Not even a major military exercise could stop the Royal Navy, Army and the Royal Air Force from wishing The Queen a Happy 90th Birthday.
While The Queen celebrates in Windsor today, personnel currently taking part in Exercise Griffin Strike marked the special day in a variety of ways.
From spelling out ‘90’ on the deck of HMS Bulwark, to troops singing happy birthday on Salisbury Plain, and an RAF pilot wishing The Queen ‘Happy Birthday’ from his Typhoon cockpit, they were keen to show their appreciation of their Commander-in-Chief.
More than 5,000 personnel from the UK and France have been taking part in Exercise Griffin Strike, an exercise designed to test the two nations ability to deploy forces on joint operations together.
The Combined UK and French Joint Expeditionary Force exercise, which began on 10 April, has involved the planning and execution of major land, sea and air activity. This close collaboration between the UK and French Forces aims to make sure that when they are called upon, they are ready to work together. This will enable them to deploy rapidly to conflict zones ahead of a wider NATO or coalition operation, or to meet peacekeeping, disaster relief or humanitarian assistance requirements.
As head of the Armed Forces, The Queen has had a close personal relationship with Servicemen and Servicewomen throughout her reign and in addition to marking her birthday during the exercise personnel will be taking part in a variety of events over the coming months to celebrate.
These include a pageant in Windsor from 12 to 15 May, a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on Saturday 11 June, and the annual Queen’s Birthday Parade (Trooping the Colour) on Sunday 11 June.
Exercise Griffin Strike has seen aircraft including Typhoon and Rafale jets have been operating from RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire, while at sea warships including HMS Ocean, Bulwark and Duncan have been learning to work alongside French ships including FS Dixmude, FS Cassard and FF La Motte Piquet.
On Salisbury Plain, elements of the Army’s 3rd (United Kingdom) Division and French 7th Mechanised Brigade including paratroopers, armoured units and infantrymen have also been training side by side.