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Happy Birthday Queen! Thousands Honor Elizabeth’s 90th

Queen Elizabeth II turned 90 on Thursday drawing crowds of well-wishers and floods of tributes.

April 21 marks the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, who was born in 1926 and ascended the throne in 1953. Six decades after her coronation, she is as strong as ever.

To royalists, she is the symbol of British perseverance and tradition, respected for everything she does and embodies. To some others, she is an ideal brand.

Above: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she greets well wishers on her 90th birthday during a walkabout in Windsor, Britain on April 21, 2016.

STEFAN WERMUTH / Reuters
Royal well-wishers try too grab a glimpse of Queen Elizabeth during her birthday celebrations in Windsor on April 21. Her record is all the more remarkable because she was not born to be queen. When Princess Elizabeth was born on April 21, 1926, her father was a younger son of king and not expected to reign. His older brother took the throne in 1936 as Edward VIII -- but abdicated the same year to marry his divorced American lover, Wallis Simpson. ANDY RAIN / EPA
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II accompanied by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh waves to wellwishers during a walkabout on her 90th birthday in Windsor on April 21. She holds the record as Britain's longest reigning monarch (last September, she passed Victoria's record) and is the oldest ruler. BEN STANSALL / AFP - Getty Images
A Royal fan dressed as a Town Crier gathers to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday in Windsor on April 21. STEFAN WERMUTH / Reuters

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip wave from the top of an open Range Rover on the monarch's 90th Birthday in Windsor on April 21 They were married in 1974 and have four children: Charles, Prince of Wales, Anne, Princess Royal, Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.

 

Related: Annie Leibovitz Photos Show Relaxed Queen and Little Royals

Chris Jackson / Getty Images
Town Criers dressed in their traditional costumes watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace in London, Britain on April 21. DYLAN MARTINEZ / Reuters
Britain's Queen Elizabeth receives flowers and cards from well-wishers during a walk-about to celebrate her 90th birthday, in Windsor, on April 21. Later the queen will light a beacon, the first of about 1,000 across Britain and worldwide to mark the occasion. STEFAN WERMUTH / Reuters
Royal fans with a dog in a buggy gather to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday in Windsor, on April 21. TOBY MELVILLE / Reuters
Soldiers from the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC), the City of Londons Reserve Army Regiment perform a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London to mark the 90th Birthday of Queen Elizabeth in London on April 21. There were also artillery gun salutes in other British cities, while the Houses of Parliament were to be illuminated later in red, white and blue. Dan Kitwood / Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth walks past well wishers on her 90th birthday, in Windsor, on April 21. The queen usually spends her birthday privately, with most of the pomp and ceremony reserved for an official birthday that's marked in June. But Thursday's milestone brought an outpouring of public goodwill. STEFAN WERMUTH / Reuters
Royal well-wishers await the arrival of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II during her 90th birthday celebrations in Windsor, on April 21. He ANDY RAIN / EPA
Queen Elizabeth II receives a birthday cake from Nadiya Hussain, winner of the Great British Bake Off, during her 90th Birthday Walkabout in Windsor on April 21. WPA Pool / Getty Images

Crowds gather to watch Changing of the Guard outside Buckingham Palace in London, on April 21. When she was 21 -- almost five years before she became queen -- she promised the people of Britain and the Commonwealth that "my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service."

She kept the promise, and it has struck a chord with people in Britain and around the world.

DYLAN MARTINEZ / Reuters