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21.04.2019 Europe

Queen Elizabeth, Britain's oldest monarch, turns 93 on Easter Sunday

APR 21, 2019 EUROPE

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 93rd birthday on Sunday. This year, the day coincided with Easter Sunday on the Christian calendar.

Elizabeth was born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary in London, the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York, later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

She began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, serving as a truck mechanic. In 1947, she married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, a former prince of Greece and Denmark.

When her father died in February 1952, she became head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon.

She has reigned over 14 prime ministers, coming to the throne during the tenure of Winston Churchill.

She has also met with 11 of the 12 US presidents in office and signed more than 3,500 bills into law.

Two birthdays every year
She has four children; Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.

Elizabeth II, who has a strong faith, usually celebrates Easter at Windsor Castle by joining members of her family at a service in St George's Chapel.

At Buckingham Palace, the Band of the Irish Guards will perform a rendition of Happy Birthday in her honour on the forecourt as part of the changing of the guard ceremony.

Gun salutes will also be performed at Hyde Park and the Tower of London on Monday in the Queen's honour.

She will have another official birthday on the second Saturday in June, to celebrate the landmark publicly.

The double birthday tradition was started by King George II in 1748, who wanted to have a summer celebration.

A great grandchild, who will be seventh in line to the throne, is expected any day now by parents Prince Harry and Meghan.

Earlier this week, she sent a message of support to French President Emmanuel Macron after the fire at Notre-Dame in Paris.

Messages of support for Notre-Dame in Paris
"Prince Philip and I have been deeply saddened to see the images of the fire which has engulfed Notre-Dame Cathedral," Queen Elizabeth said.

"My thoughts and prayers are with those who worship at the cathedral and all of France at this difficult time."

Their eldest son Prince Charles, heir to the throne, said he was "utterly heartbroken" by the blaze and sent his thoughts to the French people and the emergency services.

In a message to Macron, he said: "I realise only too well what a truly special significance the cathedral holds at the heart of your nation; but also for us all outside France it represents one of the greatest architectural achievements of Western civilisation."