AT a time of deep sadness for the Royal Family, the Queen marks her 95th birthday today. And our thoughts are with you, Ma’am.
After nearly seven decades on the throne, you are the longest-serving monarch in British history.
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It’s a source of great pride to your United Kingdom that our head of state, the world’s most famous woman, is an example and an inspiration to millions.
Although you are still in mourning for Prince Philip, on behalf of our readers, The Sun would like to send fondest birthday wishes for today. And in this special 12-page tribute, we celebrate 95 moments of Majesty in your extraordinary life.
1. Delivered by Caesarean … the first British sovereign to be born in a private house
PRINCESS Elizabeth Alexandra Mary of York entered the world in the midst of a national crisis – the run-up to the 1926 General Strike. At 2.40am on April 21 that year, she was born at 17 Bruton Street, Mayfair, the first sovereign in history to be born in a private house – her maternal grandfather’s London home.
Elizabeth – King George V’s granddaughter and offspring of the Duke and Duchess of York (shy, earnest Prince Bertie and society beauty Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon) – was third in line to the throne but it seemed unlikely she would ever become Queen.
Centuries of tradition dictated that the Home Secretary witness the birth to stop “interlopers”. So Sir William Joynson-Hicks – or “Jix” as he was nicknamed – took a break from his talks with coalmine owners to hang around for the arrival.
After a difficult labour, Elizabeth was born by Caesarean, or in the quaint language of the time, “a certain course of treatment”. As Queen, she would later end the tradition of ministers having to witness royal births.
2. ‘Joy . . . a little darling with pretty fair hair’
QUEEN MARY wrote in her diary after granddaughter Elizabeth’s birth: “Such a relief and joy . . . a little darling with lovely complexion & pretty fair hair.”
Prince Bertie wrote to Mary, his mother, of his “complete happiness” but added anxiously: “I do hope you & Papa are as delighted as we are . . . or would you sooner have another grandson?”
Amid the General Strike, the crowds were so huge outside Elizabeth’s West London birthplace that her pram had to be smuggled out of the back door for her morning walk.
At her christening at Buckingham Palace on May 26, her six godparents included Queen Victoria’s last surviving son, 76-year-old Prince Arthur.
3. She named herself . . .
ELIZABETH was 14 months old when her parents moved to a 25-bedroom house at 145 Piccadilly, where they hired a young housemaid.
Margaret MacDonald – known as Bobo – would remain the Queen’s closest companion for the next 60 years, first as a nursemaid, then as the young Princess Elizabeth’s nanny, and finally as her dresser.
At two-and-a-half, Elizabeth called herself “Tillabet”, which later became “Lisabet”, “Lilliebeth” then “Lilibet” – the name those closest to her still call her today.
4. Movies offer
WITH her curly blonde hair and blue eyes, Princess Elizabeth quickly became “the world’s best-known girl”.
When she was three years old, Elizabeth’s parents were approached by Hollywood moguls who wanted her to star in a film. The royal couple refused, so the studio executives created their own “Princess” – Shirley Temple.
5. Tussle over which princess first in line
ELIZABETH’S baby sister Margaret Rose was born on August 21, 1930, at her mother’s ancestral home – Glamis Castle, near Forfar.
Following tradition, Home Secretary John Clynes travelled to Scotland to witness the birth, but was kept waiting for five days before Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the future Queen Mother, delivered her second child.
Lawyers argued that the two sisters had equal rights to the succession until constitution experts decided Elizabeth came first in the family line and Margaret was “spare to the heir”.
Ever since, Elizabeth has had sympathy for “spares”, and that continues today with Prince Harry.
6. Me, Queen? I’ll pray for a brother
THOSE constitutional discussions came to a catacylsmic head on December 10, 1936, when Elizabeth’s uncle Edward VIII abdicated after less than a year as King to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
Aged ten years and eight months, Elizabeth became heir to the throne. After her father was crowned King George VI in May, 1937, she wrote an essay: “To Mummy and Papa, In Memory of Their Coronation, from Lilibet”.
When Elizabeth learned she was heir she is said to have immediately “prayed for a brother” who would have superseded her.
Princess Margaret remembered asking her sister if the abdication meant she would be Queen one day, and Elizabeth replied: “Yes, I suppose it does.” Margaret said: “She didn’t mention it again.”
7. 1st royal transatlantic call … and 1st broadcast
DURING last year’s lockdown, the world marvelled at how quickly the Queen took to making calls on Zoom. But she has never been fazed by technology. In 1939, as her parents toured the US, Princess Elizabeth rang them from Buckingham Palace in the first royal transatlantic phone call.
On October 13, 1940, she made her first radio broadcast – to the “children of the Empire” – with a carefully scripted message for British youngsters living abroad in WW2. Sister Margaret joined her, inset, but the script allowed her only two words: “Good night”. The PM’s private secretary said Elizabeth would be “a very successful radio Queen”.
8. A Colonel aged 15
AMONG the Queen’s many connections with the Armed Forces, one of her longest associations is with the Grenadier Guards.
In February 1942, aged just 15, she became the youngest ever Colonel-in-Chief of the Guards and is still doing the job today.
On her 16th birthday in April that year she inspected the regiment, her debut official public engagement – the first of more than 24,000 all over the globe.
9. War service . . . and her five-ton trucks
IN February 1945, aged almost 19, Princess Elizabeth joined the ATS – the Auxiliary Territorial Service. With an honorary title of second subaltern, she learned to service a five-ton truck.
To this day, the Queen, like virtually all veterans, can instantly recall her Army service number – 230873.
The Princess trained alongside 11 female officers at No1 Mechanical Training Centre, Aldershot, but her father would not allow her to sleep in their quarters so she had to return to Windsor Castle every night.
It is why she was keen for her children and grandchildren to be treated as much as possible like any other serving officers when they joined the Armed Forces.
10. A passion for horses
A LOVE of horses began at age three-and-a-half, with her first riding lesson at Buckingham Palace.
Inspired by grandfather George V’s passion for racing, as Queen she revolutionised the royal stables, managed by Lord “Porchey” Porchester, a devoted close pal and gossip-provider.
