A Party Fit For A Queen

CBS/The Early Show
The celebration of the 100th birthday of Britain's Queen Mother is under way.

Queen Mother Elizabeth stood outside the gates of her house in London today and heard a military band serenade her with a rendition of Happy Birthday. She has also received a special 100th birthday card from her daughter Queen Elizabeth.

She is headed to Buckingham Palace in a black carriage drawn by four white horses. She is accompanied by her grandson, Prince Charles.

Dedicated royalists in London have been camping out in front of Buckingham Palace ahead of Friday's celebrations. Staunch fans of the Queen Mother settled in for the first of two nights out in the open.

The Queen Mother's usual birthday routine of receiving flowers and gifts at the gates of Clarence House has been changed this year to mark the special occasion of her 100th year.

Instead, Buckingham Palace will be the setting for the main events that will no doubt include a traditional royal appearance on the balcony to cheering crowds.

There will be the band playing Happy Birthday
> as usual - but rather than walking, or taking her famous buggy car, the Queen Mother rode ut in style in an open-top carriage pulled by four whuite horses.

Gardeners outside the palace having been working feverishly to make sure that everything will look perfect for the big day.

And of course there's the royal anniversary memorabilia. And in London, shops selling Queen Mum souvenirs have been doing brisk business.

Canadians are also marking the occasion.

Britain's representative in Canada, Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson, announced Thursday the Queen Mother will receive Canada's highest civilian honor.

She will become Honorary Companion of the Order of Canada. Honorary appointments go to foreigners, and only four have been made to date, including one to former South African President Nelson Mandela.

Canada, once a British colony, still has Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state, though the role is mainly ceremonial.

"This warm and radiant woman is the epitome of all that is regal and admirable. In honoring her, we pay tribute to a lifetime of unswerving devotion to Canadians and all citizens of the Commonwealth," Clarkson said.

In Ottawa and Toronto, 21-gun salutes will be fired for the "Queen Mum" Friday.

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