Queen Elizabeth II Turns 96

Queen Elizabeth II turns 96 years old

Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state of Great Britain and 14 other Commonwealth countries around the world.

London, United Kingdom:

Gun salutes will be heard on Thursday to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 96th birthday, although the king himself is expected to mark the event with a bit of fanfare.

It has been a difficult year for the British royal family, with concerns about the queen’s health and questions about the future of the monarchy.

Circles will be shot from the Tower of London and Hyde Park in the British capital, where a military band will also play “Happy Birthday”.

Royal tradition since the 18th century has also seen the king have an official second birthday, usually celebrated in warmer June.

This year’s official birthday coincides with four days of public events from June 2 to 5 to mark the queen’s 70th record on the throne.

British media reported the queen flew by helicopter from her home in Windsor Castle, west London, to her rural Sandringham estate in eastern England.

There, she is said to be spending time at the cottage where her late husband Prince Philip lived after he retired from public life in 2017.

The Daily Mirror quoted an unnamed royal source as saying the trip was seen as a “positive step” due to the queen’s recent health problems.

Since an unscheduled overnight hospital stay last October, she has cut back on a series of public appearances prescribed by her doctor.

A complaint of her back and difficulties standing and walking has prompted her to call off several engagements, including recent church events to mark Easter.

She told doctors and patients at the Royal London Hospital during a virtual event earlier this month that an outbreak of Covid-19 in February left her “very tired and exhausted”.

But her grandson Prince Harry told US broadcaster NBC in an interview that aired on Wednesday that she was “in great shape” when he met her last week.

The Queen was last seen in public at Westminster Abbey in central London on March 29 during a memorial service for Prince Philip, who passed away last year aged 99.

Health and Inheritance

The queen’s forced withdrawal from public life during her Platinum Jubilee has raised attention to the succession and future of the monarchy.

Her eldest son and heir, Prince Charles, has taken on more maternal responsibilities in preparation to take over the throne.

His popularity has grown in recent years, according to an Ipsos poll of more than 2,000 UK adults in March.

But his 43% approval rating is still behind his mother (69%), eldest son Prince William (64%) and daughter-in-law Kate Middleton (60%).

About 42% of those surveyed also said they believe Charles, 73, should step aside for William, who will turn 40 in June.

Aside from questions about the queen’s health and succession, the royal family rarely appears on the front pages of the newspaper due to a succession of scandals.

Last month, there was controversy after the queen’s disgraced second son, Prince Andrew, supported her at Prince Philip’s memorial service.

In February, he settled a U.S. civil lawsuit for sexual assault that had previously caused him to be stripped of his royal honors and philanthropic roles.

The palace is said to be preparing for fresh revelations about royal life from Harry, who will publish his memoirs later this year.

The former British army captain abandoned the royal line last year and moved to California with his American wife Meghan Markle.

From there, the couple accused the royal family of racism, while Harry claimed that his father Charles and brother William were “trapped” in the system of the British monarchy.

The royal family’s global future is also uncertain.

The Queen is the head of state of England and 14 other Commonwealth countries around the world.

But Barbados became a republic last year and several other Caribbean countries, including Jamaica, have indicated they want to follow suit.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from the syndication feed.)

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