5 Ways to Celebrate The Queen’s Birthday in Lockdown

Queen Elizabeth II turns 94 on 21 April 2020. Born on April 21 1926, The Queen usually celebrates this date in private with her family, with a larger affair saved for her official birthday in June. There are, however, usually midday gun salutes on 21 April, but sadly that won’t be happening this year due to the coronavirus outbreak. But you can still celebrate our reigning monarch with these simple Royal Family-related ideas…  

Lead image: Coworth Park’s Afternoon Tea

1 Sip a Gin & Dubonnet
The Queen is reportedly a fan of gin and Dubonnet, as was The Queen Mother, so it would be fitting to raise a glass to Her Royal Highness today. Queen Elizabeth II likes her pour two parts Dubonnet and one part gin, with two cubes of ice and a lemon slice. No Dubonnet to hand? I’m sure a G&T would do the job just as well, after all, Dubonnet (a ruby-red fortified wine infused with herbs, spices and quinine) was apparently invented in the mid 1800s to get the French Foreign Legionnaires in North Africa to drink quinine, known to combat malaria. And I think we could all do with a ‘medicinal’ tipple right now…

2 Take a Virtual Tour of Buckingham Palace
There are plenty of virtual tours of galleries and museums (check out Google Arts & Culture, especially the Street View section where you can wander around empty museums), but one of the best we’ve found by far is The Royal Collection’s virtual tour of Buckingham Palace. Developed in collaboration with Google Expeditions, the virtual tour offers you the chance to explore the Palace’s magnificent State Rooms – which you can poke about as takes your fancy, with 360-degree viewing ability – and learn more from an expert curator about the treasures from the Royal Collection that furnish each room.

3 Whip up an Afternoon Tea at Home
The Dorchester in Mayfair and Coworth Park in Ascot are hotels beloved by Royals, and although you sadly can’t visit at the moment, you can recreate their afternoon tea experiences at home. Adam Smith, executive chef of Restaurant Coworth Park, part of the Dorchester collection, has shared his special egg and cress finger sandwich recipe, and his simple scone recipe so you can recreate your own tea party with the family at home (or, you know, via Zoom). Most ingredients included are items you’ll likely already have in the cupboard, so they are also easy to make without a trip to the shops. Find Smith’s egg and cress sandwich recipe here, and his scone recipe here.

Egg & Cress sandwiches: How to make the best egg and cress sandwiches, with a recipe from a Michelin star chef

Make Michelin quality egg and cress sandwiches at home (photo Monkey Business Images / Getty Images Plus)

4 Watch The Crown on Netflix
But of course! The most effortless way to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday is to sit back and start working your way through Seasons 1-3 of The Crown, the Netflix drama following the political rivalries and romance of Her Majesty’s reign. Seasons 1 & 2 star the brilliant Claire Foy (The Queen) alongside Matt Smith (Prince Phillip) and John Lithgow (Winston Churchill), while the newly released Season 3 stars British acting royalty Olivia Colman (The Queen), Helena Bonham Carter (Princess Margaret) and Tobias Menzies (Prince Phillip). Watch all three series on Netflix now (a basic subscription is £5.99 a month).

5 Bid on a Cheeky ‘Royal’ Print
The Queen is wild at heart, right? We can totally see that, with her love of horses, corgis and her no-nonsense attitude (we’ve seen Claire Foy utter the words, ‘The crown must win. Must always win’, in Netflix’s The Crown). So why not celebrate HRH Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday with this cheeky print by BAMBI (Dog Saves The Queen, 2020). It’s up for auction as part of Bonhams’ BLUE Auction (8-29 April), a not-for-profit digital auction that have been generously donated by leading actors, musicians, artists and sportspeople in aid of the NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal. Other artists donating works for the cause include Anish Kapoor, Julian Opie and The Connor Brothers, while money-can’t-buy experiences up for grabs include a visit to Grayson Perry’s studio and lunch at Claridge’s with Dame Joan Collins, her husband Percy Gibson and national treasure, Christopher Biggins. Bonhams is waiving all charges so that 100% of proceeds go to the NHS Charities Covid-19 Urgent Appeal.
View the lots online at bonhams.com and bid via bids@bonhams.com / 020 7447 7447

Art fundraisers for the NHS: Bonham's Blue art auction features Dog Save the Queen, Bambi, for sale

Dog Save the Queen by street artist Bambi is one of the artworks on sale in the Bonham’s Blue charity auction