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Queen's remarkable milestone brings flood of good wishes

By Allan Preston

Birthday wishes have flooded in for the Queen as her 90th birthday celebrations begin today.

A letter from the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Rt Rev Dr Ian McNie, praised the Queen as "a constant in our time".

It read: "On behalf of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, I write on the occasion of Your Majesty's 90th birthday, offering the greetings of the General Assembly and our warmest congratulations."

In a message from the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, grand master Edward Stevenson said: "I would like to offer our warmest congratulations to Her Majesty on reaching such a momentous milestone.

"Her Majesty's grace, wisdom and charm have endeared the public and an entire nation; none more so than here in Northern Ireland where she is held in the highest of esteem and affection."

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt said: "Her Majesty has been a constant fixture in the life of the nation for many decades. She has been served by 12 Prime Ministers and everyone, whether a royalist or a republican, must surely recognise that this constitutes a phenomenal shift of public service."

US President Barack Obama will offer birthday wishes at a lunch with the Queen at Windsor Castle tomorrow. Last month he said he was "glad to be the very first President of the United States to wish a British monarch a happy 90th birthday".

He added: "For nine decades Her Majesty has been a source of strength and inspiration, not only for the people of Britain, but for millions around the world."

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