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Queen Elizabeth II celebrates 89th birthday

Queen Elizabeth II has celebrated her 89th birthday, making her the oldest monarch in the world. The head of the British monarchy planned to spend the day with family, with official celebrations taking place in June.

The Queen quietly celebrated her 89th birthday with her husband of almost 68 years, the Duke of Edinburgh, and members of the Royal family at Windsor Castle on Tuesday.

The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery were also due to ride their horses and gun carriages past Buckingham Palace at midday on Tuesday to stage a 41-gun royal salute at London's Hyde Park. This was to be followed later with a 62-gun royal salute by the the Honourable Artillery Company from the riverbank at the Tower of London.

Trooping of the Color

The British monarch was born Princess Elizabeth Alexandra May on April 21, 1926, the first of two daughters to the then Duke and Duchess of York - later King George VI and the Queen consort, better known as the Queen Mother.

Her majesty's birthday will be officially marked by the Trooping the Color in June, which sees the troops of the Household Division to pay a personal tribute to the sovereign. The Queen has attended Trooping the Color in every year of her 63-year reign, except when a rail strike caused the parade to be canceled in 1955.

Royal enthusiasts have speculated in recent weeks whether the head of the commonwealth could have been sharing her birthday with the arrival of her fifth great-grandchild. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's second child is thought to be due before the end of April. The brother or sister to Prince George will be fourth in line to the throne.

Historic landmark

On September 9, the Queen will reach another milestone during her time on the throne, as she overtakes Queen Victoria to become the longest reigning monarch in British history.

The head of the Church of England will return to the public sphere on Saturday when she attends a service at London's Westminster Abbey to mark the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign during the First World War.

The occasion will be marked with a 41-gun midday salute by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery from Green Park in central London.

ksb/kms (dpa, AFP)

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