Saturday, April 23, 2016

Pitcairn Islands 2016
HM Queen Elizabeth II 90th Birthday

ISSUE DATE: 19 April 2016
STAMP SIZE:44.22 x 35 mm
STAMP THEME: HM Queen Elizabeth II 90th Birthday
STAMP DESIGN:Denise Durkin

HM Queen Elizabeth II is Head of State of the United Kingdom and fifteen other Commonwealth realms. The elder daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, she was born in 1926 and became Queen at the age of twenty-five. The Queen is married to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and has four children and eight grandchildren. She has reigned through more than sixty years of enormous social change and development.

The Queen celebrates two birthdays each year: her actual birthday on 21 April and her official birthday on a Saturday in June. Official celebrations to mark the birthday of a Sovereign have often been held on a day other than the actual birthday, particularly when the actual birthday has not been in the summer. King Edward VII, for example, was born on 9 November, but his official birthday was marked throughout his reign in May or June when there was a greater likelihood of good weather for the Birthday Parade, also known as Trooping the Colour.

The Queen usually spends her actual birthday privately, but the occasion is marked publicly by gun salutes in central London at midday: a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park, a 21 gun salute in Windsor Great Park and a 62 gun salute at the Tower of London. In 2006, Her Majesty celebrated her 80th Birthday with a walkabout in the streets outside Windsor Castle to meet well-wishers.

The 90th birthday follows a large number of milestones for the Queen who became the longest-reigning British monarch on 9 September 2015 when she surpassed the reign of her great great grandmother Queen Victoria. These have included:

  • The Queen's Silver Jubilee, 1977, celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of The Queen's accession on 6 February 1952.
  • Golden Jubilee - an exciting calendar of events took place in 2002 to celebrate fifty years of The Queen's reign.
  • The Queen’ 80th birthday was celebrated in style in 2006.
  • Diamond Wedding Anniversary - the Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on 20 November 2007.
  • The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, 2012 - this multinational celebration throughout 2012 marked the 60th anniversary of the accession.

Royal Jubilees celebrate significant periods in monarchs' reigns and the national life. Few British monarchs have achieved reigns of 50 years, and Golden Jubilees are very rare. There are few records of how - if at all - Henry III, Edward III and James VI celebrated their 50-year milestones. The first British monarch to mark 50 years on the throne in a significant way was George III, followed by Queen Victoria.

Planned celebrations for the Queen’s 90th official birthday over May and June 2016 include a pageant celebrating The Queen’s life to be held in Windsor Castle; a National Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul's Cathedral; The Queen’s Birthday Trooping the Colour Parade on Horse Guards Parade and a Patron's Lunch which is a celebration of Her Majesty's patronage of over 600 organisations in the UK and around the Commonwealth since 1952.

The pageant will be a celebration of The Queen’s life, her love of horses, her dedication to the Commonwealth & international affairs and her deep involvement with the Forces. Over 90 minutes, 900 horses and more than 1,500 participants from around the United Kingdom and the World will create a joyful event for The Queen. The 90-year journey will take us from birth, through to World War Two, her marriage, the coronation and a reign of more than 60 years. The Celebration will use horses, actors, bands and dancers to tell the story. The celebration will be created by the team that organised the successful Diamond Jubilee Pageant in Windsor in 2012. This time, technology will play an important part in the celebration. The 90-minute experience will be a fusion of the latest video projection, LED effects and theatrical lighting. The finale will be a kaleidoscope of memories and achievements. It will be a birthday party fit for The Queen.

Stamp images and description thanks to Pitcairn Islands Philatelic Bureau

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