Queen Elizabeth’s 96th birthday marked with gun salute

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

Britain’s longest-serving monarch, who is celebrating a historic platinum anniversary this year, was pictured with two white ponies in a photo released to mark the occasion.

Government ministers joined members of the royal family in sending their best wishes to the Queen, who has relinquished most public duties this year over health concerns.

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

“An inspiration to so many in the UK, Commonwealth and the world, it is very special to celebrate this platinum anniversary year,” her grandson Prince William and his wife Kate said on Twitter.

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

Took the throne in 1952

Toymaker Mattel launched a commemorative Barbie doll of the Queen, dressed in an ivory dress with a blue sash and wearing her wedding tiara to celebrate the anniversary.

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

Elizabeth became the Queen of Great Britain and more than a dozen other realms, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, upon the death of her father, King George VI, on February 6, 1952, while she was 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 the Prime Minister of Great Britain.

Elizabeth has largely avoided the public spotlight after spending a night in hospital in October for an unspecified condition and having to rest. She tested positive for COVID-19 in February and said she was very tired.

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

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