The Queen is celebrating her first birthday in decades without her husband Prince Philip on Wednesday

By Stephanie Petit
April 19, 2021 10:27 AM
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Queen Elizabeth's 95th birthday this week will be a subdued occasion following the death of her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip

The monarch's milestone birthday on Wednesday won't be celebrated as usual — while the Queen and other family members often mark their birthdays by sharing new portraits with the public, there will not be a photo released this year.

This will be Queen Elizabeth's first birthday following the death of her husband, who was buried at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle on Saturday. He died on April 9 at the age of 99, just two months shy of his 100th birthday.

The Queen is surrounded by her loyal staff and her three dogs (who she has been spotted walking in the Frogmore Gardens over the past week) at Windsor Castle, and family members will likely visit the monarch in the coming days.

There is also speculation that Prince Harry, who returned to the U.K. for the first time in over a year from California to attend his grandfather's funeral, will extend his trip until after the Queen's birthday.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth
| Credit: Tim Graham/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth's public birthday celebrations will also be different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Trooping the Colour — the festivities held annually in June to mark the Queen's birthday, with the highlight being the royal family gathered on the balcony of Buckingham Palace — was canceled for the second year in a row.

Plans are being explored for a scaled-down celebration likely to take place in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle, like last year, Buckingham Palace announced in March. It remains to be seen if she will be able to be joined by any of her family for a commemoration this June.

Royal family
Queen Elizabeth and the royal family at Trooping the Colour in April 2019.
| Credit: James Devaney/Getty

Queen Elizabeth sat alone at Prince Philip's funeral after being accompanied by Lady Susan Hussey, her lady-in-waiting, on the car ride there.

Listen below to the episode of our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day for more on Prince Philip's funeral.

In keeping with pandemic guidelines, the Queen and members of the congregation wore face masks and sat six feet apart. Sitting inside the chapel, the Queen could be seen with her face down, only the top of her black hat visible.

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth
| Credit: Jonathan Brady - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The day after Prince Philip's death, the Queen's daughter-in-law Sophie, Countess of Wessex tearfully told people gathered outside Windsor Castle that "the Queen has been amazing."

Amid reports that the monarch will be accompanied by family members at future engagements, a former senior aide at the palace tells PEOPLE, "Her family will step up and be by her side, but she will carry on. She understands that she has a job to do, and [Philip] would have wanted her to crack on. She did do so when he retired from public life."

A close royal insider adds, "She will never abdicate because of duty and honor and public service is so deep in her, as it was for him."

The Queen And The Duke Of Edinburgh Release A Photograph To Celebrate The Duke's 99th Birthday
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip
| Credit: Steve Parsons/Press Association via Getty

The Queen resumed her royal duties just days after Philip's death, hosting a retirement ceremony Tuesday at Windsor Castle in honor of Earl Peel who stepped down as Lord Chamberlain a week before Prince Philip died, according to the Court Circular

Prior to Peel's retirement after 14 years in the Lord Chamberlain position, he was overseeing the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral proceedings. Peel's duties are being taken over by former MI5 spy chief Baron Andrew Parker.

Wedding of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip
Prince Philip and the Queen on their wedding day
| Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty

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At 13, the future Queen first met a then 18-year-old Prince Philip in 1939, when she joined her parents and sister Princess Margaret on a visit to Dartmouth naval college. While Elizabeth was reserved and shy, she was smitten by Philip's zest for adventure.

"She fell in love, and she never looked at anyone else," biographer Sally Bedell Smith tells PEOPLE in last week's cover story.