Her Majesty celebrates by greeting her subjects outside Windsor Castle

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated April 21, 2006 07:00 AM
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Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is spending a low-key Friday at Windsor Castle, where she is celebrating her 80th birthday.

The day will include a walkabout among her subjects in Windsor – a tradition she first adopted in 1970 while touring Australia and New Zealand – and a private family dinner hosted by her eldest son, Prince Charles, Reuters reports.

Her subjects have not overlooked the landmark birthday of the queen, who was rated the most popular royal in a recent British survey. Buckingham Palace reports that it has received 20,000 birthday cards and 17,000 e-mails, to which the queen responded in a statement: “I would like to thank the many thousands of people from this country and overseas who have sent me cards and messages on my 80th birthday.

“I have been very touched by what you have written and would like to express my gratitude to you all for making this day such a special one for me.”

She is declining presents, having told her subjects that all she would like on Friday is a bit of sunshine.

The monarch, who took the throne in 1953, has only 10 years to go before she rivals Queen Victoria’s 64-year reign. And she’s got good genes on her side: Her mother died at 101.