July 11, 2019, Cornwall (UK): A 100-year-old woman received a birthday telegram from the Queen Thursday, July 11. That wasn’t the only surprise for birthday girl, Anne Tape. The telegram was delivered by horseback. Tape’s grandson, Luke Francis, is the local postmaster and mastermind of the special delivery assisted by Bobby the horse.
He said: “She can remember when the postman would come to her farm on the back of a horse, so we thought it would be significant to deliver her birthday telegram from the Queen on the back of Bobby.”
The tradition of receiving a royal birthday greeting was begun by George V in 1917. The first telegrams were actually written by a royal secretary and delivered by bicycle. In the 1940’s the birthday wishes were officially named Royal Court Telegrams. In the early 1999 the telegram evolved to a personalized card. Though not actually penned by the Queen they are considered official correspondence, delivered in a special blue envelope bearing the coat of arms and including a photo and scan of the Queen’s signature.
In the early 20th century life expectancy was only 37 years, so relatively unusual few congratulations to be sent. Since the turn of the century, the number of centenarians in the UK has increased by 85%. The latest census (2017) counted more than 14,400 centenarians and more than 579,000 people aged 90 years. The Royal greetings now number several thousand a year.
Every British national may apply to receive a birthday or anniversary message. They are issued upon a 100th birthday, 105th birthday then every subsequent birthday. Celebration messages are also sent for diamond wedding anniversaries – 60 years of marriage.
It you are a UK National and wish to arrange for a birthday or anniversary greeting from the Queen, simply download the form and submit as instructed.
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