Queen Elizabeth’s 96th birthday marked by gun salutes

Queen Elizabeth celebrated her 96th birthday at her Sandringham estate on Thursday as gun salutes rang out across London and Windsor and military bands played Happy birthday.

Britain’s longest-serving monarch, who is celebrating a historic Platinum Jubilee this year, was pictured with two white ponies in a photo released for the occasion.

Government ministers joined members of the Royal Family in sending their best wishes to the Queen, who has stepped back from most public duties this year due to concerns about her health.

She traveled from Windsor Castle, west London, to spend her birthday at her estate in Sandringham, Norfolk.

Queen Elizabeth poses with her Fell ponies, Bybeck Nightingale, right, and Bybeck Katie, in this photo released by the Royal Windsor Horse Show on Wednesday to mark her 96th birthday. (henrydallalphotography.com/PAWire/Reuters)

“An inspiration to so many across the UK, the Commonwealth and the world, it’s especially special to celebrate this Platinum Jubilee year,” said his grandson, Prince William, and his wife, Kate, on Twitter.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, visiting India, wished the Queen a happy birthday and paid a “heartfelt tribute” to her “70 years of dedicated and unstinting service to our country and the Commonwealth” in a video message.

Ascended to the throne in 1952

Toymaker Mattel has launched a commemorative Barbie doll of the Queen wearing an ivory dress with a blue sash and wearing her wedding tiara to mark the Jubilee.

Mattel has released a Queen Elizabeth Barbie doll to mark the British monarch’s Platinum Jubilee. (Mattel/Reuters)

Elizabeth became Queen of Great Britain and more than a dozen other kingdoms, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, on the death of her father, King George VI, on February 6, 1952. , while in Kenya for an international tour.

The news was told to her by her husband, Prince Philip, who died last year at the age of 99, after more than seven decades by her side.

When she ascended the throne, Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong and Harry Truman ruled the Soviet Union, China and the United States respectively, while Winston Churchill was British Prime Minister.

Elizabeth largely shunned the public spotlight after spending a night in hospital in October with an unspecified illness and being ordered to rest. She tested positive for COVID-19 in February and said she was very tired.

She missed events including the Remembrance Sunday gathering and the Easter service, but joined other family members and dignitaries at a memorial service for her husband at Westminster Abbey in London last month.