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Thursday, April 21, 2016

QUEEN ELIZABETH II, CELEBRATING BRITAIN’S LONGEST SERVING MONARCH AT 90



Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 90th birthday on Thursday, marking a milestone that drew thousands of well-wishers to the streets near Windsor Castle in honor of Britain’s longest serving monarch. While the queen usually doesn’t like to make a fuss about her birthday, preferring to spend the day privately, she started it by greeting the crowds in the town, accompanied by her 94-year-old husband Prince Philip. At midday royal gun salutes were fired to mark the occasion.

Later she unveiled a plaque marking a self-guided walking trail near the castle, about 20 miles west of London. In the evening, she will light the first of more than a thousand torches and bonfires that will burn across the country in honor of the monarch who has ruled Britain for 64 years.
While Thursday marks her actual birthday, lavish celebrations commemorating the occasion won’t take place until June 10-12, when her birthday is officially celebrated. In June, she and other members of the royal family will attend a birthday procession on Horse Guards Parade, the open square at the foot of St. James’s Park. The next day, she will attend a party on the Mall with 10,000 guests, and pubs across the country will stay open late over the weekend to celebrate the occasion.
Born in London in 1926, Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne when she was 25, following the death of her father, King George VI, who failed to recover from an operation for lung cancer. Her reign has spanned 12 British prime ministers, all of whom she met regularly. Her time on the throne has been marked by difficult moments, including the breakdown of the marriage of her eldest son, Prince Charles, and Princess Diana.
She remains very popular in the U.K. where she is admired for her dedication to her royal duties. She has traveled overseas more often than any other British monarch, though in recent years she has passed on some travel and other responsibilities to Prince Charles, who is next in line to the throne, and Prince William. At home, she frequently hosts official events, including attending ceremonies and receptions.
The celebrations commemorating her birthday will continue tomorrow Friday, when she and Prince Philip are to host a lunch with President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at Windsor Castle.

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