Charles wished his 'Mummy' the happiest of birthdays as the Queen lit a beacon for her 90th


The Prince of Wales has paid a touching tribute to his mother, wishing her the "most special and happiest of birthdays".

Charles, at a beacon lighting ceremony at Windsor Castle to mark the Queen's 90th birthday, spoke of the "love and affection" for her throughout the country and the Commonwealth.

He called the head of state "Mummy" during his short address - often his affectionate introduction for the sovereign during royal celebrations.

Queen Elizabeth II is handed a torch by Bruno Peek, Originator & Pageantmaster, with which to light the principal beacon to celebrate her 90th birthday, watched by her eldest son, Prince Charles
(Arthur Edwards/AP)

As dusk approached on her milestone birthday, he said: "Your Majesty, Mummy, I find it very hard to believe you've reached your 90th year and I suddenly realised the other day that I've known you since you were 22 years old.

This is, ladies and gentlemen, a very special occasion and the beacon Her Majesty is about to light will also represent, as it lights other beacons across the nation, the love and affection in which you are held throughout this country and the Commonwealth.

"So, ladies and gentlemen, can we wish Her Majesty the most special and happiest of birthdays on this occasion. And long may you reign over us.

A beacon which was lit by Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle in Berkshire, as she celebrates her 90th birthday.
(Jonathan Brady/PA)

"Now, ladies and gentlemen, can I ask you as well if you could raise three very special cheers for Her Majesty on this special occasion.

"And if they're loud enough it might just work to light the other beacons by spontaneous combustion."

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were driven to Cambridge Gate in Home Park, Windsor, for the lighting of the first in a network of more than 1,260 beacons.

The Prince of Wales speaks before Queen Elizabeth II lights a beacon at Windsor Castle in Berkshire, as she celebrates her 90th birthday.
(Jonathan Brady/PA)

She was dressed in a white silk headscarf for her last public engagement of the day before a private black tie dinner hosted by Charles in the Waterloo Chamber of the castle.

Charles handed the torch to the Queen and invited her to light the principal beacon - a large brazier on a 20ft (6m) pole at the start of the Long Walk.

With the beacon towering above them Charles handed a flaming torch to the Queen who lit a fuse which set off a series of small controlled explosions which ignited the beacon.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, watches after she lit the principal beacon which will set in train a series of over 1,000 beacons to be lit across the country and worldwide to mark Her Majesty's 90th birthday, in Windsor, England
(Arthur Edwards/AP)

It took a while to get going and Bruno Peek, who has organised a number of national beacon lighting events to mark royal anniversaries, said Philip quipped: "It's not going up".