Why does the Queen have 2 birthdays?

Queen's birthday

3 min read

Everyone loves a good birthday celebration, whether it is your own or somebody else’s, a party is always a good way to have fun. One of the biggest birthday parties around has got to be that of Queen Elizabeth II when she celebrates her birthday. Those of you in the know may realise that every year she has two birthday celebrations, one in April and one in June. But why?!

The Queen’s was actually born on April 21st 1926, and you could easily be forgiven for not having realised that it had passed. That’s because on the Queen’s actual birthday, most celebrations are private between her and her close family. It’s said that she likes to spend the day with her corgis, and if an official event falls on the same date she is often greeted by large crowds and many locals like to prepare cakes, balloons and celebrations for her.

Queen's birthday

This year we will also celebrate the Queen’s birthday on 11th June. Whilst this year is a landmark birthday for Her Majesty as she reaches 90, this is not a one off and is actually an annual event. The tradition dates back to King George II in 1748, who decided that his birthday was deserving of a full parade and celebration. In 1908, King Edward VII decided to move the celebration owing to his November birthday, meaning that, the weather made such a parade and party difficult, so he started the tradition of an annual parade and celebration on a Saturday in June every year.

The tradition is now into it’s 368th year and looks set to continue in the future. Some critics have claimed that with Prince William’s birthday falling on 22nd June, it is an unnecessary expense, but it is expected that ‘Wills’ will retain the celebration to stick with tradition and ensure that as many as possible can join the celebrations on a Saturday, as opposed to a day in the working week.

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The focal point of the celebrations on her ‘Official Birthday’ is a grand parade, known as the Trooping the Colour. The parade sees British and Commonwealth armies come together to parade before the Queen at Horse Guard’s Parade at St. James’ Park in London. The public are also welcome to enter and view the parade with tickets. Thousands also line the streets to see the processions as they make their way towards the main event.

Queen's birthday

On the Queen’s birthday she travels down the Mall, in front of Buckingham Palace, with an escort, and is welcomed by music played by the marching bands and soldiers awaiting her when she arrives at St James’ Park. There is also a traditional fly past by the RAF, usually by the Red Arrows, to signify the end of the ceremony and to paint the sky with the colours of the Union Jack.

The celebration of the official Queen’s birthday is an event across the Commonwealth. It is particularly celebrated in Australia and Canada, though the dates can sometimes vary. In some countries, the event is a public holiday which is held on the second Monday of June every year.

Across the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, it is also common to find street parties, celebrations and picnics. Do you have any plans to celebrate Her Majesty’s 90th birthday? If you do, why not share your ideas with us and send flowers to help brighten the party!

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