Queen takes surprise helicopter trip ahead of birthday to be ‘closer to Philip’

The Queen has been spotted out and about ahead of her 96th birthday tomorrow which she intends to spend close to her beloved departed husband Prince Phillip.

The Monarch was pictured leaving Windsor Castle today (April 20) before travelling by helicopter to Sandringham where she will spend her birthday tomorrow.

It is thought the Queen will welcome in her 96th year at the Duke of Edinburgh's cottage, Wood Farm located on her Norfolk estate.

A royal source said the monarch is making the move so she can be "as close as possible to her late husband".

She has previously said that Prince Philip "loved" the property because the "sea was so close".

Speaking to the Mirror, the source said: "The Queen decided very recently that on her birthday she wanted to be as close as possible to her late husband and in an environment that was very close to both of their hearts.

"Sandringham holds so many special memories for the Queen and Prince Philip as well as the rest of the Royal Family.

"It’s certainly a positive step that Her Majesty is feeling well enough and rested to enjoy her upcoming mini-break which she thoroughly deserves to celebrate her birthday."

The Duke of Edinburgh died aged 99 on April 9 last year, less than two weeks before the Queen's 95th birthday, following a 12-month spell in lockdown together at Windsor Castle.

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Tomorrow the sovereign will likely be remembering the poignant gesture her husband always carried out for her special day.

Biographer Ingrid Seward claimed that although the couple tried to keep special occasions low-key, the Duke of Edinburgh had a special tradition for the Queen’s birthday.

Just before the Queen’s 94th, Ms Seward told Sky News: “Prince Philip always brings her a beautiful bouquet of flowers, and I presume that someone will definitely do that for him today.

“I think she likes white flowers and there’s always some lily of the valley — she loves flowers.”

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