Why have just one birthday when you can have two?
Queen Elizabeth may have already celebrated her 93rd birthday almost two months ago on April 21, but the festivities were far from over. That’s because the monarch has a public and an official birthday.
The Queen, who was born on April 21, 1926, celebrated her birthday this year privately with members of the royal family. Since the occasion also fell on Easter Sunday, the royal attended church services with family.
While the Queen typically celebrates her actual birthday privately, it’s also customary to celebrate a sovereign’s birthday publicly on a day during the summer, when the weather is nicer (yes, really).
King Edward VII, for example, was born on November 9, but his official birthday was always celebrated in May or June, when there was a greater likelihood of good weather for the Birthday Parade (also known as Trooping of the Colour).
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The tradition is believed to have started during the reign of King George II in 1748. George II was born in October, but the annual Trooping of the Colour became a celebration of the king – as well as the armed forces.
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Since then, the reigning monarch’s official summer birthday has always been marked by the annual ceremony, which is typically held on the second Saturday in June.
So happy birthdays to Queen Elizabeth – and thank goodness for unreliable British weather!
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