Why does the Queen have two birthdays?

Sarah Ilston
·3-min read
Photo credit: WPA Pool
Photo credit: WPA Pool

This year's birthday will be a very different celebration for the Queen. Her majesty turns 95 today (April 21st), and occurs just twelve days after the sad loss of her husband Prince Philip. 

Buckingham Palace posted a picture of the Queen smiling in a gorgeous plum outfit on social media this morning to mark the occasion, alongside a rather matter-of-fact message, acknowledging the fact that the Queen is currently grieving:

'Today is The Queen’s 95th birthday. The Queen was born at 2.40am on 21 April 1926 at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London. She was the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York, who later became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

This year Her Majesty remains at Windsor Castle, during a period of Royal Mourning following the death of The Duke of Edinburgh.'

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

As well as her official period of mourning, restrictions are still in place on big social gatherings, meaning any large celebrations in the works would not be going ahead anyway.

For the second time in her 69-year reign, no special measures will be put in place to mark her birthday — namely the customary gun salutes that could previously be heard around London on the day. The rest of the Royal Family are believed to have devised a special rota amongst themselves to ensure Her Majesty isn't left alone on her birthday.

Typically used to mark special occasions in the Royal Family – such as anniversaries and birthdays – gun salutes involve blank rounds being fired from different locations around London, but the Queen decided last year that the tradition was 'inappropriate in the current circumstances'.
Watch: Queen’s 95th birthday to be private and low-key

Unlike the rest of us, the Queen will actually have another chance to celebrate her birthday – as is the case every year. The monarch has two birthday celebrations; in the case of the Queen her real birthday on the 21st April, and a second celebration during the second week of June. 

This double celebration is another perk of the monarch's role, and a tradition that dates back to the reign of King George II – stemming from that famously fickle British weather.

King George II was born in November 1683, which is not the best time of year to host an outdoor birthday parade in England. So, he was given a second 'official' birthday in the summer when, with any luck, the sun would be shining.

Since then, the British sovereign has been allowed to have a second birthday in the summer, which is why the Queen is entitled to celebrate two months after her actual birth date. 

The Queen's official birthday in June is a typically grand affair, marked with the Trooping the Colour parade – a prestigious military occasion involving guards from the Household Division. It allows the monarch to inspect her troops before she and the rest of the royal family watch the military fly-by from the balcony of Buckingham Palace. 

It's still uncertain as to how the Trooping of the Colour will look this summer, as some restrictions will likely still be in place, but we hope that by that point Her Majesty will at least be able to mark the day in some special way.

Subscribe to Red now to get the magazine delivered to your door.

Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.
Watch: Who is The Queen?

 

You Might Also Like