Queen Elizabeth celebrated her 96th birthday at her Sandringham estate on Thursday as gun salutes rang out across London and Windsor and military bands played Happy Birthday.
Britain’s longest-serving monarch, who celebrates a historic Platinum Jubilee this year, was pictured with two white ponies in a photo released for the occasion.
UK government ministers joined members of the royal family in sending their best wishes to the Queen, who has stepped back from most public duties this year over concerns about her health.
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She traveled from Windsor Castle, west of London, to spend her birthday at her estate in Sandringham, Norfolk.
In celebration of the monarch’s birthday, toymaker Mattel launched a commemorative Barbie doll of the Queen.
Dressed in an ivory gown with a blue sash adorned with miniature medallions and ribbons, the figure also has a tiara based on the one Elizabeth wore on her wedding day.
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The doll will be sold in London stores Harrods, Selfridges and Hamleys ahead of the official Platinum Jubilee celebrations in early June.
Several of the Queen’s family members and politicians sent the monarch well wishes online.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is visiting India, wished the Queen a happy birthday and paid a “heartfelt tribute” to her “70 years of dedicated and faultless service to our country and the Commonwealth” in a video message.
Elizabeth became the Queen of Britain and more than a dozen other realms including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, on the death of her father King George VI on Feb. 6, 1952, while she was in Kenya on an international tour.
When she ascended the throne, Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong and Harry Truman were running the Soviet Union, China and the United States, respectively, while Winston Churchill was British prime minister.
– With files from Global News’ Sarah Do Couto