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Queen Honored With Parade, Festivities on Her Official Birthday

by Reuters /  / Updated 
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip arrive for the Trooping the Colour, this year marking the Queen's 90th birthday at The Mall on Saturday in London, England.) / Getty Images

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LONDON — Queen Elizabeth attended the traditional Trooping the Colour parade featuring soldiers in ceremonial uniforms as part of a weekend of events to mark her "official" 90th birthday.

The queen, who has been on the throne for 64 years, turned 90 in April but in keeping with a tradition dating back to 1748, she also has an official birthday — usually in June — to ensure celebrations take place when the weather is likely to be better.

On Saturday, Royal Air Force aircraft flew over Buckingham Palace in honor of Britain's oldest and longest-reigning monarch.

To conclude this weekend's festivities, the queen will host "The Patrons Lunch" on Sunday for 10,000 guests at the largest street party ever to be held on the Mall, the grand avenue that leads to Buckingham Palace. The event is organized by her grandson, Peter Phillips.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip arrive for the Trooping the Colour, this year marking the Queen's 90th birthday at The Mall on Saturday in London, England.) / Getty Images

The guests will come from some of the more than 600 charities and other organizations of which she is patron with the festivities beamed to large screens in the capital's parks.

On Friday, the queen was celebrated at a National Service of Thanksgiving at London's St Paul's Cathedral, attended by dignitaries including Prime Minister David Cameron and all the senior royals.

In a ceremony laden with the pageantry that accompanies significant royal events, the monarch was greeted by a trumpet fanfare while the entrance to the cathedral was flanked by her Bodyguard of the Yeoman of the Guard, veteran soldiers dressed in scarlet uniforms.

Additionally on Friday, Veteran British rocker Rod Stewart was among more than 1,000 people to be recognized by the queen. Stewart, known for hits such as "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" and "Maggie May," was knighted as part of the queen's "Birthday Honors" list.

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It was a double celebration for the royals, with the occasion falling on the same day as the 95th birthday of Prince Philip, the queen's husband of 68 years.

"Your Majesty, today we rejoice for the way in which God's loving care has fearfully and wonderfully sustained you, as well as Prince Philip marking his 95th birthday today," Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion said in his sermon.

He said the country looked back at her decades of service to the nation, through war, hardship, turmoil and change, with deep wonder and gratitude.

The government has said millions of Britons are expected to join the occasion at local street parties across the country.

It is when a list of honors is issued, with this year's recipients including 99-year-old singer Vera Lynn, who entertained British troops during World War II, and Tim Peake, the first British astronaut to visit the International Space Station.

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