11. For 18th birthday, Susan the Corgi … and 30+ dogs descended from her
SHE was given her first corgi, called Susan, by her parents on her 18th birthday. Altogether the Queen has owned more than 30 Corgis, all descended from Susan and two Dorgies – corgi-dachshund crosses. When one of her corgis was mated with an even shorter-legged dachshund, the Queen was asked how it happened.
With a straight face, she replied: “We stand one of them on a brick.” It took seven people to prepare, cook and serve her pets’ meals. She once demoted a footman for trying to get the corgis drunk.
When being fitted for clothes, Her Majesty carries a small magnet in her pocket to pick up any stray pins and needles that might injure any of her dogs.
Despite the Queen saying at her age it would be unfair on the animals to get any more dogs, her daughter-in-law Camilla presented her with two lockdown corgi puppies, Muick and Fergus.
12. Sneak out for VE Day
ON May 8, 1945, Elizabeth persuaded several Guards officers to sneak her and Princess Margaret out of Buckingham Palace to celebrate the end of World World Two in Europe.
The future Queen, then just 19, and her 14-year-old sister joined thousands of VE Day revellers thronging in front of the residence, chanting for the King.
The princesses went unnoticed in the crowds.
On VJ Day, August 15, they went out again – but this time were recognised and mobbed by well-wishers.
13. All eyes on Philip
IT was a simple gesture – a dashing Royal Navy lieutenant helping Princess Elizabeth out of her coat at a mutual friend’s wedding.
She was a bridesmaid and he was an usher at the service in October 1946.
Throughout the proceedings, the pair shot each other furtive, admiring glances.
To royal watchers it was confirmation that the Princess had fallen for the handsome Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, her beloved future husband for 73 devoted years.
14. At 20, she’s off to Africa
WITH the world clamouring for an engagement, 20-year-old Elizabeth took her father’s advice to join him and the Queen Consort on a four-month tour of South Africa.
Just like Prince William would do with his brother Harry in the future, King George VI wanted his daughter to reflect before rushing into a marriage she might regret.
A courtier said at the time: “They weren’t saying ‘You mustn’t marry Prince Philip,’ but rather ‘Do you think you should be marrying him?’.
“It wasn’t forced.”
15. ‘I devote my whole life to your service’
PRINCESS Elizabeth’s 21st birthday was three days before the end of a tour which inspired her love of Africa.
It had been decided she would make a broadcast – and she spoke before a BBC microphone from the gardens of Government House, Cape Town.
As her speech was being drafted on a train near Bloemfontein, she admitted: “It has made me cry.”
Nearly 75 years later, the Queen is still fulfilling the promise she made on April 21, 1947: “I declare that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.”
16. Wedding gifts of stockings, food tins and a loin cloth from Mahatma Ghandi
NEWS of Elizabeth’s engagement to Philip Mountbatten leaked a day early in his native Greece.
The UK’s then Labour government used the wedding at Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947, as a chance to cheer up a nation, which had endured a deep-freeze winter, a fuel crisis that stopped factories, left millions jobless and rationing in force.
Prime Minister Clement Attlee awarded Princess Elizabeth 100 extra clothing coupons to help with her wedding dress. On the morning of the ceremony, the King made Philip, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh.
More than 2,400 gifts from all over the world poured in, including nylon stockings, knitted jumpers and a hand-made loin cloth from Mahatma Gandhi.
The Aga Khan sent a chestnut racehorse named Astrakhan, which gave Princess Elizabeth her first-ever winner.
She donated hundreds of tons of tinned food sent from Britons living abroad to the needy in the UK. Elizabeth’s friend Pamela Hicks said afterwards: “They were a dream couple.”
17. Phil plays squash as Charles born
ON Derby Day the following year Buckingham Palace announced Princess Elizabeth was pregnant.
She arrived at Epsom Racecourse that afternoon to huge cheers. With six months still to go before the birth, baby clothes arrived from all over the world.
Finally, Prince Charles was born on November 14, 1948. Despite age-old custom, the Home Secretary was not present to witness and verify the birth.
And neither was Prince Philip, who was off playing squash. The people of the US sent a rather excessive one-and-a-half-tons of nappies, which Elizabeth had distributed to hospitals.
18. 24, and a last ever ring of a doorbell
PRINCE Charles, age 21 months, was held up to a window at Clarence House so he could see the crowds hoping to catch a glimpse of his sister, Anne, born on August 15, 1950.
In April that year Elizabeth marked her 24th birthday. She was living as an officer’s wife in Malta, where Philip was stationed. He was a Lieutenant Commander, captain of the frigate HMS Magpie.
It was an idyllic time for the couple – but the last time Elizabeth would be free to knock on a door or ring a bell when visiting. In future, someone would call ahead so doors were always opened for her.
And Philip was slowly realising his naval career would not mix with his role of husband of the next monarch.
19. She stands in for seriously ill King
SUSPICIONS grew that the King was seriously ill when Princess Elizabeth took his place at the Trooping the Colour ceremony in June 1951. Wearing the scarlet uniform of the Grenadier Guards’ colonel-in-chief, she rode side-saddle to Horse Guards Parade to take the salute.
The Times described her as “a woman alone” at the all-male event. Elizabeth continued to ride to the ceremony, which marks the monarch’s official birthday, every year until 1987 – except when a national rail strike in 1955 forced the event to be abandoned. In September 1951, George VI was diagnosed with cancer and his left lung removed.
20. Meeting a president with fears for Papa
DESPITE her father’s ill health, Elizabeth and Philip embarked on a North American tour, including a meeting with President Harry Truman at the White House.
In Canada, locals were impressed by her French. But the media, unaware the King had cancer, complained the Princess looked “tired and bored” and did not smile enough.
An exasperated Elizabeth, whose clothes were often covered in splinters of glass from exploding flash bulbs, confided to an aide: “My face is aching with smiling.”
21. Truman hails a ‘fairy princess’
PRESIDENT Truman was bowled over by the princess. Martin Charteris, her private secretary, said: “He fell in love with her.” Like an uncle showing off his favourite niece, Truman gushed: “When I was a little boy, I read about a fairy princess – and there she is.”
He was the first of 14 US Presidents Elizabeth would meet. The Press loved her too, saying “little Lilibet” had “suddenly matured into a lovely young mother”. At a reception in the British Embassy, the royal couple shook hands with 1,500 people – the first of countless handshakes.
