Scotland

Queen's 90th birthday celebrated across Scotland

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Media captionA gun salute took place at Edinburgh Castle at noon on Thursday

The Queen's 90th birthday has been marked with gun salutes at both Stirling and Edinburgh castles.

They were part of a series of celebrations organised across Scotland to mark the occasion.

Beacons will also be lit across the country including on Ben Nevis, the highest point in the UK, and in the most northerly island, Unst.

Throughout her 90 years, the Queen has regularly visited Scotland for key events and family holidays.

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Media captionA look back at the Queen's visits to Scotland on the day of her 90th birthday.
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Image caption The Queen opened the Scottish Parliament in 1999
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Image caption The Queen is said to be "never happier" than when she is at Balmoral in Aberdeenshire

The Queen's residency Holyroodhouse is marking the occasion by hosting the first of three special exhibitions throughout the UK showcasing outfits from the Queen's childhood to present day.

The Royal Banner - the Lion Rampant - is being flown from the Scottish government's main building to mark the occasion.

She has visited almost every part of the country during her reign but is said to be "never happier" than when spending her summer break at the rural Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire, her private home handed down through generations of royals.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Holyrood's other party leaders have also congratulated the Queen.

Ms Sturgeon said: "Just last year, we were fortunate enough to be able to celebrate with Her Majesty as she became the United Kingdom's longest-serving monarch on the day she also opened the new Borders Railway.

"Over the course of that incredible day, it was clear the huge affection Her Majesty had for Scotland and the incredible bond she has forged with the people who live here over her many years of dedicated public service."

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Image caption The Queen and Prince Philip travelled through Windsor in an open top Range Rover after her 90th birthday walkabout
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Image caption The largest collection of the Queen's dress and accessories ever shown in Scotland has opened at Holyroodhouse

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale also sent her best wishes and paid tribute to her "remarkable dedication" to public service.

"The Queen takes a keen interest in what's happening in Scotland and in the Scottish Parliament so I'm sure people all across Scotland will join me in passing on our best wishes to the Queen and her family," she added.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: "The Queen has offered our country a lifetime of service.

"She was there for people at the worst of times with the support she offered families in Dunblane and the best as she helped launch the 2012 Olympics. We wish her all the very best as she celebrates this landmark birthday."

And Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson said it was "entirely typical" that the Queen was fulfilling a hectic schedule of duties during her 90th birthday week.

She is the "embodiment of public service and duty", she added.

Scottish Greens co-convenor Patrick Harvie wished the Queen and everyone else celebrating their birthday "a great day".

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Several parties have also been arranged to celebrate the milestone, including at Coupar Angus Care Home where one resident is being crowned "Queen of the Day".

In Glasgow, Lord Provost Sadie Docherty will join residents at Orchard Grove elderly care home for a tea party.

Meanwhile, her bailies will visit nine other care homes across the city.

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has been among those sending wishes to the longest-serving monarch.

The Rt Rev Dr Angus Morrison said: "It gives me great joy to offer our united and affectionate congratulations to Her Majesty the Queen on the happy occasion of her 90th birthday.

"Throughout these ninety years Her Majesty has been a regular visitor to Scotland and Her Majesty's love for and appreciation of Scotland is widely known. "

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Image caption Hundreds of well-wishers greeted the Queen in Midlothian as she became the UK's longest serving monarch

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