The touching archive films from the Royal Collection Trust reveal candid memories of the two sisters growing up and provide a rare insight into family life for the Queen as a young Princess Elizabeth.
The clips – sure to help boost the country’s mood during the coronavirus pandemic – show Elizabeth playing with a pram as a toddler, on a seesaw and playing in a garden and dancing on a yacht with Margaret.
In a strong display of unity, Prince William, Kate Middleton and Prince Charles led tributes for the monarch after a turbulent week for the Royal Family in which Prince Harry and Meghan Markle decided to withdraw all forms of co-operation from many of the country’s most popular news titles.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, joined by their son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, held a video call with the Queen later in the day to wish her a happy birthday, a spokesman for the couple said.
Clarence House released four photographs of the Queen with Charles and his wife Camilla over the years, while Kensington Palace put out a picture of Kate and William with the monarch at the Chelsea Flower Show last May. Princess Eugenie also shared a black and white image of the Queen as she shared her best wishes.
Captain Tom Moore wished the Queen a happy birthday from his Bedfordshire home as he was flooded with cards ahead of his centenary – and his daughter said her heart is ‘bursting’ over the £27million he has raised for the NHS.
The Queen is marking her birthday away from her family as the lockdown continues. She is with her husband of 72 years, the Duke of Edinburgh, at Windsor Castle in Berkshire with a reduced household for their protection.
Aides have been planning to set-up Zoom video calls to mark the celebration instead, allowing the Queen’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to wish her a happy birthday.
With the UK in lockdown and thousands dead from the coronavirus outbreak, there will be no birthday gun salutes. The Queen decided the celebratory display of military firepower would not be ‘appropriate’ at this time.
Usually a 21-gun salute is fired by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery from either Hyde Park or Green Park, followed by a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London by the Honourable Artillery Company.
The Queen has two birthdays – the day she was born in April and her official one in June, which is celebrated with the Trooping the Colour ceremony, but this has been cancelled in its traditional form this year.
Kensington Palace wished the Queen a ‘very happy 94th Birthday’, and shared a picture of Prince William and Kate Middleton with the monarch at the Chelsea Flower Show.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall’s Twitter account also sent its birthday wishes, with a collection of touching archive photos of Charles and his mother.
The royal family are, like the rest of the country, staying away from one another as they follow the social distancing rules amid the pandemic.
Philip, 98, made his first major public statement on Monday since he retired nearly three years ago, thanking key workers including refuse collectors and postal staff for keeping essential services running during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The couple’s eldest son the Prince of Wales, who has recovered from the Covid-19 illness, is at Birkhall in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, with the Duchess of Cornwall, while the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex are all in their own separate homes around the country.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are staying at Anmer Hall, Norfolk, with their three children, while the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who have quit as working royals, are thousands of miles away in Los Angeles.
A Buckingham Palace source said the Queen’s birthday will not be marked in any special way, adding that any phone or video calls she has with family will be kept private.
It is expected Royals will gather on a Zoom video call to with the Queen a Happy Birthday. Last year, 16 members of the royal family were able to visit Her Majesty to mark her birthday – but the current restrictions mean video and phone calls will have to be used instead.
The Royal Family has already been active on Zoom during the lockdown, with Prince William and Kate Middleton enjoying conversations with school children and an interview with the BBC.
They also revealed how they had been checking on the other royals, including the Queen and Prince Charles, through video calls.
Kate said the family had been through ‘ups and downs’ during the lockdown ‘like lots of families’ since it was imposed on March 23, but they had stayed in touch with other family members using video conferencing apps.
The bells of Westminster Abbey – the church where the monarch was married and crowned – will also stay silent on her birthday for the first time in more than a decade.
The monarch has also said Government buildings will be exempt from flying flags if it creates a problem.
The abbey is currently closed, meaning the celebratory peal which has taken place in her honour on her actual birthday – April 21 – every year since 2007, will not be able to go ahead, the abbey told the PA news agency.
‘We are unable to ring our bells as the church is currently closed. So, it will be a virtual happy birthday this year via the abbey’s social media channels,’ a spokeswoman for the central London church said.
She was the first child of the then-Duke and Duchess of York, later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
Elizabeth was born by caesarean section at 17 Bruton Street, the Mayfair home of her mother’s parents, the Earl and Countess of Strathmore.
She was never expected to be a monarch when she was born, but the abdication of her uncle Edward VIII in 1936 put her father on the throne, and changed her destiny.
She wed Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten in 1947, and became Queen at the age of 25 when George VI died from lung cancer in 1952.
Elizabeth II, who has been monarch for more than 68 years, is Head of State, the Armed Forces and the Commonwealth.
She is less than two years away from her platinum jubilee of 70 years on the throne.
In her 2019 Christmas message, she acknowledged the ‘bumpy’ path her family, and the country amid Westminster’s bitter Brexit battles, had experienced during the past 12 months.
During 2019, the Sussexes spoke about their struggles living in the public eye, and the Queen’s second son Andrew gave a disastrous television interview about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and stepped down from public duties.
The monarch spent the first weeks of 2020 dealing with the fallout from Megxit – Harry and Meghan’s bombshell decision to quit as senior royals, which ultimately led to them walking away from the monarchy completely in March.
The Queen has witnessed many turbulent times during her reign, but even she confessed of the global Covid-19 pandemic: ‘While we have faced challenges before, this one is different.’