The hidden message in the Queen’s birthday portrait

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Photo credit: CHRIS JACKSON - Getty Images
Photo credit: CHRIS JACKSON - Getty Images

It's the Queen's birthday today! Happy 96th. And last night, her official birthday portrait was released to the world via the Royal Family's Instagram account – and we're totally here for the hidden message we reckon she's sending out. It's a vibe.

In the birthday portrait, her Majesty is standing between two of her white fell ponies – who are named Bybeck Katie and Bybeck Nightingale – a magnolia tree is her backdrop. She's holding the horses by their reins, on the grounds of Windsor Castle and she's wearing a gorgeous dark green coat and pearl earrings.

The green perhaps is a subtle reference to her late husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who died last year when he was 99 years old. The dark, muted green colour has been called "Edinburgh green," and is closely associated to Prince Philip, who was known to use the shade for his livery, used over the years for his staff uniforms and was also the colour of many of his private cars.

The photograph is a very powerful one, the Queen is looking strong. Recently, she's been photographed using a walking stick, and it's the first time we've seen her without it in a while. We reckon she's saying, look, I am still powerful, I am here and in charge of two large animals. I am independent.

It's a departure from a photo of Queen Elizabeth II, shared last year on her birthday, which was taken during a period of mourning, following the death of her husband, on 9 April 2021. It's a close-up of her smiling wearing a dark plum colour hat with flowers adorning it.

But this new portrait, to mark her 2022 birthday, appears to be capturing all of her great loves, a nod to her late husband but also her life-long love of horses (she was given a Shetland pony when she was four years old). Sadly, though, she hasn't been able to actually ride since last September. "She was in quite a bit of discomfort," a source told The Sun last year. "She adores riding, and it has been part of her ritual for most of her life. She has been extremely disappointed not to go riding since the beginning of September."

To celebrate her birthday this year, the Queen has travelled by helicopter to her Norfolk estate, where she will be joined by family and friends over the course of the next few days. And we hope she has a lovely time.

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