Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, led the tributes to Queen Elizabeth II as Britain’s longest-serving monarch turned 94 on Tuesday.
“Prayers, as ever, for Her Majesty The Queen as she marks her 94th birthday,” tweeted Welby, the Church of England’s most senior cleric and head of the global Anglican church.
“She continues to serve our nation with great dignity and faith,” Welby wrote.
The queen, who has reigned over Britain for the past 68 years, holds the title of Defender of the Faith Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
She was expected to speak to family members via video link on Tuesday, sources said.
Prayers, as ever, for Her Majesty The Queen as she marks her 94th birthday. She continues to serve our nation with great dignity and faith.
— Archbishop of Canterbury (@JustinWelby) April 21, 2020
No public events were planned amid Britain’s near-lockdown to curb the spread of novel coronavirus.
“Wishing Her Majesty The Queen a very happy 94th Birthday today!” Prince William, the queen’s grandson, and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, posted on their Kensington Palace Twitter account.
William’s father and the heir to the the throne, Prince Charles, posted a similar message to his mother, accompanied by four photographs of them together at different ages.
Wishing Her Majesty The Queen a very happy 94th Birthday today! ?? pic.twitter.com/X1ZUvtsRgn
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) April 21, 2020
Keir Starmer, the leader of Britain’s main opposition party, also tweeted: “Many happy returns from @UKLabour.”
The royal family announced that an annual military parade of horses and gun carriages past Buckingham Palace, the queen’s London home, and traditional gun salutes marking her birthday had been cancelled this year.
“To those of you also celebrating your birthdays today at home, with or without your loved ones – we send you many happy returns,” Buckingham Palace tweeted, thanking people for their birthday messages.
The queen and her husband Prince Philip, 98, left London for Windsor Castle last month as a “sensible precaution” amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the palace said.
Thank you for your messages today, on The Queen’s 94th birthday. ??
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) April 21, 2020
Charles, 71, self-isolated at one of his homes in Scotland after he tested positive for the virus and experienced mild symptoms.
Tuesday’s anniversary marks the actual date of the queen’s birth, while further events normally take place in June to mark her official birthday.
Born in 1926, the queen ascended to the throne in 1952, when she was 25 years old.
In 2015, her reign surpassed that of Queen Victoria, her great-great-grandmother, who occupied the throne for six decades from 1837 to 1901.
Britain’s system of constitutional monarchy keeps the queen as a largely ceremonial head of state, allowing the government to pass legislation and run the country. (DPA)