22. As King dies, Winston says: ‘She’s just a child’
THE King’s health had actually improved when he went to bed early at Sandringham on February 5, 1952, after dinner with his wife and Princess Margaret.
But he suffered a heart attack in the night and was found dead by his valet at 7:30 the next morning. He was just 56.
Sir Winston Churchill, the newly re-elected Prime Minister who had been close to the King throughout World War Two, wept at the news. The PM’s private secretary Jack Colville tried to cheer him up, telling him he would get on well with the Queen.
Churchill, 77, did not feel optimistic, saying: “I don’t know her and she’s only a child.”
23. Watching baboons as she becomes Queen
WHEN her father died, the new Queen was holidaying at Treetops – a hotel built in the branches of a giant fig tree in Kenya – at the start of a six-month tour on the other side of the world.
She was watching baboons from the top of the tree with Philip’s equerry, Mike Parker, as the sun came up over the forest. Suddenly, an eagle appeared in the dawn sky, hovering just above their heads.
Parker remembered: “I never thought about it until later but that was roughly the time when the King died.” The news was broken to her by Philip.
The royals have a tradition of changing their names when they become monarch. When asked by her private secretary what name she wanted to use as Queen, she replied: “Elizabeth, of course.”
24. Besotted Churchill hails ‘new Elizabethan age’
PRIME Minister Winston Churchill was first among the dignitaries to greet the new Queen when the royal flight from Kenya landed in London. That night, in a broadcast to the nation, the PM hailed “a new Elizabethan age”.
The young Queen was at first a little intimidated by Churchill – the first of 14 Prime Ministers in her reign. But she later grew to marvel at his reverence for her – and he was instantly besotted, telling his staff: “What a very attractive and intelligent young woman.”
Their weekly meetings, due to last 30 minutes, often went on for two hours as they discussed not only the events of the day but racing and polo.
Churchill said: “All the film people in the world, if they had scoured the globe, could not have found anyone so suited to the part.”
25. City salutes her … five weeks late
IN the same month Princess Elizabeth became Queen, movie mogul Arthur Rank launched the career of his latest film starlet – Joan Collins.
In an amusing twist, the city of Ely in Cambridgeshire proclaimed the Queen’s Accession five weeks after the rest of the world. The High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire had received his request from the Palace to announce it more than a month late.
26. First Xmas message … she didn’t enjoy it
THE Queen broadcast her first Christmas message by radio in 1952 but it would be five more years before she made her first televised address to Britain and the Commonwealth.
Although she did not enjoy the experience, that first TV goodwill message, live from Sandringham, was a magical moment for the countless millions of people who saw it.
27. Uses green ink on letters to friends
WHEN her father became ill, Elizabeth was given access to state secrets.
Ever since she became Queen, red boxes of government papers have arrived every day for her to read.
She uses black ink to sign official documents and green ink when writing to family or friends. Each morning a new piece of black blotting paper is laid out on her desk so no one can see what she has been writing.
28. 156,000 honours
THREE weeks after becoming Queen, Elizabeth held her first investiture, awarding the Victoria Cross to Private – later Sergeant – Bill Speakman of the Black Watch for his heroism during the Korean War.
About to be over-run, Bill went forward, pelting the advancing enemy troops with grenades, then beer bottles when they ran out. During her reign, more than 156,000 men and women have been awarded decorations.
29. Peanut butter sandwiches & smelling salts for Coronation
THE Archbishop of Canterbury objected to the Queen’s plans to televise her Coronation, in June 1953, on the grounds that “men in caps in pubs would be able to watch it”.
Thankfully, he was overruled and the stunning, ancient ceremony went out live. The BBC carried out tests to be sure that if all the temporary toilets in Westminster Abbey were flushed at once, the noise would not be picked up by microphones.
Choirboys got peanut butter and marmalade sandwiches as an “anti- laxative” for the long service. The six maids-of-honour hid bottles of smelling salts in their gloves, in case they felt faint.
Her full title is: Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her Other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.
30. A tenner for the church pot
AS head of the Church of England, the Queen receives Holy Communion privately every Sunday from her chaplain before attending morning service. Nobody has seen her receive the sacrament in public. In church her equerry sits immediately behind her and hands over a brand new £10 note for the collection.
It used to be a fiver. Sermons must never exceed 12 minutes – the only exception was the 14 minutes US Archbishop Michael Curry got at Harry and Meghan’s 2018 wedding. Every year the Queen gives up chocolate for Lent.
31. Two iconic images … and 300billion postage stamps
HER Majesty’s image has appeared on more than 300billion postage stamps during her reign.
In 1952, photographer Dorothy Wilding took a new set of pictures of the Queen, who asked for her bare shoulders to be covered up as she thought they would look indecent on a stamp.
Wilding’s photo was replaced on stamps in 1967 by a “bas-relief” profile of the Queen facing left. It was created from clay by sculptor Arnold Machin from a photo by John Hedgecoe and has been used ever since.
It is the most reproduced artwork in history, appearing on stamps in 40 countries and territories. The Queen’s head facing right is on currency in 35 mainly Commonwealth countries.
32. Her fave portrait
THE Queen has done sittings for more than 130 portraits over the years, but her favourite is one painted by Italian Pietro Annigoni in 1954. Draped in Order of the Garter robes, the 28-year-old monarch looks aloof and regal.
Annigoni’s inspiration came when the Queen told him how much she had liked to watch people and traffic from the windows of Buckingham Palace as a child. She was not amused by Lucian Freud’s “hated” 2001 painting because her fingers “look like sausages”.
33. Royal yacht Britannia: A 44-year love affair … and how it ended in a rare show of tears
A 44-YEAR love affair for the Queen began on April 16, 1953, when she saw the royal yacht Britannia launched at the John Brown yard on Clydeside. The following year the Queen was on board for the ship’s maiden voyage from Malta to London.
During the next four decades Britannia was the Royal Family’s floating home, travelling a million miles on missions around the world. Labour PM Tony Blair was never forgiven by the royals for his decision to scrap Britannia.
Sun royal photographer Arthur Edwards was at Portsmouth in 1997 when the royal yacht was decommissioned. He says: “Even at her mother’s funeral, the Queen didn’t cry in public. But she shed a tear on that day.
