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Queen Elizabeth cancels birthday plans, traditional gun salutes

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 22: Soldiers reload a gun after firing during a 41 Royal gun salute to mark the 93rd birthday of Queen Elizabeth II at Hyde Park on April 22, 2019 in London, England. The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery rode out in the park with 71 horses pulling six First World War-era 13 pounder Field Guns. The Queen's actual birthday is on April 21 with her official birthday being marked with The Queen's Birthday Parade, known as Trooping the Colour, in June. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

(CNN) — For the first time in 68 years, Queen Elizabeth II will not be marking her birthday with the traditional royal gun salute.

The Queen canceled the celebration because she felt it would be inappropriate due to the coronavirus pandemic, a royal source told CNN on Saturday.

The Palace is expected to celebrate the Queen’s 94th birthday on April 21 on social media. All family-related affairs, including phone and video calls with family members will remain private, according to the source.

Trooping the Colour, the traditional parade held annually in mid-June to mark the official celebration of the Queen’s birthday, has also been canceled. The tradition was started by King George II in 1748.

The Queen, who is the head of the United Kingdom’s armed forces, gets a chance to review her army during the military parade. It traditionally moves from Buckingham Palace down the Mall to Horse Guard’s Parade, with members of the royal family traveling on horseback or carriage.

Last year, more than 200 horses, 400 musicians and 1,400 officers took part in the parade.

There are no alternative plans to mark the Queen’s official birthday, the royal source said.

The Queen addressed the nation earlier in the month in a rare televised speech and called for unity because of the coronavirus pandemic.

By Saturday afternoon, the United Kingdom had recorded more than 114,217 cases and at least 15,464 deaths from the virus.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalized after testing positive for the virus. Johnson was released from hospital on April 12. Prince Charles, the 71-year-old heir to the throne, also tested positive for Covid-19 recently and underwent a period of self-isolation.