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The Queen's 90th birthday: royals step out for national thanksgiving service

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Members of the royal family arrived in full force to attend the annual National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's on Friday morning. The Queen was joined by her husband Prince Philip, who was celebrating his 95th birthday, as well as Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Prince Andrew and his daughters Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice also made up the 53-strong royal party, alongside Princess Anne, Mike and Zara Tindall, Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex. Edward and Sophie's young children Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn also attended; the eight-year-old was the youngest royal in attendance.

The service is held each year to mark the Queen's 90th birthday and falls on the day before the traditional Trooping the Colour ceremony.


the queen1© Photo: Getty Images

The Queen and Prince Philip gave a cheery wave as they arrived

Her Majesty, who was resplendent in a primrose yellow coat and hat by Angela Kelly, appeared in high spirits as she arrived to a fanfare and huge cheers. The monarch walked the 24 steps up the cathedral and briefly held the handrail which had been installed especially for her.

Meanwhile, crowds sang a very happy birthday to Her Majesty's husband, Philip.

The Queen and Prince Philip arrived slightly behind schedule due to a traffic accident at Embankment. Shortly after 11 o'clock they made their grand entrance, entering the cathedral with a procession while the congregation stood.

kate middleton© Photo: Rex

Kate stunned in a pale blue coat as she arrived with Harry and William

Prince William and Kate arrived earlier side-by-side, alongside Harry, with the Duchess stunning in a pale blue and white Catherine Walker dress.

The service was held to celebrate the Queen's life with a series of prayers, hymns, readings and musical performances. It marks the beginning of a weekend of national and Commonwealth celebrations.

Prominent guests at the ceremony included Prime Minister David Cameron, who gave a reading from the New Testament, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, who preached the sermon.

Sir David Attenborough, who also turned 90 this year, read Reflections on the Passing of the Years by Michael Bond, the famed author of Paddington Bear.

Prince Charles© Photo: Getty Images

Prince Charles and Camilla arrived just before the Queen

Tony Blair and his wife Cherie were also spotted in the congregation, as well as Lord Frederick Windsor and his wife Sophie Winkleman.

Guests were mainly representatives of public services such as the NHS and the police and fire brigades. Saturday's Trooping the Colour will focus on the armed forces while Sunday's 'street party' on the Mall, The Patron's Lunch, is dedicated to the Queen's charities and patronages.

wessex© Photo: Getty Images

The Queen was supported by a 53-strong royal party

On the same day of the thanksgiving service, a new portrait of Her Majesty and Prince Philip was released. The striking image was taken at the couple's home, Windsor Castle, shortly after Easter by celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz.

It showed the royals, who have been married for 68 years, looking perfectly relaxed and posing side-by-side.

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