Queen Elizabeth is celebrating her 95th birthday on Wednesday. But what would normally be a momentous occasion has been muted as the royal family continues to mourn theof the queen's husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.
The duke died earlier this month at the age of 99, following a months-long. The royal family gathered for a private, COVID-safe on Saturday.
On Wednesday, the queen released a birthday message, thanking her supporters for their tributes to the late prince. She said that she and her family are "deeply touched" by the "support and kindness" they've been shown in the wake of her husband's death.
"I have, on the occasion of my 95th birthday today, received many messages of good wishes, which I very much appreciate," Queen Elizabeth II said in a statement on her birthday, April 21.
"While as a family we are in a period of great sadness, it has been a comfort to us all to see and to hear the tributes paid to my husband, from those within the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and around the world," she said of her husband of 73 years.
"My family and I would like to thank you all for the support and kindness shown to us in recent days," she continued. "We have been deeply touched, and continue to be reminded that Philip had such an extraordinary impact on countless people throughout his life."
Other than the queen's statement, the royal family has not publicly marked her birthday. According to the Palace, "This year The Queen remains at Windsor Castle during a period of Royal Mourning following the death of The Duke of Edinburgh."
According to The Telegraph, the queen likely gathered with close relatives for a private lunch this year. The customary gun salutes that sound at midday in London on her birthday were canceled due to the mourning period. Last year, they were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"I would like to send my warm wishes to Her Majesty The Queen on her 95th birthday," Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted on Wednesday. "I have always had the highest admiration for Her Majesty and her service to this country and the Commonwealth. I am proud to serve as her Prime Minister."
It's unclear whether Prince Harry remained in the U.K. for the queen's birthday following the funeral. Earlier this year, he and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, officially stepped down from their royal duties.
Although the longest-reigning English monarch in history was born in April, Britain traditionally celebrates her birthday in June, with the, to account for Britain's unpredictable spring weather. The event typically features thousands of soldiers, horses and musicians, alongside members of the royal family on horseback and in carriages.
However, Buckingham Palace recently announced that the parade would be canceled due to the pandemic. Last year, a a scaled-down, socially distanced ceremony took place at Windsor Castle.