The Queen has marked her official 94th birthday today with a much smaller, socially distanced military ceremony than the traditional Trooping of the Colour.
It is just the second time in her 68-year reign that the extravagant parade, normally watched by thousands of people who gather outside Buckingham Palace in London to catch a glimpse of the royal family on the balcony, has not gone ahead.
Instead, a brief military ceremony was held on the grounds of Windsor Castle, where the Queen has been staying with Prince Philip during the coronavirus lockdown.
The ceremony, which included a series of military drills and salutes, took place entirely within the confines of Windsor Castle, with no viewing positions for the public.
Only a small group of soldiers who are currently on guard at the castle were involved.
The Trooping the Colour has marked the monarch’s official birthday since 1748 and is normally one of the most colourful and fun royal events in the calendar.
It usually involves around 1400 soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians who parade from Buckingham Palace down the Mall to Whitehall, then back again. It culminates with a fly-past over the palace.
The parade was cancelled in March after Britain plunged into lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
“In line with UK Government advice, it had been agreed that The Queen’s Birthday Parade would not go ahead in its traditional form on Horse Guards Parade,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement at the time.
The last time the event was cancelled was in 1955 due to a national rail strike.
The Queen celebrates two birthdays each year: her actual birthday on April 21 and her official birthday on the second Saturday in June.
The Duke of Edinburgh also celebrated his 99th birthday this week, with the palace releasing a new portrait to mark the occasion.
Standing in the quadrangle at Windsor castle, the Queen wore a dress by British fashion designer Angela Kelly, while the Duke of Edinburgh wore a blazer with grey trousers and a tie of the Household Division.
Prince Philip stepped down from his frontline royal duties in May 2017.