Royals Queen Elizabeth Is All Smiles in New Photos as She Returns to Work Following Birthday Break The monarch spent the week of her 96th birthday at her Sandringham estate By Stephanie Petit Stephanie Petit Stephanie Petit is a Royals Editor, Writer and Reporter at PEOPLE. People Editorial Guidelines Published on April 28, 2022 11:00 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Queen Elizabeth. Photo: Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty Queen Elizabeth is back to work following her birthday break. After spending a week at her Sandringham estate for her 96th birthday, the monarch had her first in-person engagement since returning to Windsor Castle on Thursday. She welcomed Switzerland's President Ignazio Cassis and his wife Paola Cassis. Although the Queen has been using a walking cane for several months, she appeared to go without it for Thursday's audience. Wearing a blue patterned dress and her signature three-strand pearl necklace, the Queen was all smiles as she shook hands and posed for photos with her guests. Queen Elizabeth Spotted Out for a Drive on Her 96th Birthday in Bright Pink Lipstick! 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. Queen Elizabeth. Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty 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. Her latest visit to Sandringham in Norfolk, about 110 miles north of London, coincided with her birthday. Queen Elizabeth, President of Switzerland Ignazio Cassis and his wife Paola Cassis. Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty 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. Queen Elizabeth. Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty 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. Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more! 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.