Queen Elizabeth turns 95 today, but this birthday is an understandably bittersweet occasion as she continues to mourn the recent passing of her husband, Prince Philip.
Elizabeth technically has two birthdays each year: First the day she was born, April 21, and then an “official” birthday on the second Saturday of June. The latter is when we’re used to seeing the whole family gather on their balcony for the Trooping of the Colour, but she tends to keep her real birthday much quieter.
Today it is an even more muted affair with it being just a few days after Philip’s funeral and the first time in more than seven decades that Elizabeth is celebrating without him at her side. According to People, one tradition is noticeably absent as she continues to mourn: There wasn’t a new portrait of the monarch shared to mark the milestone, something they typically do for any royal family member’s birthday.
The Telegraph reports that she is also going without the customary gun salutes that are usually fired off at midday in her honor. Elizabeth skipped this tradition last year as well in order to avoid making “special measures” amidst the pandemic. The June 2020 festivities were also more subdued for the same reason and will be again with an “alternative parade” in the works for later this year.
However, 95 is still worth a celebration and Elizabeth is likely to at least have a small gathering with close family members for lunch. Although Prince Harry has flown home to be with his pregnant wife, Meghan Markle, and son, Archie, we’re sure that Elizabeth appreciates being surrounded by some of her loved ones more than ever this year.
We hope that she is also able to enjoy a slice of her annual chocolate birthday cake. In fact, considering her former chef, Darren McGrady, describes Elizabeth as a “chocoholic,” we say she should get as many sweet treats as she’d like.