It's Elizabeth II's birthday this Thursday: the Queen of England celebrates her 96th spring
Sylvie Claire / April 21, 2022
Queen Elizabeth II, the world's oldest sitting monarch, turns 96 on Thursday, now largely retired from public life due to mobility problems.
Cannon fire from the Tower of London and Hyde Park will mark the event and a military band will play Happy Birthday for the occasion.
But the queen, who passed the 70th anniversary of her reign in February, will celebrate the day privately, a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman told AFP. She flew Wednesday by helicopter to the royal estate of Sandringham, 200 kilometers north of London.
The first few months of her Platinum Jubilee, which will include four days of highly anticipated festivities in early June, have not been easy, between her health problems, the accusations of sexual assault against her son Andrew - who recently reached a financial settlement with his accuser - and questions about the future of the monarchy and the Commonwealth.
Since a brief hospitalization in October, the monarch's appearances have become rare, although she continues to take on light duties at Windsor Castle, mostly via video conference.
She did not participate in the Easter mass at the castle chapel last Sunday. Many of her scheduled appearances in recent months have been cancelled, sometimes at the last minute.
However, on March 29, she made a point of attending a religious ceremony in Westminster Abbey in tribute to Prince Philip, who died on April 9, 2021 at the age of 99. Arriving on the arm of her son Andrew, leaning on a cane, she was seen walking slowly, standing up several times during the service, and then greeting the participants. But she had not arrived by the main door, to limit her effort.
It was her first major public appearance in months.
She herself had confided in mid-February that she couldn't move, showing her left leg during a hearing in Windsor.