Queen Elizabeth II celebrates 96th birthday with ponies and gun salutes

London, UK - The British royal family and many worldwide have wished Queen Elizabeth II a happy 96th birthday, and described the monarch as an "inspiration to so many across the UK."

British Queen Elizabeth II holds her Fell ponies, Bybeck Nightingale (r.) and Bybeck Katie in a new photo released Wednesday by The Royal Windsor Horse Show to mark the occasion of her 96th birthday. (henrydallalphotography.com/PA Wire/Handout via REUTERS)
British Queen Elizabeth II holds her Fell ponies, Bybeck Nightingale (r.) and Bybeck Katie in a new photo released Wednesday by The Royal Windsor Horse Show to mark the occasion of her 96th birthday. (henrydallalphotography.com/PA Wire/Handout via REUTERS)  © via REUTERS

Happy Birthday Your Majesty!

The occasion has been marked by the release of a picture showing her indulging her passion for horses and ponies.

Standing with two of her Fell ponies, the queen was photographed as the build-up begins for the Royal Windsor Horse Show, which commissioned the image.

Khloé Kardashian sparks romance rumors with spicy backstage snaps
Khloé Kardashian Khloé Kardashian sparks romance rumors with spicy backstage snaps

The official Twitter account of the duke and duchess of Cambridge tweeted a picture of William and Kate with the queen at the Chelsea Flower Show a few years ago and another image of the monarch and her late husband, the duke of Edinburgh, surrounded by their great-grandchildren.

"Wishing Her Majesty The Queen a very happy 96th birthday today!" it read.

"An inspiration to so many across the UK, the Commonwealth and the world, it’s particularly special to be celebrating in this #PlatinumJubilee year."

The official Twitter account of the British monarchy also recognized the queen’s milestone with a black and white photograph of the then princess Elizabeth.

The tribute read: "Happy Birthday Your Majesty! Today as The Queen turns 96, we’re sharing this photograph of the young Princess Elizabeth aged 2.

"Then, in 1928, it was never expected she would be Queen, and this year Her Majesty is celebrating her #PlatinumJubilee – a first in British history."

Horses and gun salutes for a milestone birthday

Members of The King's Troop Royal Artillery fired a round during the 41 Gun Royal Salute marking the 96th birthday of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, in Hyde Park, London on Thursday. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Members of The King's Troop Royal Artillery fired a round during the 41 Gun Royal Salute marking the 96th birthday of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, in Hyde Park, London on Thursday. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls  © REUTERS

The queen travelled from Windsor to her Sandringham estate on Wednesday to stay at a property loved by her late husband for her birthday.

She has already received birthday wishes from Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labor leader Keir Starmer. Gun salutes will be fired in her honor later on Thursday.

This year, the Royal Windsor Horse Show will mark the Platinum Jubilee with "A Gallop Through History," an equestrian display showcasing horses from across the globe.

Kim Kardashian goes viral as she struggles with her skin-tight dress
Kim Kardashian Kim Kardashian goes viral as she struggles with her skin-tight dress

It has been billed as a "personal tribute to [the British] monarchy" and will feature more than 500 horses and more than 1,000 performers taking the audience on a journey from Elizabeth I to the current queen.

The new photograph of the queen was taken in March in the grounds of Windsor Castle by Henry Dallal, who was also commissioned to take an official portrait of her to mark her 90th birthday.

On the queen’s left is the pony Bybeck Nightingale and on her right is Bybeck Katie. Both animals will feature in "A Gallop Through History."

The queen’s love for the equine world is something she shared with her mother, and she has been breeding and racing horses for more than 60 years.

Cover photo: Collage: REUTERS

More on the topic Royals: