Inside Queen’s 96th birthday plans with Royal Family – including sweet tribute to Philip

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On Thursday the Queen will celebrate her 96th birthday privately with members of the Royal Family, and this year she will also likely be reminiscing about the good times she shared with Prince Philip at his Wood Farm residence in Sandringham. The Queen has flown by helicopter from her main base of Windsor Castle to Norfolk today, and it is expected she’ll be visited by members of the Royal Family at the modest home to share in her special day.

After retiring at the age of 96 in 2017, Prince Philip made Wood Farm his sanctuary, and it is thought he spent his golden years painting and reading.

Since Philip’s death last April, the Queen paid a visit to Wood Farm to spend her accession anniversary in February, and the residence is known to hold a special place in the Queen’s heart.

At a public event hosted by the Queen on February 5, Teresa Thompson, 70, the retired housekeeper of Wood Farm, said after chatting to the Queen that day: “All the Royal Family love Wood Farm, because it’s out of the way, it’s small, It’s intimate. You haven’t got lots of officials and household, it’s just the close staff.

“And they literally can relax in the family house, it’s wonderful, and I had a wonderful 22 years down there, it was the best time of my life without a doubt.”

Philip will undoubtedly be on the Queen’s mind as she marks her birthday tomorrow – her second without her beloved consort.

Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams told Express.co.uk: “This will be the Queen’s second birthday without her ‘strength and stay’ Prince Philip.

“She will be marking her 96th birthday by travelling to Wood Farm, where he lived in retirement on the Sandringham Estate and where she will mark it privately, being visited by family.”

The Queen’s birthday falls on a very important year for the monarch, as in a few months the nation will be rejoicing in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Mr Fitzwilliams added: “This will be a very special birthday as it takes place during the year of her Platinum Jubilee, which is unique in our history.

“The Queen has mobility issues and has been unable to attend most engagements since October.

“As she turns 96, she knows that her subjects are wishing her well and are looking forward to celebrating in June.

“They are hoping that she will be able to appear at as many commemorative events as possible.

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“That she is making this journey is wonderful and this will be a truly historic day.”

While the Queen’s birthday on Thursday will not be a public event, Trooping the Colour on Thursday, June 2, will mark the Queen’s official birthday celebrations on a national scale.

The Queen is expected to make an appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony for the traditional RAF flypast, with some reports suggesting this could be the Queen’s final balcony appearance of her reign as she continues to limit her public duties.

But as the Queen has scaled back her public appearances in recent months, it is not clear which events the Queen will attend yet over the four-day bank holiday weekend.

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