Queen Elizabeth II has cancelled an annual birthday tradition due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. This is the first time the 93-year-old monarch has done so in her 68 year reign. She will turn 94 on Tuesday, and instead of the usual gun salutes and "special measures" to honour her, she will celebrate her birthday in private.

"We will not be marking Her Majesty's birthday in any special way. Any calls, video calls etc with family will be private and kept so. There will be no social media posts as per normal," a Buckingham Palace source said.

"There will be no gun salutes – Her Majesty was keen that no special measures were put in place to allow gun salutes as she did not feel it appropriate in the current circumstances. We believe that this may be the first time in Her reign," the insider added.

The Department for Digital, Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) has written to the British government buildings giving advice on flag flying protocol, Hello reports. "In the current circumstances we are not expecting everyone to be able to follow this advice and you should continue to adhere to social distancing guidelines as set out by the government," the department said.

There are days earmarked for flying the British flag on government buildings and the monarch's birthday is one of them.

Her second birthday is her official birthday -- at Trooping the Colour in June. It is a public event which she enjoys with the rest of the British royal family. But, the event has already been cancelled earlier due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II confirmed in her speech that the government's priority was to deliver Brexit on January 31 Photo: POOL / Aaron Chown

Official celebrations to mark the sovereign's birthday have often been held on another day, particularly when the royal's birth date is not in the summer. As of now "there are no plans currently for any alternative marking of her official birthday."