Queen Elizabeth II is marking her 96th birthday privately on Thursday, retreating to the Sandringham estate in eastern England that has offered the monarch and her late husband, Prince Philip, a refuge from the affairs of state.
Elizabeth is expected to spend the day at the estate’s Wood Farm cottage, a personal sanctuary where she also spent her first Christmas since Philip’s death in April 2021.
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The royal family’s official Instagram account shared a picture of the Queen, an accomplished equestrian, on Wednesday, showing her posing alongside two of her fell ponies, Bybeck Katie and Bybeck Nightingale.
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This birthday comes during the queen’s platinum jubilee year, marking her 70 years on the throne.
Toy maker Mattel announced Thursday that it was marking the occasion by releasing a Barbie doll in the queen’s likeness.
The doll will be sold in London stores Harrods, Selfridges and Hamleys.
Public celebrations will take place June 2-5, when four days of jubilee festivities have been scheduled to coincide with the monarch’s official birthday.
Britain’s longest-serving monarch, Elizabeth has spent much of the past two years at Windsor Castle, west of London, where she took refuge during the pandemic.
It’s been a little over a year since the death of Philip, her spouse of more than 70 years.
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The Online News 72h contributed to this report.