Getting the royal party started!
Queen Elizabeth II kicked off celebrations for her Platinum Jubilee by hosting a special reception at Sandringham House in Norfolk, England, marking her first public outing for the new year.
The event was held on Feb. 5, the eve of the Her Majesty's Accession Day, which will mark the 70th anniversary of her reign. Elizabeth became Queen of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth following the death of her father King George VI on February 6, 1952.
Dressed in a light blue ensemble, the 95-year-old royal was photographed cutting into a a special cake that was decorated with the emblem of the Platinum Jubilee and enjoying entertainment from The Hunstanton Concert Band. The also received several gifts including a mosaic made by local school children.
Guests included fellow members of the Sandringham branch of the Women's Institute, which Queen Elizabeth II has been a local member of since 1943 and its president since 2003.
Also in attendance were representatives from local charities and Angela Wood, who helped create the original recipe for Coronation Chicken, a dish made famous in 1953 when the monarch was crowned at Westminster Abbey. According to the palace, the two women talked about the work involved in developing the recipe at the time.
BBC News reported that vice president of the Sandringham WI Yvonne Browne said Queen Elizabeth II was "sparkling" at the party where she laughed and joked with guests,
"Seventy years on the throne shows the Queen has been a moving example to absolutely everyone in all walks of life," said Browne. "She's been a constant, compassionate and stoic, everything that makes a perfect human being, and has a great strength of character and has overcome so many things."
Though the ceremonial monarch assumed the throne in February 1952, Britain's official celebrations are scheduled to take place around the time she was coronated in June, according to NBC News. There will be also an extra national holiday for the occasion along with other events across the U.K. throughout the year.
The monarch's outing comes four months after she was hospitalized for "preliminary investigations," a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said at the time, and was advised by doctors to rest for a few weeks, leading her to cancel previously scheduled engagements.
The following month, Queen Elizabeth II was forced her to skip the Remembrance Sunday Service due to a sprained back, making it only the seventh time in 69 years she was absent.
She has since occasionally attended family and public engagements. In November, the Queen was photographed arriving at the joint christening of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank's 9-month-old son, August, and Zara and Mike Tindall's 8-month-old son, Lucas, at the Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park in Berkshire, England.
Also that month and in December, the Queen hosted a few small events at Windsor Castle, her home since the start of the COVID-19.