On the eve of her 96th birthday, Queen Elizabeth was spotted departing Windsor Castle in the backseat of a car, glasses on, her hair in its signature white coif. Her destination? Sandringham in Norfolk, around 100 miles away.
News reports say she will stay not in the grand Jacobean main house, but rather, at a smaller dwelling on the grounds called Wood Farm Home. The five-bedroom cottage was Prince Philip’s preferred residence during the last years of his life. After retiring from his role as senior royal, he spent much of his time at Wood Farm carriage driving, painting, and enjoying a country lifestyle. The queen has mentioned in the past that her husband “loved” Norfolk, as the “sea was so close.” So her choice to spend her 96th birthday—only her second after Phillip’s passing–at his favorite place is indeed a poignant one. (In more recent years, she has instead celebrated at Windsor.)
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Then there was her symbolic choice in outfit. For her 96th birthday portrait, the monarch stood between two of her white fell ponies, named Bybeck Katie and Bybeck Nightingale, wearing a dark green coat bearing a resemblance to “Edinburgh Green,” or the official color of Prince Philip’s livery. The monarch also noticeably donned the shade when attending his memorial service in late March.
Throughout the day, members of the royal family wished their matriarch a happy birthday, sharing photographs of the queen throughout her life. Included in many of them? Prince Philip, her constant companion for 73 years of marriage.
Originally published in Vogue.com