Watch: Mourning Queen to mark birthday without Philip for first time during reign
The Queen is to mark her 95th birthday this week – her first birthday without her husband Prince Philip.
Philip died on 9 April, with his funeral held in Windsor Castle last Saturday. The Queen remains in a period of royal mourning until 22 April.
That means she will mark her 95th birthday on Wednesday (21 April) while she and her family are still officially in mourning.
In recent years, the Queen has spent her birthdays privately and this year will be particularly poignant for Her Majesty.
Royal mourning means that limited events and engagements are taken on by the royals, with black armbands worn, and black or dark clothing.
Any correspondence sent from the Palace will be on black edged paper.
It’s also unlikely that there will be a portrait of the Queen released for her birthday this year. In 2020, never before seen footage of the Queen was shared by the Royal Collection Trust.
In years gone by, photographs of the Queen and her family have been shared on her birthday.
This year’s birthday celebrations are not just impacted by the death of Prince Philip.
Ongoing coronavirus restrictions continue to have an affect on what the Queen can do and how her birthday is marked.
For a second year in a row no gun salutes will be fired from the Royal Parks. The annual tradition, by the King’s Horse Artillery, usually takes place in Hyde Park and the Tower of London but the restrictions mean they have had to be called off.
With the exception of Prince Philip’s funeral on 17 April, there have not been any gun salutes for more than a year – since the UK went into lockdown in March 2020.
It’s reported the Queen may be able to have lunch with some members of her family on Wednesday, which could include the Earl and Countess of Wessex, who live nearby.
Royal biographer Ingrid Seward said in 2020 that Prince Philip used to bring his wife flowers on her birthday, often white as those are some of her favourites.
She included white roses in the bouquet which sat on top of his coffin during his funeral.
The Queen is often in Windsor if she is not on tour over her birthday, because she stays there for Easter Court. Her April birthday means she is still there around the same time.
In some years, her birthday has fallen more directly around the Easter weekend, with her 85th birthday coinciding with Maundy Thursday. She and Philip attended a service at Westminster Abbey.
With many a walkabout under her belt, and a red box of government papers to respond to every day, her real birthday has not always meant a day off.
In previous years, the Queen has sometimes taken on an engagement or been on royal tour on her birthday.
In 1954 she was in Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) on her birthday, and in 1988 she was in Australia. In 1999 she and the Duke of Edinburgh were in South Korea.
For her 92nd birthday, a concert was held in Royal Albert Hall. Prince Philip did not attend as he had already retired from public life.
According to the Telegraph, she was not keen for anything too big on her birthday this year, even before the Duke of Edinburgh’s death, as she wanted to keep the focus on his 100th which was due to be on 10 June.
There is likely to be a post on the Royal Family social media on 21 April, to note the day.
Last year the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge used a throwback picture to wish the Queen a happy birthday on their Instagram account. They may choose to avoid a public post this year.
Watch: Queen Elizabeth’s birthday won’t be marked by gun salute