Queen's 95th birthday will not feature traditional gun salute in mark of respect for Prince Philip

The tradition will be cancelled for the second year in a row, following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh

Queen Elizabeth II will celebrate her 95th birthday on Wednesday, her first in more than 70 years without her husband, Prince Philip.

The Duke of Edinburgh died on April 9, and was laid to rest at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle on Saturday in a ceremony attended by 30 family members, including the queen, just days ahead of her landmark birthday.

As a mark of respect to Prince Philip, the UK entered an eight-day mourning period, which ended at 8am on Sunday, with flags on government buildings being returned to full mast.

However, the royal family will remain in an official period of mourning until Thursday, after the Queen’s birthday, as a further mark of respect.

As such, the occasion will pass without the official gun salutes, which are traditionally fired to mark the day. The Ministry of Defence said the 41 and 21-gun salutes at Hyde Park and the Tower of London have both been cancelled.

It is the second year in a row that the tradition will not go ahead. In 2020, the salutes did not take place as the UK grappled with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Reports instead suggest the queen will spend a quiet birthday walking her new Corgi puppies, Fergus and Muick, within the grounds of Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.

It is expected she will also be visited by her sons Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.

Queen Elizabeth II’s two birthdays

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 09, 2018 , members of the Royal Family (L-R) Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, Britain's Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Britain's Princess Beatrice of York, Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (with Princess Charlotte and Prince George) and Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch a fly-past of aircraft by the Royal Air Force. Queen Elizabeth II's record-breaking reign has been marked by a commitment to duty despite personal setbacks, but the death of her husband will put that stoicism to the ultimate test. The 94-year monarch now faces the twilight of her reign without her most trusted advisor and personal confidant, raising questions about how she will cope in running a family mired in crisis and scandal. / AFP / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS
Members of the British royal family stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch a fly-past for Queen Elizabeth II's official birthday. AFP

While Queen Elizabeth II was born on April 21, 1926, that’s not her only official birthday. Being the monarch (sometimes) comes with the privilege of a second birthday.

If the reigning monarch is born in a cooler month of the year, they are able to select a date in June to hold their birthday parade, known as the Trooping of the Colour, which is likely to have better weather.

Because the weather can be unpredictable in April, the Queen’s official birthday celebrations usually take place on the second Saturday in June, when she parades along The Mall towards Buckingham Palace, where she is joined on the balcony by members of her family to watch as a Royal Air Force fly-by takes place.

Updated: April 19, 2021 04:51 PM

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