The Queen’s 95th birthday will be a private and low-key event following the death of her “beloved” husband the Duke of Edinburgh.
Members of the monarchy have been supporting the Queen throughout the mourning period for Philip, and some of her family are expected to be with her at Windsor Castle.
The Queen’s birthday on Wednesday falls within the two-week period of royal mourning, which is being observed until Friday, so no photograph to mark the milestone is expected to be released.
Philip’s family and friends gathered at St George’s Chapel at Windsor on Saturday to say their final farewell to the duke who died peacefully on April 9, aged 99.
His death came a few months before his 100th birthday, which was due to be the focus of royal celebrations this year while the Queen’s 95th was to be more low-key.
After 73 years of married life the Queen reigns alone without the support of her “strength and stay”, as she famously described her late husband.
The Queen, like the rest of the nation, has spent much of the past 12 months in lockdown but has also experienced issues within her family.
The fallout from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s decision in January 2020 to step down as senior royals was still being felt in March that year when the country went into the first lockdown.
Harry and Meghan’s recent Oprah Winfrey interview plunged the monarchy into another crisis when they made accusations of racism within the family and a lack of support for Meghan’s mental health.
The Queen’s domestic situation changed, with the threat of coronavirus prompting the 94-year-old monarch to isolate with Philip and a small group from her household – dubbed HMS Bubble.
For much of the final 12 months of his life the duke and the Queen lived under the same roof as they did at the start of their marriage when she and Philip were a Royal Navy couple.
Some of the Queen’s working life has moved online, with audiences with new ambassadors conducted by video calls while her weekly audiences with the Prime Minister have become telephone conversations.
One happier moment last year saw the Queen knight Captain Sir Tom Moore, who travelled to Windsor Castle with his family to be honoured by the monarch in July for his fundraising efforts.
In her televised addresses to the nation last April and at Christmas, the Queen delivered messages of hope praising the efforts of individuals and calling on the nation to “remain united and resolute” in the face of Covid-19.
The Queen’s grandson the Duke of Cambridge has pledged to uphold the wishes of Philip and continue to support the Queen and “get on with the job”.
The pandemic has meant the Queen’s official birthday celebration known as Trooping the Colour, normally staged in June, has been cancelled for a second year running.
Last summer, an event dubbed “mini Trooping” was staged at Windsor Castle, and Buckingham Palace has said options for an “alternative parade” were being considered at the Queen’s Berkshire home.