The Queen celebrates her 91st birthday today and decided to treat herself to a well-deserved day at the races.
Her Majesty was spotted taking in the action at the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials and Beer Festival at Newbury Racecourse at the start of two days of flat racing.
The monarch was attending in a private capacity and was seen watching from a private box.
The Queen attended the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials and Beer Festival at Newbury Racecourse in Newbury to celebrate her 91st birthday
The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery fire a royal salute to mark the 91st birthday of Queen Elizabeth II in Hyde Park, London
The monarch loves horse racing so it’s no wonder she headed for Newbury Racecourse to celebrate her birthday privately, without any official engagements
After her 90th birthday last year, which saw national festivities held in her honour, the 2017 milestone will seem more subdued.
A troop of the Royal Horse Artillery rode horse-and-gun carriages past Buckingham Palace before staging a 41-gun salute in Hyde Park at noon.
Outside the palace, a band of guardsmen in scarlet tunics and bearskin hats played ‘Happy Birthday’ during the Changing of the Guard ceremony.
There was second salute with 62 guns at the centuries-old Tower of London, while members of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment fire a 21 gun salute in Gibraltar.
Members of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment fire a 21 gun salute to mark the 91st birthday of Queen Elizabeth in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, historically claimed by Spain
The Queen will celebrate her 91st birthday privately today after the pomp and ceremony which surrounded the big day last year
No doubt the Queen will also receive presents from her family, although the head of state is said to like practical gifts, but not overly extravagant ones.
The Duchess of Cambridge has revealed she was previously left stumped over what to buy the Queen for Christmas
‘I thought “I’ll make her something”. Which could have gone horribly wrong. But I decided to make my granny’s recipe of chutney,’ the Duchess said.
‘I was slightly worried about it, but I noticed the next day that it was on the table.’
The Duchess of Cambridge was previously left stumped as to what to give the monarch for Christmas and ended up presenting her with homemade chutney
Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born at 2.40am on April 21 1926, the first child of the then Duke and Duchess of York, at 17 Bruton Street, the Mayfair home of her mother’s parents, the Earl and Countess of Strathmore.
With the passing years have come milestones for the Queen.
She became Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, passing her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria’s record, in September 2015.
With the death of 88-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand last autumn, the Queen is now the world’s longest reigning living monarch.
Members of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment hold onto their caps in the wind as they prepare to fire a 21 gun salute
Members of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery take part in a ceremonial 41 gun salute in Hyde Park
A member of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery disposes of a spent shell casing as they fire a 41 Gun Royal Salute
Earlier this year on February 6, the date she became Queen in 1952, she achieved another milestone, becoming the first British sovereign to reach their Sapphire Jubilee, a reign lasting 65 years.
The Queen is thought to be at Windsor Castle, where she traditionally spends a month-long residence, known as Easter Court.
Earlier this month she invited British astronaut Tim Peake and others to a dinner at the castle for an event known as a ‘dine and sleep’ evening, where guests also spend the night.
WHAT TO BUY THE WOMAN WHO HAS EVERYTHING?
The monarch’s sons and daughter have apparently delighted the royal matriarch over the years with household items such as a washing-up apron and a casserole dish, while the Duchess of Cambridge once presented her with some home-made chutney.
The Duke of York bought the Queen her first mobile phone many years ago, while former US president Barack Obama once gave her an iPod.
As Elizabeth II marks her birthday, here are some of her favourite presents over the decades:
Peggy the Pony
Princess Elizabeth’s first horse – a Shetland pony called Peggy – was a gift from her grandfather, King George V, when she was four years old.
She started riding lessons when she was three-and-a-half, and when she was five her mother led her on Peggy to a meet of the Pytchley Hounds at Boughton Cover.
Peggy inspired the Queen’s lifelong love of horses. The Queen still rides and is a horse racing and breeding expert.
Queen Elizabeth II with the Duke of York on her Shetland pony, Peggy in 1930
Susan the Corgi
Eighteen-year-old Elizabeth was thrilled to be given her first Pembroke Welsh corgi – which she named Susan – by her parents for her birthday.
Synonymous with the breed, the Queen has owned more than 30 during her reign and many were descended from Susan.
The Queen’s first corgi was rather partial to going for servants’ legs and once bit a royal clockwinder on the ankle – but Susan was so loved by the Princess that she even accompanied her on her honeymoon in 1947.
The Queen now has only one corgi left, Willow, as well as Candy and Vulcan – two dorgis – a cross between a corgi and a dachshund.
The Queen is known for her love of corgis and has had dozens of the dogs as pets over the years
Big Mouth Billy Bass
The Queen was so amused by Billy Bass the singing fish – a mounted fish which moves and mimes the words to Take Me To The River or Don’t Worry, Be Happy – that she was apparently given six more for Balmoral.
She was introduced to the gift, which became popular in the 2000s, by the Princess Royal – and one apparently stands on top of the grand piano in the Queen’s Scottish home.
She was also sent a Rocky Lobster, a lifesize singing crustacean which performs Do Wah Diddy Diddy and Rock The Boat, and the Queen is said to sing along to the tunes.
Prince Harry delighted his grandmother with a special birthday gift on her 90th birthday by arranging to perform a short cabaret with ventriloquist Nina Conti at the Queen’s party.
Harry had the Royal Family in fits of laughter as he acted as Conti’s dummy during the Windsor Castle bash.
A suite of sapphire gemstones was given to Princess Elizabeth on her wedding day by her father.
George VI’s gift to his eldest daughter in 1947 – 70 years ago – was a glittering necklace, dating from 1850 and made of 16 large oblong sapphires surrounded with round diamonds, with a pair of matching sapphire and diamond drop earrings.
The Queen has added a tiara and bracelet to the collection, and has worn the jewels many times.
In Hyde Park at midday, 41 volleys in honour of her birthday will be fired by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.
Then an hour later the Honourable Artillery Company will fire a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London – an extra 21 for the City of London.
The Queen traditionally has two birthdays, her actual birthday and an official birthday marked every summer by the Trooping the Colour ceremony.
At midday, 41 volleys in honour of the Queen’s birthday will be fired by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery
The curious decision to give monarchs two birthdays dates back to Edward VII, who was born on November 9 but celebrated the birthday in May and June as the weather was better during these months for outdoor events.
Subsequent monarchs helpfully had birthdays at more convenient times of the year.
But the Queen’s father, King George VI, reintroduced the tradition which she has continued.