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queen elizabeth II celebratees her birthday in sandringham

Queen Elizabeth, the UK’s longest-reigning monarch arrived at her Norfolk home via helicopter, where she will be joined by relatives and friends. She is anticipated to stay in a bungalow on the estate that her late husband, Prince Philip, particularly enjoyed. To commemorate the occasion, a portrait of the Queen with two ponies was released, demonstrating her lifelong passion for horses.

Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 96th birthday

The photograph was shot at Windsor Castle, where the Queen now spends much of her time, and shows her with two Fell ponies that will compete in the Royal Windsor Horse Show later this year.

In a recent interview with a US television station, Prince Harry speculated that the Queen may be downplaying this latest milestone, adding that “birthdays get boring after a certain age.” She will, however, be spending time at Wood Farm, a farmhouse described by previous maid Teresa Thompson as “small and intimate” and with significant ties to Prince Philip, who died just over a year ago.

When the Queen celebrated her accession to the throne in 1952, she was at Sandringham earlier this year. She was born in a London townhouse on Bruton Street in 1926, not in a royal residence, but with her father and mother, who later became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 96th birthday

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer have sent birthday greetings, and cannon salutes will be fired. The Queen has been suffering from mobility issues in recent months and has had to miss a number of engagements, including Easter church services. Outside of her own homes or on video, her only public appearance this year was at the Thanksgiving Service for Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey.

In a year in which she has become the first monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee of 70 years on the throne, the Queen’s 96th birthday marks yet another milestone for a British monarch.

Queen Victoria and George III, the only other monarchs to live into their 80s, were the next longest-lived monarchs, both living to the age of 81.

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