Queen’s birthday plans revealed
Queen Elizabeth II will celebrate her 95th birthday on Wednesday, as the longest-reigning English monarch in history.
Her birthday this week will mark the first of her celebrations without her husband and consort, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, by her side after he passed away on April 9 aged 99.
Married to the Queen for 74 years, the Duke of Edinburgh was the longest serving consort in British history.
His passing was marked on Saturday by a church service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, attended by 30 members of the the Royal Family, including the Queen who was isolated through social distancing from the other guests.
The Royal website posted instructions for a National Mourning that will for the Royal Family continue beyond the nation's designated date, and affect how the Queen observes her birthday this year:
"Additionally, it is The Queen's wish that the Royal Family will observe two weeks of Royal Mourning starting on Friday 9 April. Royal Mourning will be observed by Members of the Royal Family and their Households, together with troops committed to Ceremonial Duties. During this period, Members of the Royal Family will continue undertaking engagements appropriate to the circumstances. Mourning bands will be worn where appropriate."
Queen Elizabeth II was born on April 21, 1926, the eldest child of King George VI and his wife, the Queen Mother Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.
On 6 February 1952, Elizabeth, aged just 25, ascended to the throne after the sudden death of her father, King George.
There are public celebrations for the Queen's birthday held in June, namely, The Queen's Official Birthday Parade, also known as Trooping the Colour, but this year, like last, will see a change in arrangements.
The Queen chose to have her public birthday celebration in June rather than in April to follow in the tradition of her forebear, King George II, who chose that month due to the better weather.
This year for her private celebration of her actual birth date, the Queen will celebrate with a select family members, following Britain's current COVID-19 restrictions on limited indoor gatherings.
According to Britain's current rules, "You must not meet indoors with anybody you do not live with, unless you have formed a support bubble with them (if you are eligible), or another legal exemption applies."
Two households may meet outdoors. "This means, for example, that you and your support bubble can meet with another household, even if the group is more than 6 people," the rules state.
This is likely to involve a quiet lunch service at Windsor Castle with close family only seated at an appropriate distance of 6 feet apart.
According to numerous sources, Prince Harry will possibly delay his return to the US so that he can celebrate his grandmother's 95th birthday.
Some insiders say the Queen has forgone some usual customs, for example, she has declined to have a new portrait painted of her.
As with last year's birthday it is thought the Queen will also decline to have the customary gun salutes in Hyde Park and the Tower of London.
The gun salute is incompatible with the period mourning the loss of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.
Official social media accounts for the Royal Family are expected to mark the occasion with special posts.
Originally published as Queen's birthday plans revealed