Celebrating solo? Queen Elizabeth II traveled to her Sandringham Estate ahead of her 96th birthday, Us Weekly confirms.
Buckingham Palace tells Us that the monarch made her way to Norfolk, England, from her Windsor Castle residence on Wednesday, April 20, one day before her birthday. “The Queen will be spending her birthday privately,” the palace adds.
Elizabeth’s decision may be a nod to her late husband, Prince Philip, who died at the same country estate in April 2021 at age 99. The pair were married for more than seven decades before Philip passed away. Last year, an insider told Us that the queen’s birthday celebration was more “somber” in the wake of her loss.
“She’s grieving the loss of her beloved husband, Prince Philip, and spent the day with her corgis,” the source noted at the time. “She spoke to family members who are rallying together to keep her company. … Prince Philip’s passing has hit the queen harder than expected, but she’s remaining calm and collected.”
While reflecting on turning 95, the long-reigning royal thanked those around the world who wished her well after Philip’s death. “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,” she wrote in a statement shared via the royal family’s Instagram account in April 2021. “My family and I would like to thank you for all 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.”
Nearly one year later, members of the royal family gathered to honor the late Duke of Edinburgh with a memorial at Westminster Abbey. Prince Harry did not attend the March service, but he and wife Meghan Markle visited Elizabeth at Windsor Castle earlier this month.
“Being with her, it was great,” the Duke of Sussex, 37, told Hoda Kotb of the meeting during his Today show interview on Wednesday. “It was just so nice to see her. … She’s always got a great sense of humor with me.”
Harry and the Suits alum, 40, were on their way to the Invictus Games in the Netherlands when they stopped by the castle. “Both Meghan and I had tea with her,” the U.K. native added. “It was really nice to catch up with her.”
Ahead of Harry’s candid sit-down, a source told Us that the former military pilot and the Bench author brought Elizabeth an early birthday gift. “Harry and Meghan had a wonderful time seeing the queen again,” the insider noted. “It was one of the biggest highlights of their year so far.”
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