The Queen is celebrating her 85th birthday on Thursday, eight days before the wedding of her grandson, Prince William, and Kate Middleton.

Buckingham Palace said the Queen's birthday this year for the first time falls on Maundy Thursday, also known as Holy Thursday, which marks the Last Supper.

The British monarch started the day attending a religious ceremony at London's Westminster Abbey, site of the royal wedding on April 29.

Continuing her birthday tradition of handing out money to as many men and women as the number of years she is old, she gave Maundy money to 85 men and 85 women.

A day earlier, Prince Charles reached a milestone of his own — longest wait as heir to the British throne.

As of Wednesday, Charles, 62, had been next in line for 59 years, two months and 14 days.

He surpassed King Edward VII, who waited 59 years, two months and 13 days to succeed his mother, Queen Victoria.

With files from The Associated Press