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Buckingham Palace releases rare images of the queen as a young girl

LONDON -- Buckingham Palace has released black-and-white images of Queen Elizabeth II as a young girl amid celebrations marking her 90th birthday.

The first image shows a young Princess Elizabeth frolicking with her father, George VI, near a swimming pool -- her arms outstretched, ready to dive in. The second shows her gently gazing at a bird perched on her arm.

The release is part of a four-day pageant this weekend that will salute her long reign. The extravaganza coincides with the Royal Windsor Horse Show, on part of the estate that includes Windsor Castle.

The festival will climax Sunday evening with a national televised show to be attended by the queen and her husband Prince Philip. The performers will include Gary Barlow, Helen Mirren, Kylie Minogue and Shirley Bassey.

Last month, the Royal Family released a photo for a new British stamp set issues to also mark the queen's 90th birthday.

The photo features Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth, Prince George and Prince William.

The adults are seated, but a smiling George stands atop four foam blocks secured with tape so that his head is at roughly the same height as the others.

The group photograph has been issued as a sheet that divides into four stamps, one for each of the royals.

The stamp outlines can be see below: