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Happy Birthday, Your Majesty!

On April 21, 2016, the Queen of the United Kingdom celebrates her 90th birthday. This jubilee is the main event of the year of 2016 for the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations.

In all of Britain at noon there will be salutes in honour of Her Majesty. The longest one will include twenty-one gun salvoes.

On her birthday, Queen Elizabeth II with her 94-year old spouse Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip will open a new walking route in Windsor Park – the Queen’s Walkway, 6.3 kilometres long, guiding through 63 significant landmarks in the life of the Head of the dynasty those walking on it. The figure has not been chosen at random; from the time of the official coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, which took place on June 2 of 1952, 63 full years have passed. Moreover, the Queen has been actually reigning for 64 years and 74 days – from February 6 of 1952.

Her Majesty and her husband will also open a commemorative plate. Then, a meeting of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip with the Queen’s contemporaries is expected to take place – she will meet with the British subjects who will also celebrate their 90th birthday this year.

The second key event is planned for the night of April 21; in honour of her birthday, the Queen will light a symbolic fire on one of the beacons at Windsor, and after that, over a thousand beacons will be lit all throughout the country.

The oldest son of the Queen, Prince Charles of Wales is also expected to deliver a little speech. Following the official part, there will be a dinner at Windsor Castle, during which the Queen will be congratulated by her close relatives.

A well-known American photographer Annie Leibovitz specializing in the celebrities’ portraits, made a few shots of the Queen for her birthday, according to BBC. In one of the photographs Her Majesty is sitting in her rooms surrounded by her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Her Majesty in Her rooms surrounded by grandchildren and great grandchildren

Her Majesty in Her rooms surrounded by grandchildren and great grandchildren

Queen of the United Kingdom Elizabeth II with her grandchildren and great grandchildren in the Green Drawing Room of the Windsor Castle.

On the photo: Eight-year-old James Windsor, Viscount Severn, (left) and twelve-year old Lady Louise Windsor (second from the left)) – children of Prince Edward, Count of Wessex, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II, and his wife Sophie. Mia Tindall (with the Queen’s handbag) – is a two-year-old daughter of Zara Phillips, the oldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, and her husband Mike Tindall. Five-year-old Savannah (third on the right) and three-year-old Isla (right) are daughters of Peter Phillips, the eldest grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II, and his wife Autumn. Two-year old Prince George (second on the right) and Princess Charlotte, eleven months old, (on the Queen’s lap) are the children of William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. According to the tradition, the place on the Queen’s lap is occupied by her youngest grandchild.

The photograph was made public by the Buckingham Palace on the occasion of the 90th Jubilee of the Queen on April 20, 2016.

The Queen of the United Kingdom Elizabeth II was born in London on April 21, 1926, to the family of the Duke and Duchess of York. Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, as the future Queen was named at her birth, belongs to the Windsor dynasty. She was the elder daughter of George, the Duke of York, who would become the King of the United Kingdom George VI (1895-1952), and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (1900-2002).

Elizabeth received good home education; apart from regular school subjects she was taught the basics of economy, jurisprudence, and constitutional law. The educational program also included lessons of horse-riding, dances, and music. She was introduced to the court etiquette by her mother.

After the abdication of her uncle – king Edward VIII and her father’s succession to the throne in December of 1936, 10-year-old Elizabeth became the heir to the British throne. Preparing herself to the political life, the future Queen took lessons on the history of Constitution and Law at the Eton College.

In 1940, during the World War II, Elizabeth was evacuated to the Windsor Castle, where she spent most of the war years.

Her first public address on the radio, delivered in October of 1940, she devoted to the children of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, who suffered because of the war that had begun.

In 1944, Elizabeth was appointed a Counsellor of State, and since that time she could fulfil some of the functions of the monarch, in case of the absence of George VI.

In the beginning of 1945, Elizabeth joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service and received the training as a car driver and mechanic at the military-transport training centre. Elizabeth finished the war in the rank of honorary junior commander.

On November 20, 1947, Elizabeth married her distant relative, who, like her, was a great-great grandchild of Queen Victoria, – Prince Philip Mountbatten, son of Greek Prince Andrew, who was an officer of the British Navy at that time. After becoming her spouse, Philip received the title of the Duke of Edinburgh.

On February 6, 1952, King George VI died of lung sickness, and Elizabeth, who was on vacation with her husband in Kenya, on the same day was proclaimed Queen of the United Kingdom.

On June 2, 1953, the official ceremony of Elizabeth’s coronation took place at the Westminster Abbey in London. Since that time, she is Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the State of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and she is also the Queen of 15 countries of the Commonwealth (Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu), Head of the Anglican Church, Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces, and Lord of the Isle of Man (Lord of Mann).

From May 29, 1953, until May 31, 1961, Elizabeth was also the Queen of South Africa.

Queen Elizabeth II fulfils only representative functions, having almost no influence on the country’s politics. She participates in the annual ceremony of the opening of the Parliament, meets with high state officials, receives foreign ambassadors and delegations, makes official visits to other countries.

On September 9, 2015, Queen Elizabeth set the record of holding the crown of the United Kingdom. She became the oldest monarch in the history of the country, and the longest-ruling monarch.

Queen of the United Kingdom has four children: the throne heir – her elder son Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales (born in 1948); Princess Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise (born in 1950); Prince Andrew Albert Christian Edward, Duke of York (born in 1960); Prince Edward Antony Louis, Earl of Wessex (born in 1964).

In 2012, in honour of the 60th Jubilee of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, the clock tower Big Ben near the building of the Parliament in London was officially renamed into the Elizabeth’s Tower.

In 2013, the Olympic Park named after Queen Elizabeth II was opened for visitors in London.

Queen Elizabeth II usually celebrates her birthday among her family. According to the tradition, established in the beginning of the 20th century by King Edward VII, the monarch’s birthday is celebrated in Great Britain on one of the Saturdays in June (the king chose this date because in June the weather cannot spoil the nationwide holiday).

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