“Britannia was full of wonderful memories that obviously came flooding back as the old ship slipped away. I remember photographing the Queen with three US Presidents on board the royal yacht in Miami.”
34. Two 25-year-olds: Queen and Marilyn, queen of Hollywood
THE Queen – the world’s most famous woman – met the world’s second most famous woman, Marilyn Monroe, at the London premiere of the movie Battle Of The River Plate in October 1956. They were both 25 – the actress 41 days younger.
The Queen and Philip were regulars in London’s West End. Listening to the Everly Brothers at a Royal Variety Performance in the 1960s, the Queen reportedly joked to a lady-in-waiting: “They sound like two cats being strangled.”
35. A crocodile for baby Andrew
PRINCE ANDREW was born on February 19, 1960 – the first child born at Buckingham Palace to a reigning sovereign since Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Beatrice, in 1857.
After a state visit to The Gambia in 1961, a village there gave the Queen a two-year-old crocodile as a present for the young prince.
Andrew kept it in his bedroom until it grew too big and had to be given to London Zoo.
The Queen also encouraged Sir Peter Scott’s hunt for the Loch Ness monster. But she stopped short of allowing him to name the mythical beast “Elizabethia nessia”.
36. First UK monarch to visit the Pope
THE QUEEN made history as the first British monarch to visit the Pope at The Vatican in 1961. Pope John XXIII was the first of four Pontiffs she has met. The others are John Paul II, Benedict and Francis.
On a day trip to Italy in 2014 she had lunch with the Italian PM before going to meet down-to-earth Francis, who told her not to change into traditional black so they could spend more time together. She wore lilac instead.
37. Can I have your ticket, Ma’am?
COMIC Tommy Cooper once famously asked: “Tell me, Ma’am, do you like football?” Somewhat confused, the Queen replied: “Er, no, not really.”
To which Tommy said: “Can I have your ticket for the Cup Final then?’” But the Queen was there at Wembley in July 1966 to present the World Cup trophy to England Captain Bobby Moore.
She also named one of her horses “Charlton” after hero Three Lions brothers Bobby and Jack.
Knighting another sporting icon, yachtsman Francis Chichester, in 1967 after his historic single-handed voyage round the world, she wielded the same sword Elizabeth the First had used to honour explorer Francis Drake.
38. Poser for tourists who didn’t click
THE television highlight of 1969 was a documentary that showed the royal family having a barbecue during their summer holiday at Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire.
Once while at Balmoral the Queen could not resist playing a prank on some unsuspecting tourists.
She was stopped while out walking with her protection officer in the hills near Balmoral by three Americans, who asked her: “Excuse me, have you ever met the Queen?”
Pointing to her detective, the Queen said: “No, but he has.” Totally unaware they were talking to the monarch, the tourists asked her to take a photo of them “with the man who’s met the Queen”.
39. Giggles at Prince’s too-big crown
AT Caernarfon Castle in North Wales, on July 1, 1969, the Queen, with her handbag on her arm, carried out Charles’ investiture as the Prince of Wales. Charles was dressed in purple – with a ping-pong ball sprayed gold in the middle of his coronet.
He held his mother’s hand and pledged, like Philip did in 1953, to be her “liege man of life and limb”. Later, at lunch with actor Noel Coward, the Queen admitted how she and Charles struggled not to giggle because at the dress rehearsal the crown was “too big and extinguished him like a candle snuffer”.
40. Sheila take a bow: Bondi Beach Aussie kisses Charles
THE concept of the royal walkabout was born Down Under. Until then, every person who met the royals on visits had been vetted.
But in 1970 the Queen and Philip took Prince Charles, then 21, and 19-year-old Princess Anne on a tour of Australia and New Zealand, while Andrew and Edward stayed at home.
In Wellington, the Queen and Philip took the unusual step of getting out of their car and walking down the street with Charles and Anne, greeting well-wishers who had waited for hours.
Charles also found a moment to enjoy some down time – and a kiss from 26-year-old Jane Priest, hailed as “one of Western Australia’s top models”, who ambushed him on Bondi Beach. On the same trip, there was an attempt to derail the Royal Train in New South Wales, when a log was placed on the tracks. No one was ever charged.
41. No love, but tears for Mrs Simpson
THE Queen is used to dealing with awkward family occasions. In the summer of 1972, the Duke of Windsor – her uncle and the abdicated King – died in exile in Paris but was buried at Windsor. For two days his coffin was placed in St George’s Chapel and 60,000 people filed past.
After the funeral, a courtier said “there was no outpouring of love” between the Queen and the Duke’s American widow, Wallis Simpson. But Princess Diana said the only time she saw the Queen cry was when the Duchess of Windsor was laid to rest in the burial ground at Frogmore. Wallis’s grave is by her husband’s, beneath a plane tree.
42. 20 years as Queen and 25 years wed
IN 1972, the Queen marked 20 years as monarch and, right, at a Buckingham Palace bash with Philip, celebrated 25 years’ marriage.
She said: “When the bishop was asked what he thought about sin he replied with simple conviction that he was against it. If I’m asked what I think about family life after 25 years I can answer with simplicity and conviction: I am for it”
43. 500m tune in as Anne gets hitched
ONE evening the Queen turned to a courtier and said: “We have marriage trouble. Anne wants to marry Mark Phillips.” The Queen’s only daughter had fallen in love with showjumper Mark, a fellow member of the GB equestrian team.
After a pause, the Queen said: “I think we should do it.” On Nov 14, 1973, a global audience of 500million saw the wedding, many of them watching on new rented colour TV sets.
IN the early hours of April 21, 1976, guests sang Happy Birthday at exactly 2.40am to mark the Queen’s 50th.
Later that summer, huge crowds greeted her in New York as she sailed and Philip sailed up the Hudson River on the royal yacht Britannia for the 200th anniversary of America’s independence.
45. A million hit the streets for her Silver Jubilee
A YEAR later, more than a million people lined streets of London to watch the Queen, wearing pink, as the gold state coach made its way to St Paul’s to mark her Silver Jubilee. That summer of 1977, she and Philip toured the nation, including Northern Ireland for the first time since the Troubles.
