Queen Elizabeth II marked her 96th birthday Thursday at her Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, England, in a celebration that coincided with her 70th year on the British throne and Platinum Jubilee in June.

A photograph of the queen standing between two fell ponies named Bybeck Nightingale and Bybeck Katie, taken at Windsor Castle last month, was released on Twitter by the royal family in honor of the momentous occasion.

Members of the royal family, including grandson Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, and son Charles, the Prince of Wales, wished the queen a happy birthday.

“Wishing Her Majesty The Queen a particularly special 96th birthday today, as we celebrate her Platinum Jubilee year,” Charles and his wife, Camilla, posted on Twitter.


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other members of Parliament also honored the queen in birthday messages. In his message, Johnson reflected on one of his favorite moments of her 70-year reign, which centered on her appearance at the 2012 Summer Olympics held in London. During the opening ceremony, the queen made her entrance with a video of her "jumping out" of a helicopter with James Bond.

"The trumpets sounded, and you made your entrance. The entire stadium rose as one and burst into applause," Johnson said. "Thousands of people from almost every country in the world, and a billion more watching at home, and that fantastic moment showed yet again your majesty's unique ability to bring people together in joyful harmony."

The queen has also received praise for her leadership during the coronavirus pandemic, which placed millions of people in the United Kingdom in lockdown. Johnson has been embroiled in the so-called partygate scandal and recently was ordered to pay a fine of 50 pounds, or $66, for participating in several parties, breaking COVID-19 rules.

The queen's private birthday celebration with members of the royal family comes nearly a year after the death of her husband, Prince Phillip, and amid health scares in recent months, including a hospitalization in November and a case of COVID-19 in February. As a result of her illnesses, the queen canceled appearances, sent a different member of the royal family in her place, or appeared at events virtually. Most recently, she did not attend Easter services at Windsor Castle last week. Elizabeth has also transitioned many of her daily activities online, holding audiences with foreign ambassadors and world leaders virtually.

The queen's 96th birthday falls during her Platinum Jubilee, a milestone that celebrates her as England's longest-reigning monarch and the world's longest female head of state in history, according to CNN.

The Platinum Jubilee celebration culminates in a four-day weekend event June 2-5, which will include a music concert with street parties and a pageant that will feature over 5,000 performers, key workers, and volunteers from the Commonwealth and the U.K. Beacons will also be lit across the country.


A Barbie doll made in the likeness of the queen by toymaker Mattel was released Thursday in honor of the queen's birthday and her Platinum jubilee. The doll features an ivory gown with a blue ribbon and a recreation of the tiara Elizabeth wore on her wedding day.

The doll also features pink and blue ribbons modeled after ones given to her by her grandfather George V and father, George VI, according to the BBC. The doll is part of a tribute collection that honors "visionary individuals with an outstanding impact and legacy," according to the company.