Queen Elizabeth II turns 91

2017-04-21 09:09
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II attends the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in London. (Kirsty Wigglesworth, AP)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II attends the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in London. (Kirsty Wigglesworth, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 91st birthday on Friday, with the world's longest-reigning monarch taking a step back from royal duties to allow the younger generation to step forward.

A gun salute at London's Tower Bridge and at Hyde Park will mark the Queen's birthday, a notably more low-key affair after a year of festivities to mark her hitting 90.

A thousand beacons were lit around the country on April 21 2016 and other events last year included street parties and a pageant at her Windsor Castle home.

"I'm still alive," the Queen joked in June during a visit to Northern Ireland, one of the numerous engagements filling the royal calendar.

But the ever-popular monarch has begun handing over duties to other royals, standing down as patron of 25 bodies at the end of last year, including the Wimbledon tennis championships.

While her eldest child Prince Charles is heir to the throne, greater attention has fallen on his two sons William and Harry, who have taken on some of the Queen's duties.

The arrival of Prince William and his wife Kate's two children - Prince George and Princess Charlotte - has cemented the country's positive view of the royal family.

Prince Harry is also admired, receiving widespread acclaim this week for speaking out about seeking counselling years after his mother's death when he was a child.

Reforming the royals

The Queen was instrumental in bringing the royals into modern times, after ascending to the throne in 1952 as Britain's empire was in sharp decline. 

She made this vow on turning 21. 

 

One of the most testing periods for the monarch came during the 1990s. The Queen dubbed 1992 her "annus horribilis" after the marriages of three of her four children broke down and Windsor Castle was badly damaged in a fire.

Five years later she faced the wrath of the British public when Princess Diana died and the Queen chose to stay at her estate in Scotland rather than return to London.

Buckingham Palace has since been careful to avoid such clashes with the Queen's subjects.

She has remained quiet about political issues including the divisive Brexit referendum and, in January, Prime Minister Theresa May's controversial decision to invite US President Donald Trump for a state visit.

In modernising her family's image and refusing to become political, the Queen has held on to the nation's affection. While generally in good health, she suffered a cold over Christmas and her recovery was watched anxiously.

Despite being followed closely in her public appearances - feeding an elephant at a British zoo this month, for example - she has succeeded in keeping life behind palace doors relatively secret.

While her love of horses and Corgis is well publicised, palace insiders have revealed that the Queen's private pastimes include crossword puzzles and a Dubonnet-and-gin cocktail before lunch.

Read more on:    queen elizabeth ii  |  uk

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/Africa
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.