LONDON – Britain is marking Queen Elizabeth II‘s 91st birthday with gun salutes, as the monarch celebrates quietly at home.
A troop of the Royal Horse Artillery rode horse-and-gun carriages past Buckingham Palace before staging a 41-gun salute in Hyde Park. There was also a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London an hour later.
The queen is Britain’s oldest and longest-reigning monarch, having become queen on Feb. 8, 1952. She is also the world’s longest-reigning living monarch since the death of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej last year.
The queen usually spends her birthday privately. She also has an official birthday, marked in June with the “Trooping the Color” military parade. The official birthday is timed in hope of fair weather — a custom that began in the 18th century.
Last year’s parade featured more than 1,500 soldiers and officers, and also included a fly-by of historic World War II aircraft and modern fighter planes.
WATCH BELOW: Thousands of people turned out watch the annual Trooping the Colour parade on the Queen’s official 90th birthday. Jeff Semple reports. (Sat, Jun 11, 2016)