The Queen Spends Her Birthday at Prince Philip's Retirement Home

The Queen celebrates her 96th birthday today, April 21, but expect no elaborate public celebration in the United Kingdom because her official birthday celebration is traditionally observed on the second Saturday of June in UK (date varies in other nations within the Commonwealth Realms), and highlighted in the Queen's birthday parade known as Trooping the Colours, a parade of regiments in the British army.

Today, the Queen travels to Sandringham estate, where she traditionally spends Christmas with her family. And she'll mark her special day with a private lunch to be attended by closest friends and family.

However, the most surprising thing is the report that she chooses to  stay at the more modest Wood Farm home, rather than at the magnificent Sandringham House.

Wood Farm, former retirement home of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Wood Farm brings back warm and loving memories to the Queen because it's the property chosen by Prince Philip to be his retirement home. And it's where she regularly had phone conversation with her husband between 2017 and early part of 2020.

Prince Philip joined the Queen in Windsor Castle in March 2020 when the pandemic began. He wasn't able to go back living at his favorite property due to COVID-19, until he died in April 2021.

They did spend the last part of autumn 2020 at Sandringham House before returning to Windsor Castle at Christmastime.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, chose Wood Farm as his retirement home due to its homey ambiance and relaxed atmosphere

Wood Farm is located on a corner of the 600-acre Sandringham estate near the Norfolk coastline. The Wood Farm house is a modest red-brick home with spartan furnishings. 

It has five-bedrooms and the property is located in a secluded part of the Sandringham Estate overlooking the Norfolk coastline, thus, privacy is guaranteed. It has been described as a “comfortable open beamed cottage two miles from the ‘big house’”.

Wood Farm

The house is located near the stables and pheasant shooting grounds. And has a private helipad. The Duke of Edinburgh oversaw the renovation in 2017 and applied his own choice of furnishings especially the kitchen area, and the walls were reportedly decorated with his own art.

He reportedly chose it as his retirement home due to its homey ambiance and relaxed and peaceful atmosphere. At Wood Farm home, staff don't have to wear uniforms.

It's less formal and no complicated royal protocol to follow unlike when they stay at the big house - the grand Sandringham House, where formal gatherings at Christmastime are traditionally held.

The Queen's former personal chef, Darren McGrady, once shared his fond memories of Wood Farm.

"I used to love it there. It's so small you get to interact with them every day, rattle pans and play with the corgis!" Darren wrote on Twitter. "And when The Queen looks into the kitchen after a busy week and says 'Thank you', you can't get a bigger compliment than that."

Prince Philip enjoyed his stay at Wood Farm during his retirement. He spent his day painting water colors, reading, and walking around.

The royal family began using Wood Farm as private home in 1967. It's where the Queen could spend her normal life routine as a mother and wife. She would wash dishes and enjoy a garden walk with Prince Philip.

Sandringham House where the royal family traditionally spend Christmas

It's a modest home favored by most members of the royal family because of its relaxed environment and homey feel, in contrast to the grander Sandringham House. It's also the favorite of Prince Charles, known with his love for the countryside living. So it's not surprising the Queen chose it to spend her 96th birthday today.

Photo credit: Royal Windsor Show

The Royal Windsor Horse Show released a portrait of Her Majesty to mark her 96th birthday. The touching photo shows Her Majesty with two of her fell ponies, Bybeck Katie and Bybeck Nightingale.

Her Majesty regularly attended the Royal Windsor Horse Show where she has horses joining the competition. She has close affinity with horses since she was a child, having received a miniature pony from her grandfather, King George V, on her 6th birthday. And even at her age now she still does horseback riding to relax during the weekend.

Happy birthday Your Majesty!🎂🎊 Read Related Post about The Queen's Birthday and How Her Meals are Prepared.

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