The Queen has released the sweetest unseen photographs to celebrate her birthday

Happy Birthday Your Majesty!

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Happy Birthday Your Majesty!

Today marks the Queen's 96th birthday, and as the longest reigning monarch in British history she even got her very own limited edition Barbie doll to celebrate the milestone.

She spent the day in Norfolk on her Sandringham estate, and is said to be staying at Wood Farm - her late husband, Prince Philip's, favourite residence on the property. Some members of the royal family are reportedly joining her there, and have shared sweet personal photos on social media to wish her a happy birthday.

Across the country, the Royal Horse Artillery paid tribute to the Queen with a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park, a 21 gun salut in Windsor and a 62 gun salute at the Tower of London. At Windsor Castle, the Royal guards also played Happy Birthday for the monarch, with videos of the special moment shared online.

A photo posted by on

While today marks Queen Elizabeth II's real birth date, she will celebrate again in June with the annual Trooping the Colour parade which usually takes place on the second Saturday of the summer month every year. This year it will tie in to her Platinum Jubilee celebrations, with a number of events planned across the UK from street parties and parades to parties at Buckingham Palace.

Today, however, royal fans were treated to a sweet photo of the Queen when she was just 2 years old - and it's now going viral.

Shared on The Royal Family's official Instagram account, the image shows the monarch as a toddler - explaining that at the time it was 'never expected' that she would become Queen.

A photo posted by on

The caption reads: 'Then Princess Elizabeth, she was the eldest daughter of The Duke and Duchess of York and was never expected to become Queen. Her life changed in 1936 when her uncle, King Edward VIII abdicated, her father became King George VI and the young Princess became the heir presumptive.

'Following the sad death of her father in 1952, Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II aged just 25.'

A new photograph of her Majesty was also released ahead of her birthday, stood between two of her ponies.

A photo posted by on

Her coat appears to be a nod to Prince Philip, with green said to be the late Duke of Edinburgh's favourite colour, and the photograph was taken in March in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

Wishing the Queen a very happy birthday!

Dionne Brighton

Dionne Brighton is a writer at Marie Claire UK, specialising in all things shopping, beauty and fashion. Born and raised in North London, she studied Literature at the University of East Anglia before taking the leap into journalism. These days, you can find her testing out the latest TikTok beauty trends or finding out what the next full Moon means.