LONDON, April 21 (UPI) -- Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 88th birthday Monday as the the second-longest reigning monarch in British history.
As one of the benefits of being queen, Her Majesty celebrates her birthday twice every year. She will celebrate on April 21 -- her actual birthday -- in a small, private celebration with her family. In June, she will celebrate in a large, public ceremony, with a parade in London and the royal family in attendance.
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary of the House of Windsor assumed the throne in 1952 at the age of 25, when her father King George IV passed while she was traveling. She is the second-longest reigning monarch, and is set to become the longest-reigning when she surpasses her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria, on September 11 of next year.
Queen Elizabeth remains active, but has essentially removed all foreign travel from her diplomatic itinerary. Her trip to visit Pope Francis in Rome last month is expected to be one of her last trips. This does not mean the monarch is slowing down too much; she still attends ceremonies, dinner parties, and diplomatic events, and can be seen smiling in her new birthday portrait.