Why the Queen has two different birthdays


Although almost everyone would love to celebrate two birthdays a year, the privilege is exclusively reserved for the Queen. Her Majesty, who turns 90 this year, celebrates two birthdays: her actual birthday on 21 April and her official birthday on a Saturday in June - as most royal fans will know - but why?

Historically, official celebrations to mark a Sovereign's birthday have often been held on a day other than their actual birthday, this is usually true when their actual birthday does not land in the summer months. The reason, in typical British fashion, comes down to the weather.


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The Queen celebrates two birthdays each year

The tradition started in 1748 with George II, who was born in chilly November. Instead of risking his subjects catching a cold, he combined his birthday celebration with the annual spring parade known as Trooping the Colour.

While the Queen usually spends her actual birthday privately, the occasion is marked publicly by gun salutes in central London at midday: a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park, a 21 gun salute in Windsor Great Park and a 62 gun salute at the Tower of London.

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Her Majesty is joined by members of the Royal Family on her official birthday

On her official birthday, Her Majesty is joined by other members of the Royal Family at the annual Trooping the Colour parade, which takes place between Buckingham Palace, The Mall and Horseguards’ Parade.

This year, the royal will celebrate her milestone birthday in monumental style with four nights of festivities at Windsor Castle. The celebrations, hosted in Windsor's Home Park, will feature 900 horses and 1,500 performers – including dancers, musicians and choirs, along with well-known artists and actors.

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The Trooping the Colour parade marks the Queen's official birthday

Members of the royal family will attend each night of the celebrations from 12-15 May, while the Queen will attend the final show, which will be broadcast live on ITV and presented by Ant and Dec. The presenting duo said they are "honoured" to be hosting the special celebration, which promises to be a spectacular evening of incredible performances.

The Queen's official birthday will be celebrated on Saturday 11 June. The Monarch will be joined by members of the royal family for the traditional Trooping the Colour parade between Buckingham Palace, The Mall and Horseguards' Parade to mark the special day. Royal watchers will be hoping for a glimpse at Prince George and Princess Charlotte as the royal family gather on the balcony at Buckingham Palace for a fly-past by the Royal Air Force.

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