Royal family virtually celebrates Queen Elizabeth's 94th birthday with home videos


Today marks Queen Elizabeth II's 94th birthday, and the royal family is celebrating with online fanfare in lieu of traditional festivities.

To kick off the day, Buckingham Palace's Twitter and Instagram accounts shared some throwback, "private" footage of the queen from her youth. The black-and-white video includes clips of Elizabeth playing, riding a horse and dancing with members of her family.

"Thank you for your messages today, on The Queen's 94th birthday," the palace wrote. "In this private footage from (the Royal Collection Trust), we see The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, with her family, including her younger sister Princess Margaret."

The follow-up tweet, accompanied by more pictures of the queen over the years, read: "Head of the Commonwealth, Head of the Armed Forces, Head of State in 16 countries and the longest reigning Monarch in British History. Wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Happy birthday, Your Majesty!"

And to conclude, the royal family acknowledged everyone with birthdays during this challenging time: "To those of you also celebrating your birthdays today at home, with or without your loved ones - we send you many happy returns."

Other members of the royal family wished the queen happy birthday from their own social media accounts.

Clarence House, the residence of Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, shared a series of photos of the queen, including a sweet shot of her and what appears to be baby Charles.

"Wishing Her Majesty The Queen a very Happy 94th Birthday," the caption read.

Prince William and his wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, also sent well-wishes through the Kensington Palace account.

Alongside a sweet photo of the queen, William and the former Kate Middleton, the post said, "Wishing Her Majesty The Queen a very happy 94th birthday today!"

Royal birthdays are usually marked with ceremonial gun salutes, but the queen thought it would be inappropriate this year. So for the first time in her 68-year reign, she's going without. She also reportedly has plans to video chat with her kids and grandkids today.

It's the latest move by the queen to show solidarity with those suffering during the coronavirus outbreak. Earlier this month, she gave a rare televised speech, which she normally only does on Christmas.

In the message, she called for "self-discipline" and "quiet good-humored resolve" while recognizing the sadness, monetary troubles and "enormous changes to the daily lives" that many people are feeling during this "time of disruption."

"I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge. And those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any," she said. "Today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones. But now, as then, we know deep down that it is the right thing to do."