It should come as no surprise that the Queen’s birthday plans are looking quite a bit different this year. It will be a somber occasion for the monarch, as it marks her first birthday shortly following the death of her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip.
Instead of celebrating, Queen Elizabeth II is expected to take a more subdued approach to her 95th birthday on Wednesday, April 21. Traditionally, members of the royal family would join together on social media in sharing official portraits and tributes to the Queen. According to People, however, Buckingham Palace and the Queen’s family will not be sharing any celebratory snapshots with the public as they continue to mourn the Duke of Edinburgh’s death at the age of 99. Prince Philip’s funeral took place on Saturday, April 17—just four days before the Queen’s birthday.
The monarch’s public birthday celebration, otherwise known as the U.K.’s Trooping the Colour ceremony, has also been canceled for the second year in a row over social distancing concerns. The festivities, which usually take place in June, typically allow the royal family to gather on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Yet the palace confirmed the celebration would not go ahead as hoped. “Following consultation with government and other relevant parties it has been agreed that The Queen’s Official Birthday Parade, also known as Trooping the Colour, will not go ahead this year in its traditional form in central London,” their statement read at the time. “Options for an alternative Parade, in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle, are being considered.”
Although the Queen’s birthday will be a quieter one this year, Her Majesty is still expected to be surrounded and supported by family in the coming days. “Her family will step up and be by her side, but she will carry on,” a former royal aide previously told People. These family members may also include her grandson Prince Harry, who returned to the U.K. for the first time since moving to California with his wife Meghan to attend his grandfather’s funeral. According to a source who spoke to British paper The Sun, some speculate that the Duke of Sussex may extend his stay in the U.K. until after the Queen’s birthday.
It was previously rumored that Queen Elizabeth was planning to allow her heir, Prince Charles, to take the throne following her 95th birthday in April. Robert Jobson, author of Charles At Seventy, claimed on The Royal Beat that it was only a matter of time before the Queen’s abdication. “I still firmly believe when the Queen becomes 95, that she will step down,” he said during an episode for the True Royalty TV weekly program.
But this prediction may be proven false, as sources insist the Queen has no plans to retire. As a spokesperson for the Prince of Wales’ told People previously, “There are no plans for any change in arrangements at the age of 95—or any other age.”