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Rock thunders in 21-gun salute on Queen’s birthday

Thunderous blasts echoed around the Rock during a 21-Gun-Salute to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday yesterday at Grand Battery.

Lieutenant General Ed Davis, Governor of Gibraltar, was the inspecting officer on the day as soldiers from the Royal Gibraltar Regiment stood proudly to attention, the medals on their chests gleaming in the sun.

“On this wonderful day, the 90th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, it is a truly wonderful milestone and I would go as far as to say that it is an inspirational milestone,” the Governor said.

“It reminds us all of how absolutely wonderful Her Majesty has been in leading our country throughout her reign and the true significance of her contribution, her relentless, selfless, gracious and decisive contribution she has made throughout her tenure as our sovereign.”

The Governor smiled as he inspected each recruit from the team that was to fire the royal 21-Gun-Salute, sharing a few words of encouragement with each of them.

Seven deafening rounds were fired by each of the three artillery guns, with large plumes of smoke emanating from the nozzle.

The golden shell cartridge crashed onto the ground with a metallic clang following the blasts, smouldering as they laid there.

“Congratulations on a very professional 21-gun salute on Her Majesty’s magnificent milestone,” he told the soldiers. “The Gibraltar Regiment always conducts itself professionally. Congratulations and please carry on.”

The Governor was presented with a commemorative cartridge following the signing of the Inspecting Officer Book.

“I am sure that I speak for everyone in Gibraltar, young and old, when I say thank you your Majesty for all you have done for us and all that you will continue to do for us,” he said. “We all wish you a very happy 90th birthday. Congratulations Ma’am.”

Major Charles Bonfante, of the RGR who led the ceremony, said that the Governor’s praise was very well received and the Battery today could feel justifiably proud of pulling off a very good 21-gun salute.

“It was a privilege to be a part of that. We mark Her Majesty’s birthday every year without fail in the way that we ought to,” he said. “The sounds of the guns echoing around the Rock shows Gibraltar’s unwavering loyalty to Her Majesty, so it is important that we mark the occasion loudly for all to hear.”

And he exclaimed: “God Save the Queen.”

Commodore Ian Mcghie, Commander of the British Forces was also present along with several other VIPs.

Yesterday evening a beacon was lit at the top of the Moorish Castle and an image of the queen was projected on the North Face of the Rock. The number 90 was also projected on the Moorish Castle overnight.

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This kicks off a series of events in Gibraltar celebrating Her Majesty’s birthday, leading up to and beyond the celebration of Her Majesty’s Official Birthday in June. The Queen’s Birthday Parade and Garden Party will take place on 9 June.

The Governor and his wife, Lorraine Davis, will host a Queen’s Birthday Tea Party at The Convent for 90 guests on Sunday 12 June.

This marks Her Majesty The Queen’s official birthday and coincides with The Patron’s Lunch street party in London.  http://www.thepatronslunch.com/.  Members of the public will be invited to register interest in participating in this event.

Further events are also planned, including the Convent Garden Open Day on 25 June and a special Philharmonic Concert in late June.

The Jewish Community of Gibraltar also celebrated Her Majesty's 90th Birthday with special prayers composed by the Community's Rabbi.

At the end of the morning service congregants sung the national anthem in Hebrew.   The Hebrew words were composed in Gibraltar by its late Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Benaim during the reign of King George V.