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Queen thanks well-wishers as she spends her first birthday without Prince Philip

Queen Elizabeth II is marking her 95th birthday in a low-key fashion at Windsor Castle, just days after the funeral of Prince Philip, her husband of 73 years.

This is the British monarch’s second birthday since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Born in London on April 21, 1926, Britain’s longest reigning sovereign usually celebrates her birthday privately, but the occasion is marked publicly with gun salutes in Hyde Park, Windsor Great Park and at the Tower of London.

That particular tradition was absent from last year’s scaled-back occasion, as it will be Wednesday — not just because of the pandemic, but because the Royal Family is officially in mourning until Friday.

In a statement released to coincide with her birthday, the Queen thanked the public for their good wishes and said she was “deeply touched” by the tributes that have poured in for the Duke of Edinburgh.

“I have, on the occasion of my 95th birthday today, received many messages of good wishes, which I very much appreciate,” she said, adding: “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.

“My family and I would like to thank you all for the support and kindness shown to us in recent days. We have been deeply touched, and continue to be reminded that Philip had such an extraordinary impact on countless people throughout his life.”

On Twitter, the royal family posted an official photograph of the Queen, accompanied by the message: “HM was born on 21 April 1926 at 17 Bruton Street in London, the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York.

“This year The Queen remains at Windsor Castle during a period of Royal Mourning following the death of The Duke of Edinburgh.”

Despite the recent easing of some coronavirus restrictions, social distancing rules remain in place in Britain. As a result, the Queen is being attended by only a small number of staff at Windsor Castle, where she spent more than a year in a support bubble with her late husband.

Though the royals won’t be permitted to spend time indoors together, British media report that some of the family are expected to join the Queen in Windsor to mark her birthday privately.

In addition to her actual birthday in April, the monarch also has an official birthday — usually the second Saturday in June.

The celebrations normally feature a large-scale military procession, known as Trooping the Colour. The Queen usually appears on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with her family for the occasion.

Both this year’s and last year’s ceremonies were canceled due to the pandemic.

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