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The Royal Family Shares Home Videos of the Queen (and Her Favorite Cupcake Recipe) in Honor of Her 94th Birthday

The Queen’s birthday festivities this year may be a little less lively than usual due to self-isolation measures, but she has at least been inundated with well-wishes. While the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took to Instagram to celebrate Her Majesty’s birthday, the team at Buckingham Palace went one step further, sharing a touching compilation video of the Queen with her family as a child.

In the minute-long clip, the future monarch drags a toy horse and carriage down a garden path; plays hide and seek with Princess Margaret; and learns to horseback ride while the Queen Mother looks on. Perhaps the sweetest moment of all? When she awkwardly practices dancing with her mother and sister.

Also making celebrating in lockdown a little more joyful: the royal pastry chefs at Windsor Castle, where the Queen is residing with the Duke of Edinburgh for the foreseeable future. In an effort to lift spirits, Her Majesty asked them to share her favorite recipe for chocolate cupcakes, complete with both buttercream and royal icing. “If you or a loved one are celebrating a special occasion during isolation why not treat yourself to some #RoyalBakes?” reads the Instagram post, before breaking down the recipe in full.

In lieu of a party this year, Her Majesty has conducted a series of video calls with her extended family via Zoom. Notably, for the first time in her 68-year reign, the Queen requested that there be no gun salutes in her honor, feeling that the gesture would be inappropriate under the circumstances – while also suggesting that government buildings need not fly flags if it creates any sort of difficulty. The Queen’s official birthday on 13 June, also known as Trooping the Colour, has been canceled as well.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge revealed last week that the royal family has been keeping in touch via FaceTime and other conferencing software – in spite of the fact that they are self-isolating in far-flung locations. The Cambridges are at their Norfolk home of Anmer Hall, where they are homeschooling Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, while the Sussexes are settling into life in Los Angeles. Prince Charles remains with the Duchess of Cornwall at Birkhall following his recovery from Covid-19; the 18th-century estate is the official Scottish residence of the future King, and is set within the grounds of Balmoral.

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