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How Queen Elizabeth Is Spending Her First Birthday Without Prince Philip in Seven Decades

Stephanie Petit
·4-min read

Queen Elizabeth is marking a milestone birthday — the first without her husband, Prince Philip, in more than 70 years.

The monarch turns 95 on Wednesday, less than two weeks after her husband of 73 years died at the age of 99 on April 9 — just two months shy of his 100th birthday. His funeral took place just four days ago on April 17.

This birthday will be a subdued affair. While the Queen and other family members often celebrate their birthdays by sharing new portraits with the public, it was previously announced that there will not be a photo released this year.

The queen is "spending it privately," Buckingham Palace says.

The royal family social media pages have shared a simple image of the monarch, alongside a caption that reads, "Today is The Queen's 95th birthday. The Queen was born at 2.40am on 21 April 1926 at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London. She was the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York, who later became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

"This year Her Majesty remains at Windsor Castle, during a period of Royal Mourning following the death of The Duke of Edinburgh."

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The Queen is surrounded by her loyal staff and her three dogs (who she has been spotted walking in the Frogmore Gardens over the past week) at Windsor Castle, and family members will likely visit the monarch in the coming days.

Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images Queen Elizabeth

There is also speculation that Prince Harry, who returned to the U.K. for the first time in over a year from California to attend his grandfather's funeral, will extend his trip until after the Queen's birthday.

RELATED: Prince Philip's Funeral: Tearful Moments as Queen Elizabeth Sits Alone and William and Harry Come Together

Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip

Queen Elizabeth's public birthday celebrations will also be different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Trooping the Colour — the festivities held annually in June to mark the Queen's birthday, with the highlight being the royal family gathered on the balcony of Buckingham Palace — has been canceled for the second year in a row.

Plans are being explored for a scaled-down celebration likely to take place in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle, like last year, Buckingham Palace announced in March. It remains to be seen if she will be able to be joined by any of her family for a commemoration this June.

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images Camilla, Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip

The day after Prince Philip's death, the Queen's daughter-in-law Sophie, Countess of Wessex tearfully told people gathered outside Windsor Castle that "the Queen has been amazing."

Amid reports that the monarch will be accompanied by family members at future engagements, a former senior aide at the palace tells PEOPLE, "Her family will step up and be by her side, but she will carry on. She understands that she has a job to do, and [Philip] would have wanted her to crack on. She did do so when he retired from public life."

A close royal insider adds, "She will never abdicate because of duty and honor and public service is so deep in her, as it was for him."

PA Queen Elizabeth

RELATED: Queen Elizabeth's Close Friend and Racing Advisor Dies on Day of Prince Philip's Funeral

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Queen Elizabeth sat alone at Prince Philip's funeral after being accompanied by Lady Susan Hussey, her lady-in-waiting, on the car ride there.

Sitting inside the chapel, the Queen could be seen with her face down, only the top of her black hat visible.

Central Press/Getty Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip on their honeymoon in 1947

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At 13, the future Queen first met a then 18-year-old Prince Philip in 1939, when she joined her parents and sister Princess Margaret on a visit to Dartmouth naval college. While Elizabeth was reserved and shy, she was smitten by Philip's zest for adventure.

"She fell in love, and she never looked at anyone else," royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith told PEOPLE in last week's cover story.