Royalty

Queen Elizabeth celebrates 92nd birthday at star-studded party

The concert was the climax of a day of festivities in honour of the long-serving monarch

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 April, 2018, 1:18pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 April, 2018, 7:04pm

Queen Elizabeth attended a celebrity-packed concert in her honour late on Saturday after a day of military and civilian tributes to Britain’s longest-serving monarch on her 92nd birthday.

The queen, who has ruled Britain for more than 65 years, was the guest of honour at a concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall that she entered with her son Prince Charles.

The prince urged the crowd to give the queen, sitting next to her grandson Prince William, three “unbelievably rousing cheers”.

Prince Harry addressed the crowd in his new role as president of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, joking that his grandmother was “not someone who is easy to buy gifts for”.

The queen and other royals watched performances by Sting, Tom Jones, Kylie Minogue, Shaggy and Craig David. She left the stage, however, when Sting and Shaggy began a medley of their greatest hits.

Artists including South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo were among those from the Commonwealth who performed at the event, which capped a week that saw 53 countries represented in London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

Official festivities before the concert included soldiers from the Royal Horse Artillery parading their horses and gun carriages past Buckingham Palace, the queen’s London home, and a 41-gun royal salute in nearby Hyde Park.

A second artillery company honoured the queen with a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London.

Before the celebrations, British Prime Minister Theresa May praised the queen’s “service, dedication [and] constancy” as head of the 53-nation, British-led Commonwealth since 1952.

Former prime minister David Cameron also congratulated the monarch, saying on Twitter: “Very happy birthday to Her Majesty The Queen! There can be no finer public servant – have a wonderful day Ma’am.”

Saturday’s celebrations marked the actual date of the queen’s birth, while more events are planned in June to mark her official birthday.

Born in 1926, the queen has ruled since 1952 when she was 25 years old. In 2015, her reign surpassed that of Queen Victoria, her great-great grandmother, who ruled from 1837 to 1901.

Britain’s system of constitutional monarchy keeps the queen as a largely ceremonial head of state, allowing the government to pass legislation and run the country.