Why the Queen has two different birthdays

The Queenwas born on April 21 and celebrates her special day again on a designated day in June. This double birthday honour sounds unusual but it has actually been a common practice within the British monarchy for centuries, in particular, for rulers whose birthdays did not fall in the summer months. Just why does Her Majesty get to enjoy two birthday cakes? The reason, in typical British fashion, comes down to the weather.

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.

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

On her official birthday, Her Majesty is joined by her family at the annual Trooping the Colour parade, which takes place between Buckingham Palace, The Mall and Horse Guards Parade. More than 1400 soldiers – including some senior members of the Royal Family – 200 horses and 400 musicians take part in the magnificent ceremony, which ends with a crowd-pleasing flypast by the RAF. The Queen and Co. enjoy the show from the iconic palace balcony. In the past, the 92-year-old monarch rode a horse in the parade but has since opted to travel by carriage.

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