British Queen 90th birthday marked with Gun Salutes in London
Britain celebrates Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday on Thursday, with her eldest son Prince Charles paying tribute in a special radio broadcast and Prime Minister David Cameron leading a parliamentary homage.
The sovereign, who last year overtook her great-great grandmother queen Victoria to become Britain's longest-reigning monarch, is to mark the day in Windsor Castle with official engagements and a dinner with the royal family.
The excitement was visible in the small town of Windsor, west of London , with special bunting put up in the streets and local shops selling souvenir tea and cakes as well-wishers gathered to celebrate an historic day.
“We are very proud of her. Everybody in the town is very excited. They pulled out all the stops," Carolyn Chisnall, a local resident, quoted AFP.
As military gun salutes are fired in London , Queen Elizabeth will unveil a plaque in Windsor for a new local walking tour in her honour and set fire to the first of hundreds of beacons being lit up around the kingdom.
"Her Majesty the Queen has lived through some extraordinary times in our world," Cameron will tell parliament at the start of an hours-long debate, according to extracts released by his Downing Street office.
"Throughout it all, as the sands of culture shift and the tides of politics ebb and flow, Her Majesty has been steadfast -- a rock of strength for our nation."
Buckingham Palace released three official pictures of the monarch taken by US celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz.