Queen Elizabeth II celebrates 94th birthday with scaled-back ceremony

Francesca Gariano

Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday celebration looks much different this year with a scaled-back ceremony amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

The queen, who turned 94 on April 21, hosted a more intimate celebration on Saturday. The annual event is typically marked by the Trooping the Colour parade at Buckingham Palace in London but the larger, traditional festivities were canceled for the first time since 1955 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, festivities were limited to a smaller event at Windsor Castle, the royal residence in Windsor, England.

Queen Elizabeth marks her official birthday in Windsor (Toby Melville / Reuters)

The monarch stepped out in a knee-length turquoise jacquard coat and a matching embellished hat to watch a military ceremony in the castle's quadrangle, executed by soldiers from the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards who are on guard at Windsor Castle.

Queen Elizabeth marks her official birthday in Windsor (Joanne Davidson / AP)
Queen Elizabeth marks her official birthday in Windsor (Joanne Davidson / AP)

In lieu of the traditional procession of the royal family and a public gathering, the brief military ceremony was held in accordance with social distancing guidelines. The event took place within the confines of Windsor Castle with no public viewings to ensure public health and safety.

Back in April, the queen marked her actual birthday by reportedly video chatting with her children and grandchildren, including an international call with Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.

Last year's celebration took place on June 8, 2019 and marked Prince Louis' parade debut, appearing on the Buckingham Palace balcony in an outfit that strongly resembled one his own father had uncle had worn back in 1984 and 1986, respectively.

It also marked the former Meghan Markle's first public appearance since giving birth to her and Harry's son and the queen's grandson, Archie. The duchess rode in a carriage side-by-side with Harry along with Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge during the ceremonial procession.