UK

Queen's 90th birthday: Royal fans turn out in Windsor

Royal well-wishers hold placards wishing Queen Elizabeth II a happy 90th birthday as they wait in hope of seeing her following her engagements in Windsor Image copyright AFP

Crowds lining the streets of Windsor to catch a glimpse of the Queen on the eve of her 90th birthday found a typically British scene.

Tourists at Windsor Castle found themselves in the midst of the media and a handful of royal "super fans" decked from head to toe in union jacks.

Sharon and Spencer Robinson, from Washington State in the US, did not know the Queen would make a public appearance but said it would be "great" to see her in person. Cheryl Holberton, from Canberra in Australia, said it was an "awesome" surprise.

Meanwhile, mums grappled with young children intent on beating each other with union jacks and running into the road.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Crowds lined the streets to catch a glimpse and wish her happy birthday

Sweets and sippy cups were deployed by the dozen, and at one point a marshal had to warn children to keep their feet off the road for fear they might accidentally trip soldiers during the changing of the guard.

This was the friendly face of a much bigger security operation, with numerous police - some of them armed - and precautions including bins and post boxes being sealed shut.

Thankfully, the only conflict on the day was the fight for a good spot from which to see the Queen.

Image caption US tourists Sharon and Spencer Robinson weren't expecting to see the Queen on their visit to Windsor

"When the Queen gets here I will lift you up. Is that a deal?" one mum told a toddler - more than an hour before the scheduled arrival.

As the Queen approached, one woman towards the back of the crowd told another: "You should've worn your high heels Brenda."

The friend - presumably Brenda - replied: "Wish I could walk in them."

Later the crowd at large was asked: "Would you mind if my small friend goes to the front?" The small friend was allowed through.

"Pink hat," someone called as the Queen appeared in view, before another voice added: "She's all in pink, all in pink."

Image caption Royal 'super fans' Terry Hutt and John Loughrey got almost as much attention as the Queen
Image copyright AP
Image caption Terry Hutt wore his best suit to celebrate the birthday visit

"Taxi for Liz," one man called, as a van travelling with the royal party backed up to the entrance of Royal Mail office she was visiting.

Among the dedicated royal fans was Maria Scott, from Newcastle, who plans to camp outside Windsor Castle on Wednesday night - as she did for two weeks outside the hospital where Princess Charlotte was born.

"I just want to show my support to Queen Elizabeth for all she has done for this country," she said.

Another "super fan", John Loughrey, arrived in Windsor on Monday said he wanted to pay tribute to the Queen's work, which had been "supremely done".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Well-wishers brought cards and banners

But not everyone in Windsor was so interested in the royal engagements.

"Queen must be here," one elderly man remarked as he hobbled through the crowd on his walking stick.

Some shoppers continued shopping, and a sandwich seller did steady business even as the Queen visited the Royal Mail office across the road.

Several cyclists and joggers looked unimpressed by the crush as they tried to get along the riverbank while the Queen opened a bandstand in nearby Alexandra Gardens.

Still, those in the crowd were excited to see the Queen - and many seemed delighted with the brief glimpse they got.

In the words of one teenage girl as the royal car passed almost within touching distance: "Oh my God I can't believe it. She's so close."

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