Queen Elizabeth Returns to Windsor Castle After Spending Her 96th Birthday at Sandringham

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth

Joe Giddens/WPA Pool/Getty Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth has returned to Windsor Castle.

Buckingham Palace confirmed on Wednesday that the monarch is back at her home base of Windsor Castle after spending her 96th birthday at her Sandringham estate. Last week, the Queen traveled to Sandringham in Norfolk, about 110 miles north of London.

The residence — where the royal family traditionally gathers for Christmas — is full of reminders of her late husband, Prince Philip, who died in April 2021 at age 99. The Duke of Edinburgh spent much of his time at the cozy five-bedroom Wood Farm home on the Sandringham estate, which was modified in recent years to make it easier for him to get around, after he retired from public life in Aug. 2017. While the Queen remained largely at Buckingham Palace in London continuing her royal duties, her husband enjoyed life in the country with activities like carriage driving and painting.

On her birthday, the Queen was spotted going for a drive around the estate. Sitting in the passenger seat, the Queen gave a glimpse of her off-duty look, including bright pink lipstick, sunglasses and stud earrings.

RELATED: Queen Elizabeth Celebrates Her 96th Birthday with Her Most Majestic Photo Ever!

queen elizabeth
queen elizabeth

Terry Harris/Shutterstock Queen Elizabeth

The public celebration of Queen Elizabeth's birthday, known as Trooping the Colour, takes place in June. This year, Trooping the Colour — including the royal family gathering on the Buckingham Palace balcony to watch a flypast — will coincide with a weekend of festivities to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, celebrating her historic 70 years on the throne.

Although the Queen has been absent from a number of events in recent months due to health setbacks and mobility issues, the monarch stepped out on March 29 to attend a Service of Thanksgiving honoring Prince Philip — and she hopes to attend the Jubilee events.

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, Windsor Castle has served as the Queen's base rather than Buckingham Palace in London. However, she has paid visits to Buckingham Palace, Sandringham and her Balmoral estate in Scotland.

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Last week, the Royal Windsor Horse Show released a new photo of Queen Elizabeth to celebrate her birthday.

The majestic shot, which was taken last month on the grounds of Windsor Castle, shows the animal-loving Queen standing proudly between her fell ponies, Bybeck Katie and Bybeck Nightingale. She wears a dark green cape-style coat as she holds the reins of two of her favorite ponies in front of a magnolia tree.

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Photographer Henry Dallal was behind the majestic portrait, telling OK! magazine that it was a "huge honor" to be asked.

He added, "But, at some point, my focus becomes 'take a good picture.' My focus becomes, 'What do I do to get the best photograph possible?' In terms of the lighting, the composition, and also, the biggest challenge, is to make sure the four-legged friends are also smiling at the same time and looking at you. But you never have to tell the Queen to smile."