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?
WATCH: See how the Queen typically celebrated her birthday
Why did the Queen celebrate 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.
The Queen typically celebrated her official brithday in the summer
Why was the Queen's birthday different to her actual birthday?
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 tended to spend her actual birthday in April privately, the occasion was usually 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.
The Queen celebrated two birthdays each year
What happened at the Queen's June birthday celebration?
On her official birthday in June - which traditionally fell on the second Saturday of the month - Her Majesty was joined by various members of the royal family at the annual Trooping the Colour parade. At this event, royals famously joined the monarch for their annual balcony appearance at Buckingham Palace.
The ceremony is steeped in tradition and involves a military parade and the chance for the Queen to inspect her 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 and Princess Anne have participated on horseback.
Her Majesty is joined by members of the royal family on her official birthday
On the day, the royals travel in procession via horse-drawn carriage from Buckingham Palace, along The Mall to Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall and back again. When Her Majesty arrives at Horse Guards Parade, she is greeted by a royal salute and inspects the troops. The band also performs a musical troop as the regimental flag – or colour – is carried down the ranks.
The Queen was then driven back to Buckingham Palace as the head of her Guards. The royal family stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to greet crowds and watch the 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.
Will King Charles have two birthdays?
If tradition is to follow suit, King Charles is likely to follow in the footsteps of the Queen and will celebrate two birthdays. The royal is due to mark his 74th birthday on 14 November this year, while Trooping the Colour typically takes place in June.
It's likely King Charles III will also celebrate two birthdays
Charles was officially pronounced King at the First Proclamation on Saturday 10 September following the death of the Queen, however he has not yet been crowned. The celebration of his "official" royal birthday may not be a recognised event until his coronation, which may not be for several months.
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