Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 96th birthday in a private ceremony surrounded by her closest relatives at Sandringham Estate in eastern England.
The official celebrations for 70 years on the throne -the Platinum Jubilee- will be held over a four-day bank holiday weekend from 2 June to 5 June. The festivities will include a parade to mark her official birthday, celebrated each year typically on the second Saturday of June.
The Queen has reduced her public appearances, leaving most engagements up to the Prince of Wales, who last replaced her in offering alms to senior citizens at the Royal Maundy service at St. George’s Chapel. The future King Charles took on the traditional task of distributing specially minted coins to pensioners for service to the church and the local community. This year, 96 men and 96 women received the coins, one for each year of the Queen’s life.
The royal family has shaken once again after Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Charles' second son, released another somewhat controversial interview with US media during which he mentioned the right people surrounding Her Majesty.
Other senior royals paid tribute to the monarch they find inspirational in other, more conventional fashion.
The Sussexes had visited the Queen during Easter weekend. Harry had said his grandmother was on great form.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shared a picture of them with the Queen, and one with the monarch's great-grandchildren. The Instagram post read: Wishing Her Majesty The Queen a very happy 96th birthday today! An inspiration to so many across the UK, the Commonwealth, and the world, it's particularly special to be celebrating in this Platinum Jubilee year.
Prince Charles shared a series of images of his mother's extraordinary reign, writing: Wishing Her Majesty The Queen a particularly special 96th birthday today, as we celebrate her Platinum Jubilee year.
The Queen has also received birthday wishes from Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.
A tweet from the Royal Family account shared a black-and-white picture taken in 1928 when the future monarch was aged 2. It was never expected she would be Queen, and this year Her Majesty is celebrating her #PlatinumJubilee - a first in British history, the posting read.
To mark the occasion, the Royal Windsor Horse Show released an image of the monarch taken last month at Windsor Castle, with the Queen flanked by two ponies, called Bybeck Nightingale and Bybeck Katie, that will both take part in the show's tribute to the monarch.
The Changing of the Guard went ahead as usual at 11.00 am, but it took place at Windsor Castle rather than Buckingham Palace to mark the day.
Elizabeth II's 96th birthday has also been marked by the release of a limited edition of a Barbie doll of the Queen.