The world’s oldest monarch, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, turns 95 on Wednesday, but there will be no public celebrations of an occasion as it comes just days after she bade a sad farewell to her husband of seven decades at his funeral.
Prince Philip, whom Elizabeth married in 1947, died on April 9 at the age of 99. On Saturday at Windsor Castle, the royals paid their final respects to the family’s patriarch at his funeral.
In the light of COVID-19 restrictions, the queen sat alone during the sombre service for Philip, who she had described as her “strength and stay”.
Elizabeth, who is also the world’s longest-reigning monarch, will be at the palace for her birthday, which traditionally passes off with little or no ceremony.
But this year, there will be no gun salutes at the Tower of London nor the capital’s Hyde park which usually occur on the queen’s birthday, as the royals marking two weeks of mourning, it will pass off with the even less public show.
The queen also has an official birthday, which is usually celebrated with greater glory on the second Saturday in June.
Philip’s death has robbed Elizabeth of her most intimate and most trusted confidante, who had been beside her throughout her record-breaking 69-year reign. It also came just as she wrestled with one of the soberest crises to hit the royal family in decades – accusations of racism and neglect by it from her grandson Prince Harry and Meghan, his American wife.
Publications have suggested that family members would be visiting the queen over the coming days to assure she would not be left alone while mourning her late husband.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman declined to comment, saying all family matters after the funeral would be private.
Elizabeth, who was born on April 21, 1926, in Bruton Street, central London, grew up not expecting to become queen. Her father, George VI, only took the crown when his elder brother Edward VIII abdicated in 1936 to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
She ascended to the throne in 1952 at the age of 25, and exceeded her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria as Britain’s longest-reigning monarch in September 2015.
Elizabeth is also the queen of 15 former British colonies including Canada, Australia and New Zealand.