• Queen Elizabeth turns 96 on Thursday
  • She poses with ponies in a new photo
  • It's a never-before-seen picture

Happy birthday, Queen Elizabeth! The Queen celebrates her 96th birthday on Thursday, April 21. To mark the occasion, the Royal Family shared a never-before-seen photo of the Queen with some unexpected friends: two ponies.

Queen parties with ponies on her 96th birthday

In the remarkable photo, Queen Elizabeth stands between two fell ponies, whose names are Bybeck Katie and Bybeck Nightingale. The Queen is spending her birthday in Sandringham, but the picture is from the Royal Windsor Horse Show in March.

On Wednesday, Queen Elizabeth announced an unexpected trip to Sandringham for her 96th birthday. She travelled by helicopter and Range Rover and will stay at Wood Farm, the home where her late husband Prince Philip spent his final years.

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The Queen is expected to have a quiet birthday at her country estate. Though the 96-year-old has dealt with health issues in recent months, she was able to see her grandson Prince Harry last week and hopes to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee this summer.