They travelled in the Royal Train. The Queen’s personal saloon, 2903, has a 3ft-wide single bed and a full-size bath. In her Christmas broadcast, she said: “I shall never forget the scene outside Buckingham Palace on Jubilee Day.”
46. We are a grannny
THE Queen became a grandmother when Princess Anne gave birth to Peter Phillips on November 15, 1977. Anne and Mark Phillips had rejected an offer of a title and their son was the first royal baby born a “commoner” in 500 years.
The normally punctual Queen was so delighted she delayed an investiture for ten minutes to savour the news. Peter was 5th in line to the throne until his cousin Prince William was born. He is now 16th.
47. I look like me
IN 1977, the Queen had 91 of Sandringham’s 361 rooms demolished. The idea was to create more space in the house on the 20,000-acre estate where Prince Philip would eventually spend his retirement.
When Elizabeth, wearing a headscarf, once popped into a village shop near Sandringham an elderly woman told her: “Good heavens, you look just like the Queen.” Her Majesty replied: “How reassuring.”
48. Staff refuse to watch Ed and Wallis show
MANY of the Queen’s staff were so loyal to her that, in 1978, they refused to watch the hit TV series Edward And Mrs Simpson.
Actor Edward Fox played Edward while Cynthia Harris was twice-divorced Wallis in the ITV drama about the events leading up to the momentous 1936 abdication.
49. Mountbatten killed by IRA bomb and ‘life with never be the same’
ON holiday at Balmoral in August, 1979, the Queen and Philip received devastating news. Their beloved Earl Mountbatten, murdered by an IRA bomb in his boat.
Queen Victoria’s great-grandson, war hero and statesman, the last Viceroy of India, Louis Mountbatten was also Philip’s uncle, benefactor and father-figure and a second cousin of the Queen. A loyal protector of the monarchy, opinionated “Uncle Dickie” could be exasperating, but the royals followed his advice more than they admitted.
Prince Charles wrote: “Life will never be the same now that he has gone.” Mountbatten had been fishing for lobster near his summer home on the west coast of Ireland.
The same day, 100 miles away at Warrenpoint, 18 British soldiers died in the deadliest attack on the Army during the Troubles. Mountbatten had a ceremonial funeral at Westminster Abbey. His death brought home for the first time the threat to royals from terrorism.
50. ‘Diana Spencer is one of us’
AFTER Charles and Diana announced their engagement on February 24, 1981, the Queen wrote to a friend: “She is one of us.”
51. Wannabe teenager fires 6 shots at her
JUST before Charles and Diana’s 1981 wedding, the Queen had a serious scare. At the Trooping the Colour ceremony on June 13, a pistol was pointed at her from the crowd and six shots rang out.
Burmese, her black mare, reared as soldiers from the Household Cavalry rode to protect her. The Queen controlled her horse and later explained that she’d barely heard the shots, which had come from a starting pistol fired by unemployed 17-year-old Marcus Sarjeant.
He later said that, inspired by the assassination of John Lennon and attempts to kill Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II, he “wanted to be famous”.
He told police: “I’d like to be first to take a pot-shot at the Queen.”
Sarjeant was charged under the 1842 Treason Act and jailed for five years. The Queen said: “Burmese felt the Household Cavalry was going to attack me and she attacked them first."
52. Diana’s big day
AFTER Charles and Diana’s wedding on July 29, 1981, the Queen and Prince Philip led the dancing in the ballroom of Claridge’s Hotel, where apples were hung on strings from the ceiling.
Later, the Queen, US First Lady Nancy Reagan and Princess Grace of Monaco sat on a sofa together to watch a video of the wedding and made comments about what everyone was wearing. Around 750million had watched worldwide.
53. Off for a ride with cowboy Ronnie
THE Queen was back on cherished horse Burmese in June 1982, when she rode in Windsor Great Park with Ronald Reagan at the height of the Falklands War. The former Hollywood cowboy actor – the first US President to stay at Windsor – praised her style.
“It’s called the forward seat,” he said, “the modern riding, and you know she was in charge of that animal”.
The Queen’s thoughts were with the forces in the South Atlantic, where Prince Andrew was a helicopter pilot.
Reagan firmly backed Britain on the Falklands – and at a banquet the Queen thanked the US for “understanding our position”. Six days later, Argentine invaders surrendered.
54. ‘I’m very pleased we’ve another heir’
PRINCE William’s birth on June 21, 1982, secured the succession.
Prince Andrew arrived home from serving as a Royal Navy helicopter pilot in the Falklands to discover he was no longer “the spare”.
The Queen, visiting servicemen wounded in the conflict, was asked by one to congratulate Charles and Diana on the birth. “Thank you, yes,” she said. “I am very pleased that we have another heir.”
55. Gagarin inspires a passion for space
THE Queen has been fascinated by space travel ever since meeting Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin – the first man in space.
She has also met Neil Armstrong as well as UK astronaut Tim Peake. On a 1983 US visit, Her Majesty was given a guided tour of the Space Shuttle and an interesting new place called Silicon Valley.
More than 20 years earlier, she had watched the 1962 launch of the Telstar satellite.
In her Christmas speech that year she said: “The wise men of old followed a star; modern man has built one. But unless the message of this new star is the same as theirs, our wisdom will count for nought.”
56. Wills does a runner…
AT Prince Harry’s christening at Windsor Castle four days before Christmas 1984, Lord Snowdon took the family snaps. In one, two-and-a-half-year-old Prince William breaks free from the line-up to the delight of all. Later he chases cousin Zara Phillips round the legs of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Queen showed the pictures as she made her Christmas speech and said: “We must retain the child’s readiness to forgive, with which we are all born and which it is all too easy to lose as we grow older.”
57. … and makes gran sprint
AT Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s wedding in July 1986, the Queen was seen running to their horse-drawn carriage at Buckingham Palace. She had been chasing Prince William, who was following and getting rather too close to its wheels.
In her Christmas message that year the Queen, who knows the names of all 30 Windsor greys in the royal mews, said: “Even the horses in the stables seemed to be aware that something quite special was happening.”
58. It takes 5 servants to light her fire
TEN thousand green balloons were released in 1989 to mark all royal cars being converted to lead-free petrol. Philip and the Queen believed the Government was too slow in tackling pollution. But 30 years later, the Queen still burns coal on an open fire in her Buckingham Palace sitting room.
