Queen Elizabeth is turning 95 on Wednesday, her first birthday in more than 70 years without her husband, Prince Philip.
Following Prince Philip’s death, there has been a global outpouring of sadness, with his burial taking place last weekend. To commemorate her birthday, the Queen released a heartfelt message thanking the people for their love and good wishes.
The mourning queen said she was “deeply touched” by the reaction in her first comments since Prince Philip’s death on April 9 and burial last Saturday.
“I have, on the occasion of my 95th birthday today, received many messages of good wishes, which I very much appreciate,” she said.
“While we are in a period of great sadness as a family, it has been a source of comfort for us all to see and hear the tributes paid to my husband from those in the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth, and around the world.
“My family and I would like to thank you all for the support and kindness shown to us in recent days. We have been deeply touched, and continue to be reminded that Philip had such an extraordinary impact on countless people throughout his life.” She signed it ‘Elizabeth R’.
The Royal Family’s official Instagram account also commemorated the occasion with a flashback picture of the Queen visiting MI5’s headquarters in February 2020.
The caption was as follows: “Today is The Queen’s 95th birthday. The Queen was born at 2.40am on 21 April 1926 at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London. She was the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York, who later became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. This year Her Majesty remains at Windsor Castle, during a period of Royal Mourning following the death of The Duke of Edinburgh.”
Philip’s death at the age of 99, and his burial on Saturday, signal the end of an era for the royal institution and the beginning of a new normal for Queen Elizabeth and her family.
The queen had referred to Philip, her 73-year-old husband, as her “strength and stay.”
Until his retirement from formal royal duties in 2017, he remained at her side at thousands of royal engagements and foreign trips.
“She’s always understood that this day will come,” ABC News royalty consultant Alistair Bruce said. “She’s got on with her work, and in fact, straight after the funeral, she went back to her official papers and got them done.”
The Queen cut a lonely figure during her husband’s funeral on Saturday, sitting alone in the pew throughout the ceremony.
Images of the bereaved queen sitting alone at the Windsor Castle burial to comply with coronavirus limitations elicited widespread sympathy.
Members of the Royal Family attended a scaled-down service at St George’s Chapel to say goodbye to Philip in a ceremony carefully planned by the Duke himself.
In England, funerals may be attended by a maximum of 30 persons, who must sit at least two metres apart. The government is under pressure to loosen the restrictions since COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and fatalities have decreased in recent weeks.
The queen typically spends her first birthday, but with the tragic death of her husband, Prince Philip, this birthday will naturally be much more so.
She and the royal family will stay in mourning until Friday, two weeks after Prince Philip died on April 9th.
However, owing to Philip’s death and her own age, Queen Elizabeth is likely to receive even greater support from her family in the coming weeks and months.
“I think for the queen, she’s got to change with the way in which her family supports her, but she’ll just get on as the heartbeat of the nation,” Bruce said. “She’s got a wonderful family around her that will support and help with the work.”
“It will just be a different way, but the same way,” he added, referring to how the British monarchy has survived 1,000 years of deaths, divorces, and births.
This is the first time the Queen has spoken out since her husband’s death.
Last week, the Queen’s controversial son, Prince Andrew, claimed his mother had characterized the last days of her marriage as “a miracle,” and that the death of the Duke of Edinburgh had left a great hole in her life.
“She described it as having left a huge void in her life, but we, the family, the ones that are close, are rallying around to make sure that we’re there to support her,” he told reporters.
Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, paid homage to the Queen today, stating he is “proud” to be the Queen’s Prime Minister.
Throughout the mourning period for Philip, members of the monarchy have stood by the Queen, and part of her family is anticipated to be with her at Windsor Castle.
On Twitter, Mr Johnson stated: “I would like to send my warm wishes to Her Majesty The Queen on her 95th birthday.
“I have always had the highest admiration for Her Majesty and her service to this country and the Commonwealth.
“I am proud to serve as her Prime Minister.”