Queen's birthday to go ahead without gun salute or official portrait

19 April 2021, 11:10

The Queen will celebrate her birthday without her husband
The Queen will celebrate her birthday without her husband. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

The Queen's birthday celebrations will go ahead but without the traditional gun salute or official portrait following the death of her husband the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Queen will turn 95 on Wednesday - just four days after Prince Philip's funeral service in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

Her real birthday, on 21 April, will be a quieter occasion than usual, and the first without her husband in 73 years.

The usual full week of celebratory occasions will be toned down to reflect a period of mourning for the royal family.

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It is also reported that Prince Harry could extend his stay in the UK to spend the day with his grandmother but not official announcement has yet been made.

The Queen plans to stay at Windsor with around 20 staff members - known as HMS Bubble.

Buckingham Palace said it is considering options for a parade in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle instead of the traditional Trooping the Colour event, which has been been cancelled for the second year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It is the second year such celebrations have been quieter than usual, with the monarch opting last year to spend her birthday holding private video calls with family members due to the outbreak.

READ MORE: Prince Philip's 'unwavering loyalty' to Queen hailed at funeral

Gun salutes and the bells of Westminster Abbey - the church where she was married and crowned - stayed silent for the first time in more than a decade in 2020, and will do so again this year.

Also celebrating a birthday this week is the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's youngest son Prince Louis, who turns three on Friday.

It follows the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral, much of which was dedicated to his "unwavering loyalty" to the Queen.

Dressed in black and wearing a face mask, she sat alone while the congregation wore masks and socially distanced in line with coronavirus rules.

Elizabeth II has reigned for 69 years and faces the remainder of her time on the throne without her husband at her side.

A national minute's silence was held from 3pm as the service got under way at Windsor Castle.