to the Sandringham estate in eastern England, which provided the monarch and her late husband Her grandmother, Prince Philip, took refuge from the affairs of the state.

Elizabeth is expected to spend the day at the estate’s Wood Farm cottage, a personal sanctuary, where she also spent her first Christmas since Philip’s death in April 2021. Philip loves the house, in part because it’s near the sea, she said in February. while holding a rare public event at Sandringham.

Emily Nash, royal editor of HELLO!.

The birthday comes during the queen’s platinum year, marking her 70th year on the throne. While Thursday will be the focal point, public celebrations will take place from June 2-5, when four days of festivities are scheduled to coincide with the monarch’s official birthday.

The day marks another milestone in a tumultuous time for the monarch, who has sought to bolster the monarchy’s future amid signs of her age and controversies in the past. family. After recovering from a bout of COVID-19 earlier this year, the queen’s public appearances have been limited by unspecified “movement issues”. Prince Andrew’s multimillion-pound settlement with a woman who accuses him of sexual exploitation has also made unwanted headlines for the Royal Family.

But the queen received an early birthday treat last week, when grandson Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, made their first joint visit since they left front-line royal duties and moved to California in 2020. Harry, in an interview with NBC, said his grandmother was “in great shape,” though he added that he wanted to make sure she was “protected” and have “the right people around her.”

Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, Elizabeth, has spent most of the past two years at Windsor Castle, west London, where she has taken refuge during the pandemic.

More than a year has passed since the death of Philip, her partner of more than 70 years.

The Queen said her goodbyes during a small funeral service at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The coronavirus restrictions come at a time of limiting service to 30 mourners and forcing the king to sit alone – a poignant reminder of how she will spend the rest of her years.

Last month, as the pandemic was intensifying and restrictions were eased, the queen gave up recent health problems to attend a thanksgiving service for Philip at Westminster Abbey, entering the abbey on the wing. the hand of Andrew, her second son.

Her choice of escort was seen as a vote in favor of Andrew following his legal settlement.

But direct appearances are rare. The Queen is increasingly counting on Prince Charles to take part in public affairs during the twilight of her reign, most recently giving alms to elderly citizens during the Royal Maundy service at St. . George.

Charles has taken on the traditional task of distributing specially minted coins to pensioners who are being recognized for their service to the church and local community.

This year, 96 men and 96 women have received the amount, one penny for each year of the queen’s life.

“She has a lot of work to do over the next few months, so it makes perfect sense for her to enjoy her birthday quietly, privately at Sandringham,” Nash said. “But this is really someone whose focus is still on the future, even at 96.”

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