Bells rang in celebration from St. Paul’s Cathedral in London Friday to mark the start of the official celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday.
The queen’s milestone birthday is being marked with a three-day series of festivities that will include solemn religious events and street parties in many towns and cities.
The queen’s birthday has been a three-month affair starting with her real birthday in April. The monarch’s official birthday is traditionally celebrated in June when Britain’s weather can be more favorable.
Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip are attending a service of thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Friday, on what is Philip’s 95th birthday. Philip missed an engagement recently due to health issues but is expected to participate throughout the weekend.
They will be joined by Prince Charles and his wife Camilla and Prince William and his wife Kate.
Prime Minister David Cameron will read from the Bible at the service. Naturalist David Attenborough and Paddington Bear creator Michael Bond – who both turn 90 this year – will also attend.
The traditional Trooping the Color parade will be held Saturday, the queen’s official birthday. The event is expected to draw throngs of Britons and visitors to Buckingham Palace for a possible balcony appearance by the senior royals.
On Sunday, the Mall in front of the palace will host lunch for roughly 10,000 charity workers, patrons and members of the royal family.
After that event, the queen is expected to turn her attention to the horse racing season and her lengthy summer holiday in Scotland.