The traditional gun salutes celebrating the Queen’s birthday will be silenced this year, in what is believed to be a first, due to the coronavirus crisis.
The monarch turns 94 on Tuesday but is said to have decided gun salutes would not be “appropriate” at this time.
All ceremonial gun salutes have now been cancelled for at least a month.
The Ministry of Defence told Forces News: “We can confirm that, following consultation with key stakeholders, ceremonial gunfire from all saluting stations is temporarily suspended due to national COVID-19 restrictions. This will last at least four weeks [until 18 May] and will be regularly reviewed.”
A Buckingham Palace source said the Queen’s birthday will not be marked in any special way, adding that any phone or video calls she has with family will be kept private.
Buckingham Palace also said: “There will be no gun salutes – Her Majesty was keen that no special measures were put in place to allow gun salutes as she did not feel it appropriate in the current circumstances.”
The Palace source added: “As has already been announced, there will be no Trooping (the Colour) in June and there are no plans currently for any alternative marking of her official birthday.”
Over the Easter bank holiday weekend, the Queen stressed the importance of maintaining the coronavirus lockdown, saying “by keeping apart we keep others safe”.
Cover image: Gun salutes for the Queen's 93rd birthday in 2019 (Picture: British Army).