As all of the United Kingdom gears up for The Queen’s 90th birthday, the focus here at Royal Central is to ensure that you, our readers, don’t miss a single moment of the celebrations. Over the next few days, the team will bring you fun and informative posts about Her Majesty and the events taking place in honour. For now, here is a quick summary of what you can expect from The Queen’s big day.
Just like the day she surpassed Queen Victoria’s record to become the longest reigning monarch, the days leading up to her milestone birthday will be “business as usual” for The Queen. On April 20th, she and the Duke of Edinburgh will pay a visit to the Royal Mail Windsor delivery office in Windsor to mark the 500th anniversary of the postal service. The Queen will then head to Alexandra Gardens, near Windsor Castle, to open a new bandstand.
The Queen’s birthday, April 21st, will begin with a walkabout in Windsor for Her Majesty, who will unveil a plaque the mark The Queen’s Walkway at the foot of Castle Hill. The Queen’s Walkway is a 6.3km walking trail that was set up by the Outdoor Trust to mark Queen Elizabeth becoming the country’s longest reigning monarch last September.
In London, the country’s capital, gun salutes will be fired from the Green Park and the Tower of London, and bells will ring at Westminster Abbey from 1pm. The Queen, accompanied by her husband, and the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, will light the first of The Queen’s 90th Birthday Beacons. Over 1,000 beacons that have been set up across the country and the UK’s overseas territories will be lit on this day to form a string of lights across the land. The lighting of the beacons has been a longstanding royal tradition, and a similar celebration took place for The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
In the evening, it is believed that The Queen will enjoy a private celebration hosted by Prince Charles. In the past, Her Majesty has celebrated her birthday at the Ritz, but it is unknown where this year’s festivities will be held.
On Friday, April 22nd, it will be Her Majesty’s turn to play host as President Barack Obama joins her for lunch on his way back from Saudi Arabia. President Obama had previously recorded a special video message in which he said that he was “glad to be the very first President of the United States to wish a British monarch a happy 90th birthday.” After lunch with The Queen, he will join the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry for dinner at Kensington Palace.
Meanwhile in Gloucestershire, the Gloucestershire Women’s Institute will be decorating the local area on April 23rd, in honour of a “very special WI member” (The Queen is Patron of the WI). The ladies will drape trees, benches and lamp posts with knitting, crochets and colourful yarn.
In all the excitement surrounding The Queen’s birthday, it might be easy to forget another royal girl’s birthday – Princess Charlotte will turn one on May 2nd. However, the Duchess of Cambridge has previously spoken about Her Majesty’s love for her family, and the way in which she watches Princess Charlotte and The Queen will undoubtedly join the Cambridges for her youngest great-granddaughter’s first birthday.
Following a few weeks of calm, there will be grand celebrations at Windsor Castle from May 12th – 15th. “The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration”, a theatrical extravaganza, will be performed at Windsor’s Home Park for four nights. The show tells the story of a monarch who loves horses, and will feature 900 horses and 1,500 performers, including singer Katherine Jenkins. Members of the Royal Family will attend the first three shows in turns, and Her Majesty will go to the final performance on Sunday night. The show will be hosted by Ant and Dec, and broadcast live on ITV.
Celebrations will pick up once again in June, in time for The Queen’s official birthday. On June 10th, which also happens to be the Duke of Edinburgh’s 95th birthday, the Royal Family will join The Queen and Prince Philip at St. Paul’s Cathedral for a thanksgiving service. The service will also be attended by a number of world leaders, and, like the theatrical performance, will be televised.
June 11th is The Queen’s official birthday, which is synonymous with Trooping the Colour. Royal fans will get to witness the spectacular parade and carriage procession, before spotting members of the Royal Family as they gather on the Buckingham Palace balcony to watch the annual flypast.
The end of seven weeks of celebrations will be marked by a mass street party on The Mall on June 12th. The event has been organised by The Queen’s oldest grandchild, Peter Phillips. 10,000 guests, including representatives from charities and organisations of which Her Majesty is patron, will much on traditional British fare while taking in the views of Buckingham Palace.
For a part of the day, The Queen and Prince Philip will sit in a royal box at the Queen Victoria Memorial in front of the Palace to listen to speeches. They will be joined by Prince William and Prince Harry. For members of the public who were not lucky enough to attend the lunch, large screens will be erected in Green Park and St. James’s Park for viewing the festivities. The event will also be broadcast on the BBC.