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Coronavirus UK: Queen cancels traditional birthday gun salutes for the first time in 68 years

The Queen has asked that there be no gun salutes to mark her birthday on Tuesday for the first time during her 68-year reign amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The monarch, who is set to turn 94 while residing at Windsor Castle, has also said Government buildings will be exempt from flying flags if it creates a problem.

Elizabeth II said she did not feel gun salutes would be appropriate in the circumstances of the crisis, which has claimed more than 14,000 lives in Britain.

The Queen makes a TV address to the nation about coronavirus from Windsor Castle on April 5

The Queen makes a TV address to the nation about coronavirus from Windsor Castle on April 5

The Queen makes a TV address to the nation about coronavirus from Windsor Castle on April 5

The idea of looking at an alternative Trooping the Colour event to mark her official birthday in June has also been dropped as the UK continues in lockdown.

A source said: ‘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 Queen will mark her birthday privately in Windsor, where she has been with her 98-year-old husband Prince Philip since leaving Buckingham Palace on March 19.

Her grandson Prince William said in an interview with the BBC yesterday that he was concerned for their health while they stay at the castle as a precaution.

In a joint interview with his wife Kate, the Duke of Cambridge said: ‘Obviously I think very carefully about my grandparents – who are the age they’re at, we’re doing everything we can to make sure that they’re isolated away and protected from this.’ 

The Queen’s son Prince Charles caught coronavirus but has since recovered from a mild form of the illness following self-isolation at his Scottish residence of Birkhall.

In the Daily Mail today, Saturday diary editor Richard Eden reported how this will not be the first time the Queen has had to cancel her birthday celebrations.

One of her two surviving bridesmaids, Lady Pamela Hicks, who turns 91 on Sunday, revealed she also once called off a party because it clashed with Hitler’s birthday.

The Queen and Prince Philip at Princess Eugenie's wedding at Windsor Castle in October 2018

The Queen and Prince Philip at Princess Eugenie's wedding at Windsor Castle in October 2018

The Queen and Prince Philip at Princess Eugenie’s wedding at Windsor Castle in October 2018

Lady Pamela, daughter of the 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, said: ‘She was living with us when Prince Philip was serving in the Navy and we decided, as mine is the 19th and hers is the 21st, ‘Why don’t we have a joint birthday party and a dance?’

‘Then we thought, ‘To be fair, we’d better have it on the intervening day, on the 20th.’ Unfortunately, when we looked further, that was Adolf Hitler’s birthday, so we cancelled that date.’

On April 5, the Queen urged the country to pull together to fight coronavirus in a TV message, saying: ‘If we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it.’

Her historic – and emotional – intervention was only the fifth time she has addressed the nation in a TV broadcast, apart from at Christmas, during her reign.

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