Royally celebrating. Queen Elizabeth’s birthday plans for her 96th year have very sentimental value. The elderly queen traveled to her estate in Sandringham the day before her big day, and the Norfolk home has some memories tied to the Queen’s late husband, Prince Philip.
Prince Philip died on April 9, 2021, weeks before the Queen’s 95th birthday. In 2021, the Queen canceled her public birthday celebrations such as Trooping the Colours for social distance reasons and for the public mourning of her husband. The Queen spent her birthday surrounded by family which included Prince Harry, who moved to California but visited for his grandfather’s funeral.
For the Queen’s 96th birthday, she plans to spend the day at the estate that her late husband cherished after retiring from public duties in 2017. The Sandringham Estate in Norfolk was purchased by the Queen’s great-great-grandparents Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1862. The estate was traditionally used for Christmas gatherings among the royal family and for the Queen to visit on the anniversary of her father’s death. The late Prince Phillip used the estate for his daily outings in the country from 2017 to 2019, while the Queen stayed at Buckingham Palace to do her royal duties. Prince Philip reunited with his wife back in London during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Buckingham Palace announced the Queen’s celebratory plans a week after The Queen pulled out of her appearance for Easter Sunday. The Queen’s son Prince Charles and his wife Camila attended in her honor. The Queen recently recovered from COVID-19 in February 2022, and plans to take a step back from public appearances. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle recently visited the Queen in secret before he headed to root for his home country at the Invictus Games.
The Queen also had rumors circulating that she was dead after her COVID diagnosis. Now, she plans to relax at the estate away from the public eye. “She doesn’t have to be monarch there,” said a former staffer to People. “She can be Elizabeth rather than the Queen.”
For more about the British royal family, check out Sally Bedell Smith’s 2012 biography, Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch
. The New York Times bestseller, which includes the “real story” behind several storylines featured in Netflix’s The Crown, follows Queen Elizabeth II’s life from her childhood as the “heiress presumptive” to her father, King George VI; to the moment he et her husband, Prince Philip, when she was 13 years old; to her ascension to the throne at 25 years old in 1952. Elizabeth the Queen, which also includes interviews with Buckingham Palace sources and never-before-revealed documents, provides a deep dive into the Queen’s legacy as one of the most famous monarchs in recent history.
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