British Queen Elizabeth II was born on April 21st, 1926. That means she is turning 95 today. But there will be no public celebrations in the aftermath of her husband, Prince Philip's death last week after 73 years of marriage.
The monarch is observing a period of mourning until April 23 and under those circumstances Buckingham Palace has chosen to forgo the traditional cannon salute as well as the release of a new picture of Her Majesty's. It will be the second straight silencing of the guns as per the Queen's wishes last year that no special measures were taken while the coronavirus pandemic persisted. Traditionally, the royals would mark the occasion with 41-gun and 21-gun salutes from Windsor Great Park and another 62-gun salute from the Tower of London.
The Queen is reported to have plans for a quiet lunch with close family members at Windsor Castle as speculation mounted on whether her grandson, Prince Harry,would be present or fly straight home instead to California to his pregnant wife, Meghan, and their son Archie. All doubts were cleared by Tuesday evening as the Duke of Sussex was seen deplaning from an American Airlines flight at LAX Airport shortly after 1.30pm local time.
In any case, The Queen usually celebrates her real April 21 birthday in private, while a more colourful occasion is marked on her official birthday in the summer. The event, referred to as Trooping the Colour or the Queen’s Official Birthday Parade, is a moveable feast and is scheduled for June 12 this year, although Buckingham Palace has announced that the event, will not go ahead once again due to the covid-19 pandemic, while plans for an alternative parade are being considered.
To add to the Queen's heartbreak in recent days was the death of her close friend Sir Michael Oswald, Her Majesty's trusted racing adviser, who passed away from a long illness on April 17 aged 86. Sir Michael looked after the Queen and Queen Mother's racing interests for almost 30 years. He was regularly pictured next to the royal at racing events over the years.
The Royal Family is reportedly aware of what may happen to any woman who has lost her husband of 73 years. In 1861, when Prince Albert died, Queen Victoria was so deep in grief that she retreated from the world and spent much of the rest of her life in self-imposed ostracism. But although Elizabeth II is not at all like her great-great-grandmother, there is a plan to support the Queen made up by the female leading figures in the family, including her daughter Princess Anne, daughters-in-law the Duchess of Cornwall and the Countess of Wessex, supported by the Duchess of Cambridge.