Queen Elizabeth II and her family yesterday marked her official 90th birthday with a parade, a colorful military ceremony and an appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony.
The queen and her husband, Prince Philip, joined the Trooping the Color parade, traveling by vintage carriage. Other senior royals also traveled by carriage along the parade route.
Large crowds marked the queen’s milestone and enjoyed the procession, featuring more than 1,500 soldiers and officers, and several hundred horses.
Later, the royal couple led the family onto the palace balcony to wave to the throngs, as Royal Air Force jets and some vintage World War II planes flew overhead.
The festivities continue today with a massive street party in front of the palace. The palace has invited roughly 10,000 people who work at charities supported by the queen to the open-air festivities.
Street parties are also to be held in many towns and cities throughout Britain and in other Commonwealth nations.
If it seems like Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 90th birthday just a few months ago, that is because she did. On April 21, to be exact, when much of Britain joined together to praise her long and constant reign.
However, in the arcane ways of the British monarchy, that does not stop her from marking the event again with three days of festivities that started on Friday with pomp, pageantry and prayer at St Paul’s Cathedral.
The British sovereign has two birthdays each year: one on the actual date of their birth and the other one in early June, when London’s royal parks usually bask in sunshine.
The service on Friday — which coincided with a 41-gun salute to honor Prince Philip on his actual 95th birthday — included other 90-year-old speakers. Among them were naturalist David Attenborough, who read from the works of 90-year-old Paddington Bear creator Michael Bond, and Hilda Price, a woman born on the same day as the queen.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, set the tone by reminding Britain of the queen’s long life and dedicated service.
“We look back on Your Majesty’s 90 years in the life of our nation with deep wonder and profound gratitude,” he said. “Through war and hardship, through turmoil and change, we have been fearfully and wonderfully sustained.”
The monarch, dressed in a primrose yellow coat-dress and matching hat, turned to smile at a crowd of well-wishers singing Happy Birthday as she climbed the cathedral steps.
Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Prince William and his wife, Kate, Prince Harry and dozens of other royals joined politicians and the wider community in a thundering rendition of God Save the Queen.
After the three-day extravaganza, the queen is expected to turn her attention to the horse-racing season and her lengthy summer holiday in Scotland.
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