It takes five people to prepare and light it. An “outside man” brings coal, a kitchen worker carries the bucket to a green baize door and a footman takes it to the Queen’s door. A house-maid lays the fire before a page strikes the match to start the fire.
59. 124-gun salute
THE Queen turned 65 on April 21, 1991, but showed no sign of even thinking of slowing down, let alone retiring and collecting her pension.
Her Majesty usually spends her birthday privately, but the occasion is always marked by a 41-gun salute in Hyde Park, a 21-gun salute in Windsor Great Park and an ear-shattering 62-gun salute at the Tower of London.
60. 5ft 4in, photobombed by President’s lectern
FAMOUS for her stylish hats, the Queen never wears one after 6pm. On a state visit to the US in 1991, President George Bush Snr, who was more than 6ft tall, spoke first on the White House lawn.
When the Queen – who is 5ft 4in – delivered an address, the lectern could not be lowered and guests could only see the top of her headwear. The incident was jokingly referred to as “Podiumgate”.
Later, the Queen addressed Congress on Capitol Hill in recognition of Britain supporting America in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm.
When she told US politicians, “I do hope you can see me today” – a gag given to her by Prince Philip – she received a standing ovation.
61. No more protocol … it’s Derby Day
THE first date of the year in the Queen’s diary – even ahead of her two birthdays – is Derby Day. Once, when there was a clash of dates, she managed to attend D-Day commemorations in Normandy and still be at Epsom for the big race.
The Sun’s royal photographer, Arthur Edwards, loves the picture that he took of the Queen with her mother in 1991. He says: “The Derby is where the Queen lets her hair down and her emotions rip. Her love of horse racing overcomes all protocols. She never bets but when her own horse is running or she has a winner in the sweepstake. She cheers as loud as anybody.”
62. Splits, scandal, castle fire … it’s my annus horribilis
ON the 40th anniversary of her accession, the Queen may have known her “annus horribilis” was coming because she turned down a new fountain in Parliament Square to mark the occasion. The events of 1992 went from bad to worse.
As Charles and Diana’s relationship continued to deteriorate, Andrew and Fergie separated in March, then a month later Anne divorced Mark Phillips.
Andrew Morton’s ground-breaking book Diana: Her True Story was released in June, followed by Fergie’s infamous toe-sucking photos in August.
During a state visit to Dresden in Germany, the Queen was pelted with eggs by protesters and on her 45th wedding anniversary fire engulfed Windsor Castle, destroying more than 100 rooms.
63. Uh-oh, it’s VE Day
ON VE Day 1995 – the 50th anniversary of World War Two ending in Europe – the Queen managed to convince herself that no one would turn up outside Buckingham Palace.
She kept checking to see if people were there, but by the time the Queen and her 94-year-old mother and sister Margaret came on to the balcony, half a million people had packed into The Mall, waving Union Flags and chanting. The Queen Mum could be seen wiping tears from her eyes.
64. Mandela: ‘Put me through to my friend Elizabeth’
HER friendship with Nelson Mandela began when the South African president came to Buckingham Palace in the summer of 1996. Mandela got the Queen up dancing at a concert in the Royal Albert Hall, which he called the “big round building”.
She called him the “most gracious of men”. Back home, Mandela often phoned the palace to be put through to “my friend Elizabeth”.
65. Bring me sunshine, Eric
HER Majesty is a big fan of comics Morecambe and Wise, who were the other big attraction on TV at Christmas in the 1970s.
In 1999 she unveiled a statue of Eric in Morecambe, and when the crowd realised he was in his famous “Bring Me Sunshine” pose they burst into gales of laughter. Snapper Arthur Edwards says: “You can’t see the Queen’s face here but you can tell she is laughing, too.”
66. 13,000 garden party guests
THE Queen meets 9,000 people at her four summer garden parties at Buckingham Palace each year, plus 4,000 more in Scotland.
Royal author Brian Hoey says: “What some mistake for shyness is, in fact, complete self-confidence. There is not an ounce of self-doubt in the Queen’s make-up.
“Wherever she goes, she is the event – so she does not have to try to impress anyone.”
She was, however, once stumped . . . by a garden party guest who asked the question the royals often use when meeting people: “What do you do?” The Queen had no idea what to say.
67. Di on Panorama? I’m off to theatre
ON the night of the Queen’s 48th wedding anniversary in 1995, the BBC screened Panorama’s controversial interview by Martin Bashir with Princess Diana.
But that night it was business as usual for the monarch, who attended the Royal Variety Performance at The Dominion Theatre, London.
Diana had deliberately chosen the date for the controversial broadcast, in which she famously said: “There were three of us in this marriage so it was a bit crowded.”
Her fairytale marriage to Prince Charles had become a gothic nightmare – and this interview let the world know.
68. Where did you get those socks?
THE Queen deliberately wears bright colours so crowds can see her, and she rarely gets it wrong with fashion.
But at the King Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan, in 1997 she took her shoes off to respect the Islamic dress code and was seen wearing the sort of black socks you get in first-class on British Airways.
The Sun’s Arthur Edwards says: “When she wore them it was just so wrong.
“Later on we went to the Golden Temple at Amritsar and instead of bare feet she wore white socks.”
69. Standing strong at Privy Council
THE Queen holds her Privy Council meeting in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace. There are 400 members because they never retire, but usually only about half a dozen attend.
Even though she is now in her mid-90s, the Queen and council members remain standing throughout the meeting.
The Queen continues the tradition – begun in 1861 after the death of Prince Albert – as it helps to keep things brief.
When Labour MP Clare Short’s mobile phone rang during one Privy Council meeting, the Queen asked: “Anyone important?”
70. Sophie, one of her closest companions
HER Majesty’s youngest son, Prince Edward, married Sophie Rhys-Jones in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in a late-afternoon ceremony in June 1999.
Ladies were asked to attend in evening frocks, which confused the Queen until she found some feathers from an old hat to make into an evening headdress.
Sophie Wessex, as she became known, would go on to become one of the Queen’s closest companions, as seen after Prince Philip’s death.
71. Telegram for Mum, 100
DURING her reign the Queen has sent around 110,000 telegrams and messages to people who reach 100.
