The Queen has been hailed as an “inspiration to so many across the UK” by members of the royal family as she celebrates her 96th birthday.

The occasion has been marked by the release of a picture showing her indulging her passion for horses and ponies.

Standing with two of her Fell ponies, the Queen was photographed as the build-up begins for the Royal Windsor Horse Show, which commissioned the image.

To mark Her Majesty’s birthday, and with thanks to Watford Museum for their research, we have taken a look back at some of the occasions when the Queen has visited the Watford area in the past.

Watford Observer:

Her Majesty opened the Joint Headquarters Building in Northwood in 2010

Her first visit came before she ascended to the throne when Princess Elizabeth visited the Herts Show in Cassiobury Park in July 1946.

This was the first Hertfordshire agricultural show following the amalgamation of the Herts, Tring and Watford events.

Watford Observer:

The Queen receives a boquet from a child during a more recent visit to Hatfield House

In the afternoon the Princess lunched at Hatfield House.

The Queen’s next visit to Watford was a brief stopover in Christmas 1962 when she alighted the royal train at Watford Junction, received a brief loyal greeting and then left for Windsor by car.

Her Majesty celebrated her Silver Jubilee in 1977 and in that year she visited Rolls Royce to present a Queen’s Award for Industry.

The Queen visited two schools in the Watford area in the 1980s, Parmiter’s School in 1981 and the Royal Caledonian School in Bushey five years later.

Watford Observer:

The Queen touring the military headquarters

Her Majesty was pictured by the Watford Observer in May 2010 when she opened the Joint Headquarters Building in Northwood where she toured the building and met operations staff.

The official Twitter account of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has tweeted a picture of William and Kate with the Queen at the Chelsea Flower Show a few years ago and another image of the monarch and the Duke of Edinburgh surrounded by their great-grandchildren.

The message read: “Wishing Her Majesty The Queen a very happy 96th birthday today!

“An inspiration to so many across the UK, the Commonwealth and the world, it’s particularly special to be celebrating in this #PlatinumJubilee year.”