April 21, 2012

Queen Elizabeth II celebrates 86th birthday (VIDEO | 3 PICS)

(CBS News) LONDON - The 41-gun salute was just another sign that queens aren't like you and me, including when it comes to birthdays.

Queens get two of them: Their actual birthday (and today is Queen Elizabeth's 86th) which Britain's monarch normally celebrates privately; and also an official birthday, celebrated in June with a military pageant - the Trooping the Color ceremony at which she DOES appear, even riding in it in her younger days.

The Queen has made an appearance of sorts - her image, made up of school childrens' drawings, is being projected on Buckingham Palace, part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrating her 60-year-and-counting reign, reports Mark Phillips.

Preparations for that are well under way, with the launching this week of the royal barge that will lead a Jubilee flotilla of a thousand boats along the Thames River through London the first weekend in June.

Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty magazine, said the Queen will be spending the day at Windsor Castle having a quiet family lunch, and then putting her feet up in the afternoon. "Not very exciting, but for her that is a bit of a relief."

"She's 86 and Prince Philip is 90. Doing those overseas tours, with the change of climate and the actual exhaustion of flying, she just can't do it anymore. So, the family are doing it for her."

The Jubilee year has produced a significant farming out of royal duties to younger members of the family, as the Queen begins to wind down the number of her appearances. Her granddaughter-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge, has taken a more active role.

And Prince Harry toured the Caribbean and South America on his grandmother's behalf.

"You know, she's a fantastic woman," Harry said. "Not only as a grandmother, but as a queen, as everybody knows."

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