The 93-year-old queen acknowledged the daunting challenges brought by the COVID-19 crisis but offered hope.
Semi-isolated in Windsor Castle for the coronavirus pandemic, even Queen Elizabeth II is connecting with her family via high-tech video conference, as Prince Harry, Duchess Meghan and their son Archie called her Tuesday with good wishes on her 94th birthday.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, now living in Los Angeles after stepping down from royal duties earlier this year, were among the royal relations reaching out to the oldest and longest-serving monarch (68 years and counting) in British history.
With the pandemic still raging in the United Kingdom, the typical public tribute on the queen’s birthday – a noisy gun salute – was called off, and a royal in-person party was out of the question. Video conferencing is the next best thing under the circumstances.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment since the interactions are considered private.
Meanwhile, some of her nearest and dearest also took to social media to wish her well.
Prince William and Duchess Kate of Cambridge posted a photo with the queen to their social media accounts.
“Wishing Her Majesty The Queen a very happy 94th birthday today!” they wrote with cake and balloon emojis.
Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla also celebrated the big day with multiple photos (old and new) of the queen.
“Wishing Her Majesty The Queen a very Happy 94th,” their message read.
Even the queen’s Instagram account posted in celebration, sharing rare footage of the monarch when she and sister Princess Margaret were children and she was known as Princess Elizabeth.
“Thank you for your messages today, on The Queen’s 94th birthday,” the video was captioned. “In this private footage from the @royalcollectiontrust, we see The Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) playing with her family, including her younger sister Princess Margaret.”
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Thank you for your messages today, on The Queen’s 94th birthday. In this private footage from the @royalcollectiontrust, we see The Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) playing with her family, including her younger sister Princess Margaret. Head of the Commonwealth, Head of the Armed Forces, Head of State in 16 countries and the longest reigning Monarch in British History. Wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Happy birthday, Your Majesty! To those of you also celebrating your birthdays today at home, with or without your loved ones – we send you many happy returns. Visit our highlight to learn more about The Queen’s childhood.
A post shared by The Royal Family (@theroyalfamily) on
Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones also shared a throwback shot of the queen in her birthday message. On Instagram, the “Chicago” star posted a vintage photo of the monarch meeting Zeta-Jones’ late father-in-law, Kirk Douglas.
In the black-and-white snapshot, Douglas, with his hair slicked back, looks the Queen in the eye and holds her hand. Queen Elizabeth, clad in a tiara, dark dress and white gloves, smiles back at him.
“When the Queen met Spartacus!!” wrote Zeta-Jones, referencing Douglas’ starring role in the 1960 film, “Spartacus.” “Happy 94th Birthday Your Majesty”
Zeta-Jones married Douglas’ son, Michael, in 2000. Douglas died in February at the age 103.
The queen is ringing in her birthday without the usual pomp this year as the world faces the coronavirus pandemic.
She asked that there be no gun salutes to mark her special day and has chosen not to celebrate, the BBC and Harper’s Bazaar UK reported, both citing unnamed Buckingham Palace officials.
Gun salutes – firing blanks to mark special occasions – are typically made in various locations across the country, including the queen’s birthday. But she decided it was inappropriate due to the circumstances, according to CNN and ABC News.
The United Kingdom has had over 125,000 positive cases of coronavirus, and 16,509 people have died as of Tuesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins data. Britain is still in a national lockdown, which will continue for at least three more weeks.
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Princes Charles, the queen’s 71-year-old son and heir to the crown, tested positive for COVID-19 last month after displaying mild symptoms.
Contributing: Morgan Hines, USA TODAY.
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