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Queen Elizabeth II is marking her 96th birthday privately on Thursday, retreating to the Sandringham estate in eastern England that has offered the monarch and her late husband, Prince Philip, a refuge from the affairs of state.
Elizabeth is expected to spend the day at the estate’s Wood Farm cottage, a personal sanctuary where she also spent her first Christmas since Philip’s death in April 2021.
Queen Elizabeth II inspected Lightning II strike aircraft at Royal Air Force Marham in February 2020, right before the pandemic hit. (Photo by Richard Pohle – WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The royal family’s official Instagram account shared a picture of the Queen, an accomplished equestrian, on Wednesday, showing her posing alongside two of her fell ponies, Bybeck Katie and Bybeck Nightingale.
This birthday comes during the queen’s platinum jubilee year, marking her 70 years on the throne.
Toy maker Mattel announced Thursday that it was marking the occasion by releasing a Barbie doll in the queen’s likeness.
The doll will be sold in London stores Harrods, Selfridges and Hamleys.
Undated handout photo of the Queen Elizabeth II Barbie doll to mark the British monarch’s Platinum Jubilee. Mattel/Handout via REUTERS
Public celebrations will take place June 2-5, when four days of jubilee festivities have been scheduled to coincide with the monarch’s official birthday.
Britain’s longest-serving monarch, Elizabeth has spent much of the past two years at Windsor Castle, west of London, where she took refuge during the pandemic.
Queen Elizabeth II of England took the throne on Feb. 6, 1952, following her father’s, George VI, death.
It’s been a little over a year since the death of Philip, her spouse of more than 70 years.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were accompanied by their son, Prince Edward, during Trooping of the Colour ceremony at Buckingham Palace in June 2000. (Photo by Ken Goff/Getty Images)
The Associated Press contributed to this report.