Celebrations muted as Britain’s Queen Elizabeth turns 94 today
LONDON: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth turned 94 on Tuesday, but the quarantine of coronavirus meant no fanfare to mark the occasion.
Elizabeth, the oldest and longest-running queen in the world, usually spends her birthday in private without much public attention, but the event will be much more subdued this year.
Royal birthdays and anniversaries are usually marked by ceremonial gun salutes, in which blank shots are fired from various locations around London, but the queen thought it would be inappropriate to allow this to go ahead given the circumstances.
Latest government estimates indicate that about 16,000 Britons infected with the latest coronavirus have died in hospital, the world’s fifth-highest total. The country is lockdown in its fourth week, with most businesses closed and residents told to stay home.
The queen is currently spending the day at Windsor Castle in west London, where she was with her 98-year-old husband Prince Philip during the lockout.
On Monday Philip made a speech to thank those involved in the response to the coronavirus outbreak, a remarkable occurrence since he withdrew from public life three years ago.
Born on 21 April 1926 in Bruton Road, central London, Elizabeth grew up not wanting to become a queen. Only when his elder brother Edward VIII abdicated in 1936 to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson did her father, George VI, take the throne.
At the age of 25, Elizabeth ascended to the throne in 1952 and in September 2015 she succeeded her great-grandmother Queen Victoria as the longest reigning monarch in Britain.