The Queen usually passes her April birthday quietly, either going about her business as usual or spending the day privately. In 2011 the day fell on Maundy Thursday, so she attended the Royal Maundy Service; in 2012, she spent the day at the Newbury Races. It's the landmark birthdays that inspire the big celebrations, and snippets of those are our flashback topic today.
Video: Excerpt from the 21st birthday speechThe Queen's 21th birthday, in 1947, occurred during a family tour of South Africa. Wearing a simple double strand of pearls, she gave what would become one of her most famous speeches.
|Left: 50th birthday. Center: 60th. Right: 70th.|
In contrast, by 2006 the monarchy was in a much better place in terms of public opinion, and the festivities for the Queen's 80th birthday spanned the whole year. Multiple occasions took on a special birthday theme, but (as with all the years shown here), we'll only attempt to capture a few here.
|80th Birthday Walkabout|
|Dinner at Kew Palace|
|L to R: Lunch for fellow 80-year-olds, opening birthday cards, St. George's Chapel service|
|L to R: BBC visit, St. Paul's service, Children's Party, Commonwealth luncheon|
|L: Windsor Horse Show dinner, R: Ritz party|
There were more formal occasions, too, including a special dinner during the Windsor Horse Show, which she attended wearing her Sapphire Tassel Demi-Parure and various sapphire rings. She chose sapphires too for an event to finish out the birthday year: a private party for family and friends held at the Ritz in December. She wore her most impressive sapphires, the George VI and Modern Sapphire Set (earrings, necklace, and bracelet), and also some sapphire rings.
Today (2013), the Queen marks her 87th birthday. She's spending the day privately, but that won't stop us from wishing her a very happy birthday and many happy returns!
Photos: Royal Collection/PA/Corbis/Getty Images