In August 2000 she sent one to the Queen Mum, who opened it with a ceremonial sword. She has also sent more than 520,000 telegrams and messages to UK and Commonwealth couples celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary.
72. I need a quid for a Big Issue
IT is said the Queen never carries cash and when she met Big Issue seller Ivan Betson in Brighton she had to borrow £1 from one of her staff.
Arthur Edwards, who photographed Her Majesty in March 2001 visiting a homeless unit run by St John Ambulance, says: “I like this picture so much.
“Here’s our Queen having a lot of fun talking to Ivan but she doesn’t have any cash in her purse.
“She cares just as much about the homeless and minorities as she does about lords and ladies.”
73. Her size-four confidant
AN important member of the Queen’s inner circle arrived in 2002.
Dressmaker and milliner Angela Kelly, a crane driver’s daughter from Liverpool, became the monarch’s PA and senior dresser. In 2018 she sat with legendary Vogue editor Anna Wintour and the Queen at London Fashion Week.
Both Angela and Her Maj have size-four feet, so Angela is tasked with the job of breaking in the Queen’s shoes when they are new. Her diligence ensures the monarch will not be left nursing any unpleasant blisters.
74. Grief as she loses Mum and Margaret in weeks
THE Queen lost her mother and her sister in the space of a few weeks in 2002: First Princess Margaret at 71, then the Queen Mother at 101.
Sun snapper Arthur Edwards says: “Her mother was the only person I ever saw the Queen defer to. She’d always let her go first. They rang each other every day to discuss horse racing, events and the latest gossip.”
75. Sir Norman grabs her for a picture
COMIC actor Sir Norman Wisdom ignored royal protocol in July 2003 when the Queen visited the Isle of Man’s capital Douglas, where she is known as Lord of Mann, or the island’s head of state.
Author Barbara Taylor Bradford was in the queue to meet Her Majesty when fellow islander Norman jumped out of the line-up and grabbed the Queen’s hand. Norman, knighted three years earlier, made her turn to the camera to pose for a picture. She didn’t have much choice because he would not let go of her hand.
76. Ozzy rocks her Golden Jubilee
IN the summer of 2002, the Golden Jubilee was a magnificent national celebration, with street parties and a concert at the palace.
The gold state coach, which had not been used since the Coronation, was given a refit because the Queen wanted to go to Westminster Abbey in style with the Duke for the celebrations.
On June 3 music concert The Party At The Palace was held in the gardens of Buckingham Palace. Sir Cliff Richard sang Move It and Ozzy Osborne belted out Paranoid – which the Queen missed.
But she did come out for the second half, which was much more reserved – and she got to see Sir Tom Jones swivelling his hips.
77. She’s got a ticket to ride . . . her first bus
THE Queen had never been seen on a London bus until she visited Willesden Depot in North West London in 2002. More used to riding in Bentleys and Range Rovers, or on the train to King’s Lynn, our picture captures her alighting from a double-decker.
The Queen is the only British monarch to have travelled on the London Underground. Dressed in a fur coat, she briefly drove a train and sat in a carriage from Green Park to Oxford Circus when she opened the Victoria Line extension in March 1969.
78. ’Ere, did you drive those trucks?
THE Queen relishes every moment she spends with World War Two veterans – her generation, as she calls them.
But she didn’t expect D-Day hero John Bellis to give her a nudge on the arm during a visit to an Army barracks in Wrexham in 2002.
John pointed at some Army lorries and asked her: “Did you drive trucks like that?” The Queen, who can still remember from her military days how to dismantle a carburettor on a five-tonner, turned and looked at the vehicles.
The Sun’s Arthur Edwards recalls: “Poor old John thought the Queen was deaf and hadn’t heard him and gave Her Majesty a nudge.”
79. A nice little gurner … but a face like thunder
A GURNER gave the Queen a shock during a visit to Cumbria in 2008. World champion face-puller Tommy Mattinson was waiting nervously to meet the Queen on a tour of Whitehaven, with his horse’s collar known as a braffin.
Our photographer Arthur Edwards asked Tommy if he would make his award-winning “werewolf face” as the monarch arrived. Arthur says: “Tommy’s weird look is not what makes the picture – but the Queen looking at him like thunder, thinking, ‘What the hell are you are doing?’”
80. What’s the buzz, Ma’am?
THE Queen loves it when things go wrong on her official visits. She was reviewing the Queen’s Company of the Grenadier Guards with the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor in 2003 when a swarm of bees appeared.
Photographer Chris Young recalls: “She was giggling like a little girl and he was laughing, too.” Some guests were unsure as to whether they should move but eventually everyone at the ceremony beat a retreat, while a royal beekeeper was summoned.
81. RAF repeat display for late-running Maj
THE Queen is – almost – never late. On the way to RAF Coltishall near Norwich in 2005 the royal car was held up by a nervous learner driver doing 15mph down a narrow country lane.
When a flypast of RAF Jaguars screamed low over the base, the Queen was not there. Arthur Edwards, who took this photo from behind the Queen, says: “The planes turned round and did it again for her. It made a stunning picture.”
82. William weds Kate after ‘tearing up the rule book’
IT is ten years next week since Prince William married Catherine Middleton in Westminster Abbey – in the process, catapulting Kate’s sister Pippa briefly on to the world stage.
William was adamant he didn’t want a wedding with all the pomp and ceremony of Charles and Diana’s marriage service. The Queen told him to “tear up the rule book” and have the wedding that he and Kate wanted – a family affair watched by millions.
83. Farewell, Down Under … for the 16th and final visit
THE most-travelled monarch in history, the Queen has made 271 foreign tours, to 270 countries. That includes 16 visits to Australia.
On tour there with Philip in 2011, locals sensed it would be the last time she came to their country.
Her visit included Brisbane, where people in the 30-deep crowds fainted in the heat, and finished in Perth, where the royal couple joined in a Great Aussie Barbie in her honour.
The Sun’s Arthur Edwards recalls: “The Duke was lifting kids over the barriers to give flowers to the Queen. It got too much for him, so he just carried the flowers to the Queen. He said something funny which made the Queen laugh, and all the entourage burst into giggles.”
