King Charles III, 74, has already adjusted well to his new role as monarch following the death of his mother, Her Majesty the Queen, in September 2022, and ahead of his coronation on 6 May 2023. But will the King inherit his mother's royal birthday tradition?
Everyone would love to celebrate two birthdays a year, but the privilege was formerly exclusively reserved for the Queen. Her Majesty celebrated it twice: her actual birth date on 21 April and her official birthday in June at Trooping the Colour – but why? And will Charles, who was born 14 November, follow suit?
Will King Charles have two birthdays?
Yes, Buckingham Palace has confirmed that the King will be celebrating an official birthday this June, just like the Queen did throughout her 70 year reign. The Palace announced that the King would be celebrating his first official birthday on Saturday 17 June 2023 through the traditional Trooping of the Colour celebrations.
"The Sovereign's birthday is officially celebrated by the ceremony of Trooping the Colour (King's Birthday Parade)," its statement read. "In 2023, this impressive display of pageantry will take place on Saturday 17th June by Regiments of the Household Division, on Horse Guards Parade, with His Majesty The King attending and taking the salute."
Charles' official birthday follows his celebration of his actual birthday in November 2022, when he turned 74, and also will follow his coronation, which is taking place on 6 May 2023, and the celebrations planned to enjoy that event - such as the coronation concert and bank holiday Monday Big Help Out.
Why will King Charles have two birthdays?
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.
In order to properly celebrate the monarchs birthday with the Trooping of the Colour ceremony and birthday parade, good weather is a must, and so the decision is taken to hold the celebration in June hoping we will be lucky with the weather. The fact that neither the Queen nor Charles' birthdays occur within June month means nothing to the organisation of this big day for a time which (hopefully) sees good weather.
Who was the first monarch to have two birthdays?
The decision to let the monarch celebrate their birthday twice a year was not started by Queen Elizabeth II. In fact, the tradition started all the way back in 1748 with George II, who was like Charles born in chilly November. Instead of risking his subjects (and himself) catching a cold through holding a birthday parade in his honour on 10 November, King George II decided to combine his birthday celebration with the annual spring parade known as Trooping the Colour.
From then on, the tradition of the monarch celebrating their birthday twice, once on their birthday, and officially on the day of the Trooping of the Colour was born. The Trooping of the Colour itself originates from the time of King Charles II.
What is the Trooping of the Colour?
The Trooping of the Colour parade is a military parade which provides the monarch with a chance to inspect their personal troops, the Household Division, on Horse Guards Parade in London. More than 1,400 officers take part as well as 200 horses and over 400 musicians from ten bands. In the past, royal family members including Prince William, King Charles, Princess Anne and even Queen Elizabeth II have participated on horseback. It is unknown whether Charles plans to appear on horseback for his own parade now that he King.
Why do they call it Trooping of the Colour?
On the day, the royals will travel in procession via horse-drawn carriage from Buckingham Palace, along The Mall to Horse Guards Parade, to Whitehall and then back again. When the King arrives at Horse Guards Parade, he will then be greeted by a royal salute and inspect the troops. The band also performs a musical troop as the regimental flag – or colour – is carried down the ranks, hence the event's name.
The King will then be driven back to Buckingham Palace as the head of his Guards. The royal family will later stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to greet crowds and watch a spectacular RAF flypast. This is a chance for younger members of the family to make an appearance, as they wouldn't take part in the morning carriage procession until they are a bit older.
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