President of India Greets Queen Elizabeth-II on her Birthday
The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee has conveyed his greetings and felicitations to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom on her birthday which falls on April 21.
In a message, the President has said, “On behalf of the Government and the people of India, it is with great pleasure that I convey warm greetings and hearty congratulations to Your Majesty on the auspicious occasion of your 90th birthday.
India attaches high importance to her rich and multifaceted strategic partnership with the United Kingdom. Regular engagement at the highest level has strengthened and expanded the enduring friendship and mutual understanding between our two great nations. Your Majesty’s personal commitment to the relationship and your leadership in promoting the development of ties between our peoples has been unique.
Please accept, Your Majesty, my sincere wishes for your good health and well-being. I take this opportunity to convey the greetings of the people of India to the friendly people of the United Kingdom on the occasion of ‘Queen’s Day’.”
The Queen is celebrating her 90th birthday this week yet there are few signs that she is slowing down. Last year alone she carried out 306 engagements in the UK and 35 abroad. What does the Queen's good health tell us about longevity?
The Queen can thank her mother, who lived to 101, for passing on good genes. According to Prof Sarah Harper, from the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, just over half your chance of living a long life is dictated by luck of birth. The Queen can thank her mother, who lived to 101, for passing on good genes. According to Prof Sarah Harper, from the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, just over half your chance of living a long life is dictated by luck of birth.
The Queen's father, George VI, died at 57 while her paternal grandfather, George V, died at 70. However, both died from smoking-related diseases. Her paternal grandmother lived to 85, while her maternal grandfather and grandmother lived to 89 and 75 respectively.
Half of long-term smokers die prematurely, losing an average 10 years of life. Smoking causes heart disease, lung cancer and chronic bronchitis, among others. However, the Queen was never tempted to take up the habit, according to her former press secretary, Dickie Arbiter. Both her father and her sister smoked, but it never attracted her. It was something that just didn't appeal." According to Vanity Fair, Prince Philip gave up cigarettes on his wedding day, because Elizabeth's father's addiction to cigarettes had caused her anguish.
The Queen apparently also has a healthy approach to alcohol. "She doesn't drink a lot," says Arbiter. "If she's having a drink she will usually just have one. Two is very rare." This would be well within NHS guidelines.
Darren McGrady, who was the Queen's personal chef, told People magazine last year that she keeps a close eye on her figure. He said when she isn't entertaining she sticks to simple meals like grilled chicken with salad. "She's very disciplined. No starch is the rule. No potatoes, rice or pasta for dinner," he said. Neither the Queen nor Prince Philip have a reputation for overindulging at mealtimes, according to royal historian Kate Williams.
"It's important as they have to attend a lot of formal dinners and banquets." Obesity, which is caused by a poor diet and lack of exercise, reduces your life expectancy between three and 10 years. It's a major risk factor for heart disease and strokes as well as diabetes and some cancers. Overweight and obese children are more likely to become obese adults, but this wasn't an issue for the young princess, according to Williams. "She had a very healthy childhood. She and Margaret had a governess and had lessons in the mornings but then dancing, playing and horse riding in the afternoon. "During the war they lived on rations liked everyone else. Her Majesty still prefers to eat simple food afterwards, like meat with veg, not processed foods."
Marriage has been found to have a protective effect on health, as long as it's a happy one. Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center found a successful marriage reduced a spouse's risk of cardiovascular disease by 5% compared with a single person, but a strained marriage increased it.
The Queen and Prince Philip, who is five years older, have been married for 68 years. In 2012 Elizabeth paid tribute to her husband during her Diamond Jubilee celebrations calling him her "constant strength and guide".
"She has a strong marriage," says Arbiter. "There has only been one man in her life and that's Philip."
Other long-lived British monarchs
Queen Victoria: 81 years, 7 months, 29 days (1819-1901)
King George III: 81 years, 7 months, 24 days (1738-1820)
King Edward VIII: 77 years, 11 months, 3 days (1894-1972)
King George II: 76 years, 11 months, 25 days (1683-1760)
King William IV: 71 years, 9 months, 28 days (1765-1837)
The Queen exercises every day to help her bear the strain of her physically demanding job.
"She rides once or twice a week when she's at Windsor and walks during the day. If she doesn't have time to walk the dogs in the morning she will walk them in the afternoon," Arbiter says. "Unlike many modern workers she doesn't sit at a desk all day. During an investiture [a ceremony where she bestows honours such as OBEs] she is standing for up to 90 minutes."
After a long day the Queen is careful to get a good night's rest. "She sleeps around seven hours a night and is woken around 7.30am in the morning," Arbiter says.
"The Queen is an interesting case as there are some aspects of her life that aren't in her control," says Harper. "However, she does apply control in all the areas where she is free to make decisions. She chose to marry Prince Philip despite some disapproval. It's known that she makes all the daily decisions in her household, such as checking the daily menus."
As head of state in the UK as well as 15 countries in the Commonwealth, the Queen has much to occupy her mind.
"She reads a lot, she gets government papers from countries all over the world," says Arbiter. "She gets her red box of government papers every day apart from Christmas Day. She reads and answers correspondence, she prepares for audiences and talks to all sorts of different people. She has receptions that range from health to the arts and politics and spends the first hour of garden parties meeting and talking to people. Her schedule is pretty relentless."
The Queen is titled the Defender of the Faith in the UK and is a committed Christian. She has written a foreword to the book The Servant Queen and the King She Serves, which has been published to celebrate her 90th birthday. She wrote: "I have been - and remain - very grateful to you for your prayers and to God for his steadfast love. I have indeed seen his faithfulness."
Religious belief has been linked to a longer life, although scientists aren't entirely sure what the connection is. "It could be that religious faith, especially in the West, comes with a community and support network. On the other hand faith may make you feel more positive about life and death. Studies have found that optimists live longer than pessimists," says Harper.
The Queen is patron of more than 600 charities and organisations, including Great Ormond Street Hospital, Cancer Research UK and the RSPCA. Research from the Charities Aid Foundation in 2012, found that she had helped them raise £1.4bn.