84. Time for the Obamas
TV presenter and radio DJ Terry Wogan let slip news of the Queen’s historic 2011 tour of Ireland. Just before she and Philip headed to Dublin, Her Majesty hosted US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle at Buckingham Palace.
She has a lot of time for the Obamas, who reminded the Queen of herself and Philip when they had so much weight on young shoulders. In Dublin, the Queen poignantly paid her respects in the Garden of Remembrance to the IRA dead of the 1916 uprising.
85. Can Jubileeve this weather?
WHO can forget the Queen and Philip on a royal barge in the pouring rain at the Diamond Jubilee river pageant?
The royal couple refused to sit on plush red throne-like chairs provided by the event’s organisers. Philip said: “We didn’t want to look like the Beckhams.”
At the jubilee concert, around the Queen Victoria memorial in front of Buckingham Palace, Elton John, Tom Jones, Cheryl Cole and Peter Kay entertained vast crowds.
But it was Prince Charles calling the Queen “Mummy” that brought the house down.
86. Good evening, Mr Bond. Get me to the Olympics
WEEKS later, the Queen stole the show at the Olympic opening ceremony, when she announced: “Good evening, Mr Bond.”
Paul Whybrew, the trusted footman who walked with the Queen, 007 actor Daniel Craig and a corgi in the spoof 2012 video, will be the man who the Queen relies on now Prince Philip is no longer there.
87. Don’t forget my £11 brolly
WHAT do you buy for the woman who has everything? One year the Queen asked for a transparent plastic umbrella costing just £11.
She now has more than a dozen of the brollies, each edged with a different-coloured band to match whatever outfit she wears.
She normally holds the umbrella herself. If someone else holds it, the edge drips on her. But on a wet and windy state visit to Paris in 2014, chivalrous President Francois Hollande insisted on holding the brolly for her.
Somehow the Queen stayed perfectly dry – while her host unfortunately got soaked.
88. George … a baby who will be King
FOR the Queen, Prince George’s birth on a scorching-hot day in July 2013 meant the royal line of succession was secure for three more generations.
But William and Kate were keen to make sure their firstborn was not overwhelmed with worry about his future role. To George, his sister Charlotte and their brother Louis, the monarch is known merely as “Gan-Gan”.
89. Amid the poppies, thoughts of uncle
WHILE the Queen speaks fluent French, she was never taught German. Her mother never forgave Germany for the death of her brother. Captain Fergus Bowes-Lyon, inset, was killed in September 1915 in the Battle of Loos, France, while leading a Black Watch attack. He was buried in a quarry adopted as a war cemetery but his grave was lost.
Fergus, 26, is recorded among the names of the missing on the Loos Memorial. The Queen and Philip’s walk at The Tower of London in 2014, amid 888,246 ceramic poppies representing the dead of World War One, was all the more poignant knowing one of them was her uncle.
90. Longest to reign over us
ON September 9, 2015, Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning monarch in our history, topping the mark set by her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years and 216 days.
The Queen and Philip celebrated the historic occasion by travelling on a steam train from Edinburgh to Tweedbank, where she said her record of 23,227 days on the throne was “not one to which I have ever aspired”.
After 65 years as the monarch, on February 6, 2017, she became the first and only Queen to celebrate a Sapphire Jubilee.
Courtiers are already planning her Platinum Jubilee, which will be marked in May 2022 with a four-day bank holiday.
91. ‘Families, friends, we will meet again’
THE Queen’s Covid speech in April 2020 was watched by almost 24million people. In the moving address, she quoted WW2 hero Dame Vera Lynn’s promise: “We’ll meet again.”
“We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”
It was only the fifth such special broadcast in her reign. Her first was at the start of the land war against Iraq in 1991. Then she spoke to the nation after Princess Diana’s death in 1997.
In 2002, on the eve of the funeral, she paid tribute to the Queen Mother. And in 2012 she capped off her Diamond Jubilee celebrations with a broadcast.
92. 73rd wedding anniversary in lockdown … and a card to Gan-Gan and Grandpa
SHIELDING against Covid at Windsor, the Queen and Philip spent their 73rd wedding anniversary together in November 2020.
They were pictured reading a card to “Gan-Gan and Grandpa” made by Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte. In July, Her Majesty knighted Captain Tom Moore, right, in her first engagement since lockdown.
93. Megxit: From a nation rejoices to the worst royal crisis in 30 years
THE Queen was delighted to host Harry’s £33million showbiz wedding to actress Meghan Markle at Windsor in May 2018. But the joyous occasion was the beginning of a chain of events that descended into the worst royal crisis for 30 years.
If felt like Harry and Meghan were about to write a modern new page of royal history. Less than two years later, the troubled prince’s decision to quit was described as “utter madness” by Prince Philip.
In the end, the Queen herself stepped in to deal with the fallout from Megxit – stripping Harry of his honorary military titles and royal patronages.
After Meg and Harry, sitting in the garden of their new California home, told “their truth” to Queen of TV Oprah Winfrey, the real Queen responded with a dignified: “Some recollections may vary”.
94. Still at work in pandemic
LIKE many, the Queen has been working from home recently. But she also left Windsor Castle for three official engagements.
In October, she met scientists at the Defence Science Laboratory at Porton Down, Wiltshire.
On November 11, she stood alone on a balcony for a slimmed-down Remembrance service, with only 25 veterans marching past the Cenotaph.
And last month, on a visit to the Commonwealth Air Forces Memorial, in Runnymede, left, she joked that RAF Tornado jets flying overhead “were off to chase the Russians”.
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95. All alone after a lifetime of love and devotion
ALL alone, in widow’s black, the Queen says a final farewell to Prince Philip, the man she has loved for 75 years. From the moment they married, in a time of post-war austerity in 1947, he was Elizabeth’s constant companion and best friend.
Last Saturday, because of Covid rules, the Queen sat by herself at the Duke’s poignant funeral in St George’s Chapel, Windsor.
Today, she will mark her 95th birthday privately, without an official photograph or fanfare, as she mourns her lost love.
TODAY our Queen marks the first birthday since her teens without Philip in her life.
She has lost the man she loved. She will never lose the love of her people.
Inside your Sun is a pullout showing 95 magic moments from her remarkable life.
And though Her Majesty’s in mourning — and even if it seems trite to say it — we wish her as happy a birthday as possible.