A beacon will be lit at Ebrington Square to officially mark the 90th birthday of the Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II this evening at 8pm.
The event is being hosted by the members of Bonds Street Community Association, and is one of 1,000 beacons being lit across the UK to celebrate Her Majesty’s birthday.
Last night, Wednesday, Londonderry’s greatest fan of the Royal Family, Maisie Crawford BEM, hosted a sing-song and birthday celebration, including the cutting of a birthday cake, at ‘Maisie’s Square’ at Caw Nelson Drive.
The scores of people who turned out also sang a rousing rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’.
Speaking to The Sentinel this morning, Maisie was still in a state of euphoria: “There were several hundred people and I cut a cake with my daughter Lynne, which was made by Jennifer Rankin. It was beautifully decorated, absolutely gorgeous”.
After a compulsory rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ accompanied by the members of Caw Flute Band, the crowd sang the National Anthem, with Maisie singing the second verse solo.
“Most people only sing the first verse, but I told everyone they were getting the full treatment and I sang the second verse myself,” said Maisie.
After the cutting of the cake and a few more tunes, Maisie, accompanied by family and a few friends, went indoors where the party continued and Maisie led a formal toast with “a wee drop of brandy”.
By virtue of the Treaty of Troyes, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is also Queen of France, and on social media hundreds of thousands of good wishes have flooded in from around the World.
The Queen’s life has been defined by her dedication to duty and strong belief in her role as the nation’s Monarch.
Stoical, pragmatic and private, and with an unshakeable Christian faith, she is one of the most famous figures on the planet.
As head of state, the armed forces and the Church of England, the Queen is at the centre of national life but she is also a wife with more than 65 years of marriage under her belt, a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
Away from the trappings of state, her love of horses, racing and her corgis, the short-legged dogs which mill around Buckingham Palace, have been her lifelong interests.
Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born at 2.40am on April 21, 1926, at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair in the year of the General Strike.
Fair-haired and blue-eyed, she was the first child of the Duke of York, the second eldest son of King George V and Queen Mary, and his wife the Duchess.
As part of the celebrations of her birthday, the Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, will unveil a plaque marking The Queen’s Walkway at the foot of Castle Hill today at Windsor.
The walkway, which was built to mark the moment the Queen became Britain’s longest reigning monarch on September 9 2015, is a 6.3km self-guided walking trail connecting 63 points of significance in the town of Windsor
As part of the National celebrations, the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will ride their horses and gun carriages past Buckingham Palace to Hyde Park to stage a 41 Gun Royal Salute at 12pm.
The Honourable Artillery Company will also drive through the city in their liveried Pinzgauer vehicles to the Tower of London to fire a 62 gun salute across the Thames at 1pm.
Westminster Palace, where MPs will pay tribute, will be lit red, white and blue for the special royal anniversary this evening until dawn tomorrow, Friday.
David Cameron will lead the nation in honouring the Monarch’s life when MPs debate a ‘humble address’ to mark the Queen’s birthday, proposed by the Prime Minister.
At about 7pm tonight, The Queen will light the principal beacon to celebrate her birthday, which will set in train a series of over a thousand beacons across the country and worldwide. The Ebrington beacon event will get underway at 8pm and will form part of a network of flames in celebration across the Kingdom.
Members of the Army Cadet Force will be taking beacons to the top of the four highest peaks in the UK: Ben Nevis in Scotland, Mount Snowdon in Wales, Scafell Pike in England, and of course, Slieve Donard in Northern Ireland.
The Prince of Wales who wrote a message to beacon lighters, said: “It is a wonderful gesture which I know has deeply touched Her Majesty”.
“Beacons are to be lit on mountaintops, on beaches, in farmyards and on church towers, uniting us all in our heartfelt appreciation of The Queen’s lifetime of service to the United Kingdom and other Realms, and to the Commonwealth.”