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The Queen cancels annual birthday traditions amid COVID-19 – details

Her Majesty will turn 94 on 21 April

Jenni McKnight

The Queen has cancelled her annual birthday celebrations for the first time since she began her reign 68 years ago in wake of COVID-19. Her Majesty will turn 94 on Tuesday, and instead of the usual gun salutes and "special measures" to honour the monarch, she will instead celebrate privately. "We will not be marking Her Majesty's birthday in any special way," a palace source said. "Any calls, video calls etc with family will be private and kept so. There will be no social media posts as per normal."

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The palace source added: "There will be no gun salutes – Her Majesty was keen that no special measures were put in place to allow gun salutes as she did not feel it appropriate in the current circumstances. We believe that this may be the first time in Her reign."

According to palace insiders, DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture Media & Sport) has also written to government buildings giving the standard advice on flag flying protocol but included the following in their instructions: "In the current circumstances we are not expecting everyone to be able to follow this advice and you should continue to adhere to social distancing guidelines as set out by the government." There are designated days for flying the British flag on government buildings – the Queen's birthday is one of them.

queen-birthday

The Queen turns 94 on Tuesday

READ: Why April is a special month for the Queen and her family despite coronavirus lockdown

The Queen also enjoys a second, more public, birthday with the rest of the royal family at Trooping the Colour in June. However, as previously announced, this has been cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic. Official celebrations to mark the sovereign's birthday have often been held on another day, particularly when the royal's birth date is not in the summer. As it stands now though, "there are no plans currently for any alternative marking of her official birthday".

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