Queen cancels birthday tradition for first time in 68 years amid coronavirus crisis

The Queen’s birthday will not be marked by gun salutes in what is believed to be a first due to the coronavirus crisis.

Saturday, 18th April 2020, 6:33 pm
Updated Saturday, 18th April 2020, 6:35 pm

The monarch turns 94 on Tuesday but she is said to have decided gun salutes would not be ‘appropriate’ at this time.

A Buckingham Palace source said her birthday will not be marked in any special way, adding that any phone or video calls she has with family will be kept private.

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The Queen turns 94 on Tuesday. Photo by Tolga Akmen - WPA Pool/Getty Images.

The source said: “There will be no gun salutes - Her Majesty was keen that no special measures were put in place to allow gun salutes as she did not feel it appropriate in the current circumstances.”

The source said the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has issued flag-flying protocol guidance which includes the following addition: “In the current circumstances we are not expecting everyone to be able to follow this advice and you should continue to adhere to social distancing guidelines as set out by the Government.”

The Palace source added: “As has already been announced, there will be no Trooping (the Colour) in June and there are no plans currently for any alternative marking of her official birthday.”

Over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, the Queen stressed the importance of maintaining the coronavirus lockdown, saying ‘by keeping apart we keep others safe’.

With the Covid-19 outbreak making church services impossible, the Queen delivered what was believed to be her first Easter address, which had the resolute message: “We know that coronavirus will not overcome us.”