Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was celebrated by the royal family and the entire nation today in a special Thanksgiving service at St Paul's Cathedral in London to celebrate her 90th birthday.
Prince William, Princess Kate and Prince Harry led the tribute to the monarch. Also joining the service was U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and the three living former prime ministers who served the queen: Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Sir John Major.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby presided over the service. Also present were 53 members of the queen’s extended family.
Queen Elizabeth shared the spotlight today with Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who turned 95 today. Philip wanted little fuss about his milestone and instead insisted the celebration focus on his beloved wife.
The Queen has two birthdays, her real birthday on 21 April, and her official birthday held on a Saturday in June, in a tradition going back 250 years. It was introduced to try to ensure better weather for the monarch's official celebrations.
The Archbishop of Canterbury praised the queen's devotion to service throughout her life, noting the queen had ruled, "Through war and hardship, through turmoil and change during the course of her 90 years.'" He asked those gathered to reflect on her rule "with deep wonder and profound gratitude."
The queen wore a pale, primrose yellow A-line coat with diamond stones and a matching dress and hat by Angela Kelly. The Duchess of Cambridge looking stunning in a pale blue coat dress by Catherine Walker, a designer favored by the late Princess of Wales.
William, 33, Kate, 34, and Harry, 31, waved to the crowds and well-wishers lining the streets 10-people deep to get a glimpse of the queen and her family.
The queen, who is known for her punctuality, was 10 minutes late to the service because her Rolls Royce was held up in traffic.
A portrait of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip taken by photographer Annie Leibovitz was released today to mark the celebration.
Following the ceremony, Her Majesty and Prince Philip hosted a lunch at Buckingham Place while William, Kate and Harry hosted guests at a reception at Guild Hall in London.
On Saturday, senior members of the royal family will attend Trooping the Colour, one of the most ceremonial events on the royal calendar.
The military parade features Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry riding in various state coaches to Horse Guards Parade along with 1,400 soldiers and 200 horses.
The royal family will then return to the Buckingham Palace balcony to greet the thousands of Britons who line the streets for the Flypast.
William and Kate's son, Prince George, 2, made his first balcony appearance last year. Kate and William’s 1-year-old daughter, Princess Charlotte, may make her second public appearance since her christening last July.
Quick facts about Queen Elizabeth
- The Queen has been married for 68 years, longer than any other British monarch
- Her coronation was the first to be televised and was watched by over 20 million people in the UK
- There have been 12 UK prime ministers, seven Archbishops of Canterbury and seven Popes during her reign
- She has sat for more than 130 official portrait paintings
- During her reign, she has visited 117 countries, travelling more than a million miles
- In 2012 she became the second British monarch to celebrate a diamond jubilee, and in 2015 became the UK's longest reigning monarch