Why does the Queen have two birthdays and when is her ‘official’ birthday this year?
It would be amazing if we could all celebrate two birthdays in a year – and luckily for the Queen, she does just that.
The Queen celebrates one of her birthdays on the day she was born, which is 21 April. This year she will turn 92.
But she also celebrates her ‘official’ birthday in June, which is usually on the second Saturday of the month. This year it will fall on Saturday 9 June.
So why does Her Majesty have two birthdays then?
The tradition came from George II in 1748 and its origins can be traced to none other than the miserable British weather (yep, the weather was even a problem back then).
As George was born in November, he felt the weather would be too cold and wet for his annual birthday parade.
There was already the annual Trooping the Colour parade, designed to help familiarise soldiers with the colours of regiment flags, so he decided to combine the two.
The parade is now known as ‘The Queen’s Birthday Parade’.
The Queen’s Birthday Parade is when she inspects soldiers from the Household Division and it takes place on Horse Guards Parade behind Whitehall.
There is usually a 41-gun salute in Hyde Park, an 11-gun salute in Windsor Park and a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London at noon.
The Queen also usually appears on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with other members of the royal family and there is usually a royal fly past from the RAF.
All British sovereigns are given the option of having an ‘official birthday’, and she does so every year in June.
Why does the Queen’s official birthday change every year?
When the Queen began her reign, the official birthday of the monarch was actually held on a Thursday.
However, this was quickly changed to a Saturday so more members of the public could enjoy the day and watch the parade.
If your birthday is in a winter month, it might be worth considering following George II’s suit and treating yourself to a summer celebration, too.