How the Queen will spend her birthday differently this year

By Heather Cichowski

The Queen will mark her 95th birthday this week, just days after her beloved husband Prince Philip was laid to rest during a ceremonial royal funeral on April 17.

This April 21st will be her first birthday without the Duke of Edinburgh after more than 73 years of marriage. Philip passed away on April 9 at the age of 99.

Typically, the Royal Family marks milestones, including birthdays, with new portraits. It is thought Her Majesty will break from this tradition this year in light of her beloved husband's passing. She and members of the Royal Family have entered into a period of mourning from April 9 for two weeks, according to her wishes.

This is a personal period of reflection and differs from the National Period of Mourning that was in effect in the United Kingdom, inclusive of the day Prince Philip died at Windsor Castle, to the day of the funeral.

The monarch seated in a socially distanced manner from other members of the Royal Family during the funeral service at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle on April 17, 2021. Photo: © JONATHAN BRADY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

During the period of mourning, the British royals can continue engagements if appropriate to the circumstances, and they can also wear mourning bands in appropriate situations.

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HELLO! UK reports the Queen will have a schedule of visits from members of the Royal Family over the next few days. The drop-ins will take place at Windsor Castle, and likely be outdoors given current COVID-19 guidelines. It is also thought she will take video calls from her loved ones.

Prince William and Duchess Kate's youngest son, Prince Louis, will turn three on April 23, so it is likely he will have a call or moment with his great-grandmother. None of Philip and the Queen's great-grandchildren were present at the duke's funeral. Only 30 people could attend due to COVID-19 regulations, and they were all likely considered too young.

It has also been said Her Majesty has been enjoying the company of her new dogs, Fergus and Muick, as she grieves the loss of her husband. The 94-year-old got two new corgi puppies in March, around the time Philip went into hospital, and they are thought to have been a great source of comfort since then. They join her dog Candy, who is a dorgi – a cross between a Pembroke Welsh Corgi and a dachshund.

Her Majesty during the funeral service at St George's Chapel with her head bowed. Photo: © YUI MOK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The monarch has been an avid dog lover all her life and it is thought her dogs will take on an even more important role following the death of Prince Philip. So, Her Majesty will likely have her pooches around her on her birthday.

Grandson Prince Harry may remain in the U.K. for a few more days so he can be there for the Queen's 95th birthday before he returns to California to reunite with Duchess Meghan and their son Archie. The Duchess of Sussex is pregnant with their second child, a girl.

The Queen's traditional birthday celebrations in June, Trooping the Colour, will not go ahead in their traditional form for the second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic. That announcement was made in March. At the time, the royals were exploring other options such as holding an alternative ceremony in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle, like they did in 2020.

The Queen watches a military ceremony as part of Trooping the Colour in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle on June 13, 2020. Photo: © Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

The Queen celebrated her 94th birthday privately at Windsor Castle, where she and Prince Philip isolated for the vast majority of time since the coronavirus pandemic began and the U.K. went into its first lockdown. There were no gun salutes on the day.

A portrait was not released in April 2020 for Her Majesty's birthday, but one was released of her and the Duke of Edinburgh that June to mark his 99th birthday.