The Queen celebrates 93rd birthday on Easter Sunday

The Queen is celebrating her 93rd birthday.

This year, Elizabeth II – who is Head of the Commonwealth – sees her birthday coincide with Easter Sunday, the most important day in the Christian calendar.

At Buckingham Palace, the Band of the Irish Guards will perform a rendition of Happy Birthday in her honour on the forecourt as part of the Changing of the Guard ceremony.

April 21 – the day the Queen was born – is the first of her two birthdays.

She also has an official one on the second Saturday in June each year, which is commemorated with the Trooping the Colour parade.

Gun salutes are also fired as a mark of respect to the Queen on her special day – but never on a Sunday, so this year they will be delayed by one day.

On Monday, the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will ride their horses and gun carriages past Buckingham Palace en route to Hyde Park to stage a 41 Gun Royal Salute at noon.

A 62-gun salute will also be performed at the Tower of London at 1pm the same day.

The Queen has often told of her ‘special’ fondness of Malta, once describing her time on the island as ‘some of the happiest days of my life’.

In a speech in Kalkara in 2015, she said: ‘With each visit here I am reminded why Malta was awarded the George Cross in 1942 by my father, King George VI, for her valour – the first and only time it has been awarded to a country rather than an individual.

‘Since my first experience of Malta in 1949 as a young woman, I have seen this island evolve into a strong nation which plays an important role on the world stage.

‘When Prince Philip and I returned in November 2007 at the time of our Diamond Wedding Anniversary, we could not help but be impressed by the progress and the sense of optimism.’

Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born at 2.40am on April 21 1926, the first child of the then Duke and Duchess of York.

She was never expected to be Queen when she was born, but the abdication of her uncle Edward VIII in 1936 put her father George VI on the throne, and changed her destiny.

She became the Commonwealth’s longest-reigning monarch, passing her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria’s record, in September 2015.

With the death of 88-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand in 2016, the Queen now holds the record for the world’s longest reigning living monarch.

Read next: Follow in The Queen’s footsteps around Malta

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