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Why does the Queen have two birthdays?

Have you ever wondered why the Queen celebrates two birthdays every year? It’s all because of this royal custom.

Queen Elizabeth II has a lot of perks as England’s monarch, including the crown jewels, a huge palace, several castles, and throngs of adoring fans. Another perk of the job, we’d argue, is that she gets two birthdays every year, one of which happens to fall in the same month as the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee extra bank holiday in 2022.


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The Trooping the Colour parade, which brings together members of the armed forces in a special military ceremony, is usually held on Her Majesty’s official birthday. The tradition of monarchs having two birthdays dates back over 250 years and is likely to continue when others in the royal line of succession ascend to the throne.


What is the significance of the Queen’s two birthdays?

Every year, Queen Elizabeth II celebrates two birthdays: her own in April and an official one on the second Saturday in June. The tradition of monarchs having two birthdays dates back to King George II in 1748. He wanted a birthday when the weather was warmer and brighter for outdoor celebrations, as he was born in November.

The annual military parade known as Trooping of the Colour was combined with King George II’s second birthday. As a result, the Queen’s official birthday and an event are held on the same day.


Queen Elizabeth II watches a scaled back Trooping of the Colour birthday parade at Windsor Castle in June 2021. (Credit: © Getty Images)


Her Majesty’s second birthday is now celebrated on a Saturday, but it wasn’t always so. Queen Elizabeth II’s official birthday was originally on the second Thursday of June. It was also her father’s official birthday, King George VI’s, on the same day. After seven years on the throne, the Queen changed the date to the second Saturday in June in 1959.

In terms of future monarchs, it is expected that when Charles becomes King, he will follow tradition. Especially since, like King George II, he was born in November. Prince William’s and his son Prince George’s birthdays, on the other hand, both fall in the summer. They’ll probably keep doing it, just like the Queen, who celebrates her birthday in the spring.


When was the Queen born?

On April 21, 1926, at 2:40 a.m., Queen Elizabeth II was born in a townhouse in Mayfair, London. She was the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York, who later became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Her name was Elizabeth Alexandra Mary (Queen Mother).

Her Majesty was not born in a palace or a hospital, which is unusual. Instead, the Queen’s parents had recently moved into the home of her Scottish grandparents, the Earl and Countess of Strathmore, at 17 Bruton Street. She was delivered via cesarean section.


The Duke and Duchess of York with their baby Elizabeth during her christening at a private chapel in Buckingham Palace on 29, May 1926. (Credit: © Getty Images)


The Queen’s first name was Elizabeth, after her mother, and her middle name was Alexandra, after her father’s grandmother, who died six months before Her Majesty was born. Her second middle name, Mary, is significant because it is the name of Queen Elizabeth’s grandmother and King George VI’s mother.

While her formal name was Elizabeth, she was affectionately known as Lilibet when she was younger. According to legend, Queen Elizabeth struggled to pronounce her first name correctly as a child. And Lilibet was one of her grandfather King George V’s attempts, which he imitated and referred to as his beloved granddaughter.


What is the Queen’s birthday custom?

On April 21, Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her birthday with her family and close friends in a private ceremony. On the day itself, however, two public military salutes are held to commemorate the Queen’s actual birthday.

A 41-gun salute is fired in Hyde Park, and a 62-gun salute is fired at the Tower of London. A 21-gun salute is fired in Windsor Great Park, near the castle, while in Windsor.

Aside from the gun salute, the Queen’s birthday is a low-key affair, as the Royal Family’s website confirms:

A statement reads, “The Queen usually spends her actual birthday privately.”


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Even though this is true for the majority of the years, special activities are planned and held for significant birthdays. In 2016, the Queen celebrated her 90th birthday with a walkabout on the streets outside Windsor Castle. She was greeted by fans and presented with a birthday cake by GBBO star Nadiya Hussain.

Buckingham Palace also releases special photographs to commemorate the Queen’s major birthdays. In 2016, three photos were released to commemorate her 90th birthday. The photos, taken by celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz, showed the Queen posing with members of her family and her beloved pet dogs.

Her Majesty turned 95 years old last year, and a special 95th birthday coin was issued to commemorate the occasion. Though it was a significant birthday in terms of age, it also marked a new milestone for the monarch. This is because it was the Queen’s first birthday since the death of her 73-year-old husband, Prince Philip.


What is the Queen’s official birthday celebration?

Every year in June, a special 41-gun salute is held in London’s Green Park to commemorate the Queen’s second birthday. Following that is a military event known as Trooping the Colour, which also honors the Monarch. For over 260 years, it has been a tradition to commemorate the official birthdays of British Kings and Queens.


Credit: © Annie Leibovitz via Getty Images


Her Majesty is joined by several members of the Royal Family for the event, which takes place in and around Buckingham Palace.


What is the meaning of Trooping the Color?

Trooping the Colour is a ceremonial military event in which members of the British and Commonwealth armies participate. Every year in June, the event takes place. The celebration honoring the head of state includes 1400 soldiers, 200 horses, and 400 musicians.

The Queen and members of the Royal Family travel from Buckingham Palace to Horse Guard’s Parade, and members of the public line The Mall in London to watch the parade.

Traditionally, the Queen would travel by horseback, trailed by her soldiers. In recent years, she has traveled by horse and carriage.


The royal family turns out in force for Trooping the Colour every year. (Credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)


Her Majesty receives a Royal salute at Horse Guard’s Parade. She then inspects her troops, who are dressed formally in red ceremonial uniforms and wearing bearskin hats.

Following that, the military bands put on a special musical performance. The Regimental Colour (or flag), which is escorted, is then passed down the ranks of soldiers.

Senior officers marching in front of troops (known as trooping) and waving their regimental flag (known as ‘colours’) is how the ceremony gets its name.

A different flag representing a different regiment is flown each year.

The Queen and her family then return to Buckingham Palace. The royals gather on the balcony to watch the Royal Air Force’s Red Arrows perform a fly-past.


Why is the Queen’s birthday celebrated differently in Australia?

In Australia, the Queen celebrates her birthday on the second Monday in June, which is the day after the Queen’s official birthday in the United Kingdom. Because Australia is a constitutional monarchy with the English monarch as its head of state, this is the case. As a result, the Queen’s Birthday is a public holiday in Australia, with many Australians taking the day off.


Credit: © Getty Images


In 1788, Australia was the first country to commemorate the monarch’s birthday. King George III was on the throne in that year, and Governor Arthur Phillip declared a holiday to commemorate his birthday.

The Monarch’s birthday used to be celebrated on their actual birthday. However, after King George V’s death in 1936, the date remained close to his birthday, June 3rd.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry treat Lilibet to incredible birthday cake – see photo

The Queen has visited Australia 16 times during her reign, the most recent being in 2011.

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