UK

Queen's 90th birthday: Well-wishers enjoy 'special day'

The Queen and Prince Philip waving at wellwishers Image copyright EPA
Image caption The Queen and Prince Philip were overheard saying they wanted to stand rather than sit

As the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh got in the open-top Range Rover that would take them through Windsor, they were heard being asked if they wanted to sit down. "No," came the reply. "We're standing."

It was a gesture of thanks to the crowds who had lined the streets of the Berkshire town in the spring sunshine, desperate to catch a glimpse of the Queen on her landmark birthday.

This was, in many ways, an ordinary working day for the Queen.

Unveiling a plaque, meeting flag-waving members of the public on a walkabout, being presented with bouquets of flowers - these are things she has done hundreds of times. But the crowds weren't going to let her forget that this day was something out of the ordinary.

As the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh walked the short distance from Windsor Castle, a spontaneous rendition of Happy Birthday rang out - and it wouldn't be the last.

She would also be greeted by three cheers and by rounds of applause.

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Some had been waiting for hours - with the "super fans" camping out for nights - to catch a glimpse of the Queen on the day she became the nation's first ever nonagenarian monarch.

Anne and Judy Daley had travelled from Llandaff, Cardiff, setting out at 03:00 BST with their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel called Camilla, after the Duchess of Cornwall.

Judy said: "It's remarkable - she's a formidable woman. It's just wonderful to be part of the celebrations."

Image caption Anne (left) and Judy Daley travelled from Cardiff to see the Queen

Her sister said: "We've been brought up with her - our father was in the Irish Guards and was at her coronation. It is fantastic to see her."

The crowds were 10 deep in places, with locals from Windsor desperate to see their royal neighbour standing alongside those from Canada, America and Japan.

They came wearing Union Jack ties and wigs, and tights embellished with crowns.

"Oh, I can see her!" someone shouted out, spotting a glimpse of her lime green hat.

For some, it was all they could see of her as she walked down the street - hence the need for the drive through the town that would come a little later.

One woman came to the castle with her two children, four-year-old Ethan and daughter Charlotte Elizabeth - who is six months older than her royal namesake.

Image caption Elizabeth (left) brought her children Ethan and royal namesake Charlotte Elizabeth to see the Queen

Their mother Elizabeth, from Wokingham, said: "It's a once in a lifetime opportunity. It's something I hope Ethan will remember and it's part of our history."

Three Chelsea Pensioners were among those who had made the journey to Windsor.

Alan Rutter, 68, said: "We wanted to show our admiration for our Queen and celebrate her 90th birthday with the general public.

Image caption Left to right: Chelsea pensioners Alan Rutter, Tony Bendry and Dave Grant

"We're looking forward to her 100th birthday now - hopefully we can send her a telegram for that."

His brother Dave Grant, 69, joked: "She's been paying our wages for the last 50 years so it was important to come down - we're hoping for a pay rise."

Gwen Tarr, 88, who says she is "Windsor born and bred", said: "It was so lovely. I just wanted to celebrate the day with her. I'm glad so many people came here - and that it's such a nice day.

"She was lovely. People were giving her flowers - and she wasn't hurrying, she was stopping to talk. And she looked so pretty."

Cynthia Cauley, from Hampshire, noted the Queen is "quite petite".

"I saw the top of her hat. But we need more to celebrate in the world - and everyone is so happy here today."

Image copyright Alamy
Image caption Gwen Tarr, 88, said she wanted to celebrate the Queen's birthday with her

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh delighted the crowds by getting in the so-called "Queenmobile".

"Oh, she's standing up!" came one cry.

"It's like the Popemobile," noted another.

Mandy Perchard, from Ascot, who was in Windsor with her father Fred, said: "They were asked if they wanted to sit down in the car but they said, 'no, we're standing'.

Image caption Mandy Perchard, pictured with father Fred, said the Queen and Prince Philip had "incredible stamina"

"They have incredible stamina. She is so devoted, she really is."

Karen Rouse, 46, said of the Queen: "She's a real Windsor lady. It's a very special day and I felt so full of pride to see her. It was such a lovely moment."

Stood next to her on the steps of a shop oppose the Guildhall to get a better vantage point was Andrea Simber, who timed her holiday from the Wirral to see the Queen.

"I wouldn't have missed this for the world," she said. "I love all of the royal family - but especially the Queen."

By late this afternoon, the red carpet has been rolled away for another occasion. The crowds have dispersed. And the bunting strung from many shops in the centre of Windsor will be packed up.

But there is no chance of it gathering any dust - as in two months' time, those wanting to celebrate the Queen will have another opportunity when it's her official birthday.

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