The Queen arrives in Sandringham ahead of 96th birthday celebration

The monarch will celebrate her special day on Thursday

The Queen has been photographed arriving at her Norfolk estate, Sandringham on Wednesday ahead of her birthday on Thursday.

The monarch will celebrate turning 96 on 21st April and in a sweet tribute to her late husband, Prince Philip, she is expected to spend her stay at Wood Farm on the estate, where the Prince spent much of his retirement.

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The Queen was photographed being driven to Sandringham after arriving from Windsor by helicopter.

She was comfortably dressed in what appeared to be a blue gilet over a floral print top and also wore delicate pearl earrings and a flattering pink lipstick.

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Her Majesty is expected to mark the day privately, with huge celebrations planned for her official birthday in June. While this is normally marked on the second Saturday of the month, this year it has been moved in honour of the Jubilee and will take place on 2 June.

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Royal watchers will no doubt be glad to see the Queen on the move, after she did not attend Easter Sunday service with her family at the weekend, and asked Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall to step in for her at the traditional Maundy Thursday service earlier in the week.

The Queen arrived at Sandringham on Wednesday. Image: Geoff Robinson Photography

However, the Queen did spend Easter with some of her beloved family members, with a video from the weekend showing that she enjoyed the occasion alongside her granddaughter, Princess Beatrice, Beatrice's husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, their daughter Sienna and Edoardo's son from a previous relationship, Wolfie.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three children also spent time with the Queen as they stayed at Windsor Castle following the Easter service at the chapel. They were joined by the children's nanny, Maria Borrallo.

Last week, the 95-year-old also received a visit from grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, who were on their way to the Invictus Games in the Netherlands.

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