The Queen turned 95 on April 21. On the bittersweet occasion, she shared a personal message to the public in which she thanked them for their "kindness" and "support" since the passing of her dear husband, Prince Philip, on April 9 at the age of 99.
Her Majesty's message was shared on the Royal Family's social media platforms on April 21.
"I have, on the occasion of my 95th birthday today, received many messages of good wishes, which I very much appreciate," the monarch began.
She continued by thanking all of those who expressed their condolences after the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh.
"While as a family we are in a period of great sadness, it has been a comfort to us all to see and to hear the tributes paid to my husband, from those within 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."
The 95-year-old signed the message, "Elizabeth R."
Commenters on social media sent Her Majesty birthday wishes and continued to express their thoughts and support for the Royal Family after Philip's passing and funeral.
This is the Queen's first statement since she and many members of her family attended the late Duke of Edinburgh's funeral at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. He was laid to rest during the April 17 ceremony with just 30 attendees.
Prior to the statement, the @theroyalfamily Instagram shared a throwback photograph of the Queen with the following message to mark her birthday.
"Today is The Queen’s 95th birthday," it read.
"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."
The image showed the monarch smiling and looking up. She was dressed in a burgundy jacket and coordinating hat, which was festooned with beige flowers. It appears the photo was from the Queen's royal engagement to MI5 headquarters in London back in February 2020.
The Royal Family usually marks milestones, such as birthdays, with new portraits. But it was anticipated the Queen would break from this tradition this year in light of her beloved husband's passing. This April 21 will be her first birthday without the Duke of Edinburgh after more than 73 years of marriage. It is also the first occasion since the passing of Philip and his funeral.
The 95-year-old and members of the Royal Family entered into a period of mourning from April 9 for two weeks, according to her wishes. It will remain in effect until April 23. It is thought the monarch will spend her birthday quietly at Windsor Castle with her loved ones.
Her Majesty has been enjoying the company of her new dogs, Fergus and Muick, as she mourns the loss of her husband. She got two new corgi puppies in March, around the time Philip went into hospital, and they are thought to have been a great source of comfort. The pooches join her dog Candy, who is a dorgi – a cross between a Pembroke Welsh Corgi and a dachshund.
HELLO! UK previously reported the monarch will have a schedule of visits from members of the Royal Family in the days following Philip's funeral. Given current COVID-19 guidelines, it is likely the drop-ins will take place outside. It is also anticipated the Queen will take calls and video calls from her family.
In March, Buckingham Palace announced the Queen's traditional birthday celebrations in June will not go ahead in their traditional form for the second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic. At the time, the royals were looking into other options such as holding an alternative Trooping the Colour ceremony in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle, like they did in 2020.
We wish Her Majesty a lovely birthday, and our thoughts are with her and the rest of the Royal Family during this time.