Queen cancels birthday gun salute amid coronavirus pandemic

Publish Date
Sunday, 19 April 2020, 10:47AM

The Queen is scaling back her birthday celebrations amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reuters reports the Queen will not have the traditional gun salute on her April 21 birthday, a royal source saying she did not think it was appropriate as Britain grapples with more than 14,000 deaths relating to the virus.

Typically, blank rounds are fired across London to celebrate special events like anniversaries and birthdays in the royal family.

"Her Majesty was keen that no special measures were put in place to allow gun salutes as she did not feel it appropriate in the current circumstances," a Buckingham Palace source told The Guardian.

She is set to spend her 94th birthday at Windsor Castle, and family members will video call her to wish her well, the Guardian reported.

Reuters reported it was believed to be the first request to cancel the gun salute during the Queen's 68-year reign.

The palace had earlier signalled a parade for official celebrations in June would not go ahead in line with social gathering restrictions in the UK.

The Queen delivered a rare message over Easter encouraging people all over the world to stay strong.

She said: "We know that coronavirus will not overcome us. As dark as death can be - particularly for those suffering grief - light and life are greater."

The monarch also delivered a message of strength to New Zealand.

"As people across New Zealand and the Commonwealth are experiencing unprecedented changes to their lives, concerns for family and friends, and financial uncertainty, you are in my thoughts and prayers," she wrote.

"I send my enduring thanks to those who continue to put the service of others above themselves, whether by staying at home, providing essential services, or by caring for the most vulnerable."

"Kia kaha, kia kia māia, kia manawanui," she said in the message, urging New Zealanders to be strong, be brave, be steadfast in the wake of the pandemic.