The Queen just shared a touching photograph to her social media

The monarch paid tribute to her cousin on his 77th birthday.

the queen shares sweet photograph to social media

The monarch paid tribute to her cousin on his 77th birthday.

The Queen may be currently enjoying a well-deserved summer break at Balmoral, but that doesn't mean she's completely off-grid.

Between her busy Balmoral schedule of pranking tourists and being awoken by a daily bagpipes serenade, Her Majesty didn't forget to pay tribute to a very special birthday on Thursday – that of her cousin, the Duke of Gloucester.

Marking the Duke's 77th birthday, the royal family's twitter account posted four photos in dedication to the Queen's cousin (no doubt with sign-off from the monarch herself).

Captioning the series of posts, 'Wishing His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester a happy birthday today', the sweet tribute showed Prince Richard carrying out his duties as a full-time working royal.

The first image was a close-up of the duke smartly dressed in suit and tie, while the second showed him enjoying a country walk with his wife, Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester, who is also a full-time working royal.

A third photograph showed the Duke at a Buckingham Palace garden party, while a fourth photograph showed Richard on a visit to Okehampton Camp during The Rifles' Annual Deployment Exercise in 2017.

The royal couple, who have three children together, are known for being low-profile, and reside in an apartment within the grounds of Kensington Palace. Carrying out hundreds of royal duties a year, Andrew and Birgitte are also patrons of several royal charities.

The Queen's younger cousin wasn't always destined for a frontline royal role, though. Richard put aside ambitions of becoming an architect to take up royal duties following the tragic death of his older brother William (who Prince William was reportedly named after) in a plane crash in 1972.

The Queen has been staying at Balmoral since early this month – though this year heralds a sad milestone for the monarch, as it will be the first time she has holidayed alone at the Scottish estate since the death of her husband Prince Philip back in April.

Long been known as the place where the Queen feels most at home, Balmoral is the only royal residence in which the monarch has no official duties to attend to.

Kate McCusker

Kate McCusker is a freelance writer at Marie Claire UK, having joined the team in 2019. She studied fashion journalism at Central Saint Martins, and her byline has also appeared in Dezeen, British Vogue, The Times and woman&home. In no particular order, her big loves are: design, good fiction, bad reality shows and the risible interiors of celebrity houses.