Celebrations mark Queen's 90th birthday


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Celebrations are taking place around the country on the day the Queen turns 90.

Crowds lined the streets in Windsor as the monarch took part in a walkabout, and royal gun salutes have been fired from each of the UK’s capital cities.

The Prince of Wales recorded a special radio broadcast for the day, in which he read an edited passage from William Shakespeare’s Henry VIII.

On Twitter, the Queen thanked senders of “#HappyBirthdayYourMajesty” tweets.

Follow the day’s live events as Queen turns 90

In another tweet, the Queen said: “I send my best wishes to those who are celebrating their 90th birthday…on this shared occasion, I send my warm congratulations to you.”

The Queen, who was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh during her walkabout in Windsor, was presented with a birthday cake at the Guildhall by the Great British Bake Off champion Nadiya Hussain, who had created an orange drizzle cake with a butter cream and marmalade filling.

The monarch unveiled a plaque marking The Queen’s Walkway – a 6.3km trail that links 63 significant points in Windsor.

The trail was designed to recognise the moment the monarch broke the record on 9 September 2015 held by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria by being on the throne for 63 years and seven months.

The Queen will light symbolic beacons in Windsor later.

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The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh travelled the streets of Windsor in an open top Range Rover

Most of the gun salutes were due to be 21 shots – the standard royal gun salute – at locations including Hillsborough Castle, Cardiff Castle, and Edinburgh Castle.

In London, the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery staged a 41-gun salute at midday in Hyde Park. And the Honourable Artillery Company will fire a 62-gun salute across the Thames from the Tower of London at 13:00 BST.

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The Queen met well-wishers in Windsor

The Queen had been “a rock of strength for our nation” and the Commonwealth, Prime Minister David Cameron said, as he and fellow politicians paid tribute in the House of Commons.

Mr Cameron said: “Her Majesty The Queen has lived through some extraordinary times in our world.

“From the Second World War… to the rations with which she bought the material for her wedding dress.

“From presenting the World Cup to England at Wembley in 1966 to man landing on the moon three years later.

“From the end of the Cold War to peace in Northern Ireland.

“Throughout it all, as the sands of culture shift and the tides of politics ebb and flow, Her Majesty has been steadfast – a rock of strength for our nation, for our Commonwealth and on many occasions for the whole world.”

The reading by Prince Charles, which has been broadcast by the BBC, is an extract from a speech by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer to King Henry VIII after the birth of the future Queen Elizabeth I.

Media captionPrince Charles pays Shakespearean tribute to the Queen

Earlier, a photograph was released showing the monarch with young members of the Royal Family.

The image, one of three taken by celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz, shows the Queen surrounded by her five great-grandchildren and her two youngest grandchildren.

The other Leibovitz photographs show the monarch walking in the grounds of Windsor Castle with four of her dogs and sitting with her daughter, the Princess Royal.

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Annie Leibovitz/PA

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The Queen with her great-grandchildren and youngest grandchildren. From left: James, Viscount Severn; Lady Louise Windsor; Mia Tindall (holding the Queen’s handbag); Princess Charlotte; Savannah Phillips; Prince George and Isla Phillips

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Annie Leibovitz/PA

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The Queen on steps at the rear of the East Terrace and East Garden with her four dogs, her corgis Willow and Holly and dorgis Vulcan and Candy

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Annie Leibovitz/PA

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One of the pictures is an informal shot of the Queen with her daughter, Princess Anne

The image of the Queen with the young royals was taken in the Green Drawing Room, part of Windsor Castle’s semi-State apartments just after Easter.

In it, the Queen – in the tradition of royal portraiture – holds her youngest great-grandchild Princess Charlotte, who is 11 months old, in her arms.

Also appearing in the image is two-year-old Prince George, Zara Phillips’s two-year-old daughter Mia Tindall, who holds the Queen’s famous black handbag, and Peter Phillips’s daughters Savannah, five, and three-year-old Isla.

The Queen is also joined by the two youngest of her eight grandchildren – the Earl and Countess of Wessex’s children – James, Viscount Severn, eight, and Lady Louise Windsor.

Queen’s 90th: What’s happening and when?

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Getty Images

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Monarchy fans were out early in Windsor, waiting for the Queen’s walkabout

  • 21 April – The Queen will unveil a plaque on Windsor’s Queen’s Walkway, before lighting the first of a chain of beacons. Gun salutes will also be held across the UK
  • 12-15 May – Celebrations featuring hundreds of horses and performers in the grounds of Windsor Castle
  • 10 June – A national service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral
  • 11 June – The annual Trooping the Colour at Horse Guards Parade
  • 12 June – The Queen will host a street party for 10,000 people in the Mall

Full details of Queen’s birthday celebrations

In pictures: The Queen at 90 in 90 images

iWonder – Britain’s longest reigning monarch

Full coverage: The Queen at 90

Highest peaks

In the evening the Queen will be accompanied by Prince Philip, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, as she lights the first of more than 900 beacons across the UK and the world to mark her birthday.

Members of the Army cadet force will take beacons to the top of the highest peaks of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Some of the beacons will be specially-built gas-fuelled structures, while others will be traditional bonfires or braziers on top of tall wooden posts.

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AFP/Getty Images

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Well-wishers gathered in Windsor ahead of the Queen’s walkabout

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Crowds lined the streets in Windsor

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BBC correspondent Christian Fraser spotted a London Underground tribute to the Queen at just the right moment

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Getty Images

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These fans travelled to Windsor from Wales

To coincide with the Queen’s birthday, the largest exhibition of the Queen’s clothes and accessories ever shown in Scotland will open at the Palace of Holyroodhouse later.

The display has been selected to cover the Queen’s life and reign and includes evening and day wear.

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The largest exhibition of the Queen’s clothes and accessories ever shown in Scotland will open at the Palace of Holyroodhouse

On Friday, US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will be joining the Queen for lunch at Windsor Castle.

The Queen each year celebrates two birthdays, with her actual birthday on 21 April and her official birthday on a Saturday in June.

Celebrations of her official birthday this year take place from 10-12 June.

  • The Prince of Wales’s reading from Shakespeare was broadcast at 07:20 GMT (08:20 BST) on BBC World Service radio and at about 08:40 BST on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Queen Elizabeth II at 90

  • The Queen has been married for 68 years, longer than any other British monarch
  • Her coronation was the first to be televised and was watched by over 20 million people in the UK
  • There have been 12 UK prime ministers, seven Archbishops of Canterbury and seven Popes during her reign
  • She has sat for more than 130 official portrait paintings
  • During her reign, she has visited 117 countries, travelling more than a million miles
  • In 2012 she became the second British monarch to celebrate a diamond jubilee, and in 2015 became the UK’s longest reigning monarch

Find out more about Queen Elizabeth II on BBC iWonder

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