Why the Queen has two different birthdays

The Queen was 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 other members of the Royal Family at the annual Trooping the Colour parade, which takes place between Buckingham Palace, The Mall and Horseguards’ Parade.

This year, the royal will celebrate her milestone birthday in monumental style with four nights of festivities at Windsor Castle. The celebrations, hosted in Windsor's Home Park, will feature 900 horses and 1,500 performers – including dancers, musicians and choirs, along with well-known artists and actors.

The Trooping the Colour parade marks the Queen's official birthday.

Members of the Royal Family will attend each night of the celebrations from May 12 to 15, while the Queen will attend the final show, which will be broadcast live on ITV and presented by Ant and Dec. The presenting duo said they are "honoured" to be hosting the special celebration, which promises to be a spectacular evening of incredible performances.

Royal watchers will be hoping for a glimpse at Prince George and Princess Charlotte as the Royal Family gather on the balcony at Buckingham Palace for a fly-past by the Royal Air Force.

HELLO! Canada magazine is available for your tablet and smartphone. Get HELLO! Canada, PEOPLE, Vanity Fair and over 100 more of the world’s best magazines for one low monthly price at Texture by Next Issue. CLICK HERE to sign up for a free trial.