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 celebrates a historic Platinum Jubilee this year, was pictured with two white ponies in a photo released for the occasion.
U.K. 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 over concerns about her health.
She travelled from Windsor Castle, west of London, to spend her birthday at her estate in Sandringham, Norfolk.
In celebration of the monarch’s birthday, toymaker Mattel launched a commemorative Barbie doll of the Queen.
Dressed in an ivory gown with a blue sash adorned with miniature medallions and ribbons, the figure also has a tiara based on the one Elizabeth wore on her wedding day.
The doll will be sold in London stores Harrods, Selfridges and Hamleys ahead of the official Platinum Jubilee celebrations in early June.
Several of the Queen’s family members and politicians sent the monarch well wishes online.
Wishing Her Majesty The Queen a very happy 96th birthday today!
— The Prince and Princess of Wales (@KensingtonRoyal) April 21, 2022
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is visiting India, wished the Queen a happy birthday and paid a “heartfelt tribute” to her “70 years of dedicated and faultless service to our country and the Commonwealth” in a video message.
Sending our best wishes to Her Majesty The Queen on her 96th birthday.
We pay tribute to your 70 years of dedicated and faultless service to our country and the Commonwealth. pic.twitter.com/q8NCjVXNff
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) April 21, 2022
Happy Birthday Your Majesty!
Today as The Queen turns 96, we’re sharing this photograph of the young Princess Elizabeth aged 2.
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) April 21, 2022
Wishing Her Majesty The Queen a particularly special 96th birthday today, as we celebrate her Platinum Jubilee year. 🎈 pic.twitter.com/CJSMTjOMBp
— Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) April 21, 2022
Elizabeth became the Queen of Britain and more than a dozen other realms including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, on the death of her father King George VI on Feb. 6, 1952, while she was in Kenya on an international tour.
When she ascended the throne, Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong and Harry Truman were running the Soviet Union, China and the United States, respectively, while Winston Churchill was British prime minister.
— With files from Global News’ Sarah Do Couto
© 2022 Reuters