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King Charles III

The King’s first birthday as monarch marked with gun salutes, church bells and music

King Charles’ 74th birthday was an extra special occasion this year as he celebrated for the first time as monarch. Church bells were rung, gun salutes were fired, and music was played across the UK in honour of his birthday.

As Monarch, one of those honours includes the Band of the Household Cavalry performing Happy Birthday during the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Also known as Royal Mounting, the ceremony marks the moment when soldiers currently on duty, the Old Guard, exchange places with the New Guard. Immediately following the Changing, Happy Birthday was also played in nearby Green Park.

An hour after the ceremony came the first 41-gun volley when the Honourable Artillery Company fired a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London. The figure of 62 marks 41 for the Royal Salute from a London saluting station, the other 21 guns mark a salute from the City of London. The tradition has been in place since 1927 when the Board of Ordnance ordered 41 guns be the correct Royal Salute when fired from a royal park, or the Tower of London.

Anyone listening carefully might have been able to hear the Westminster Abbey bells rung in honour of His Majesty’s birthday. Bell rings rang “474 changes of Stedman Caters followed by 60 changes of Cambridge Surprise Royal in celebration. The Abbey bells are rung for major church festivals, civic events, saints’ days, special services, and Royal and Abbey anniversaries.

The rest of the UK also celebrated His Majesty’s birthday. In Cardiff, reservists from 104 Regiment Royal Artillery based at Raglan Barracks in Newport fired a Royal Gun Salute on the grounds of Cardiff Castle.

In Northern Ireland, troops from the 206 (Ulster) Battery 105 Regiment Royal Artillery had a gun salute at Hillsborough Castle. The Royal Artillery is the same organisation that helped carry out gun salutes in Scotland.

In Edinburgh, Lord Provost Councillor Robert Aldridge led guests on the battlements for the tribute. In addition to the salute from 105 Regiment Royal Artillery, there was a close support of light field guns.

The number of rounds fired depends on the location and occasion. The royal standard salute is 21 rounds but when the salute is given from royal park, that number changes to 41.

About author

My name is Sydney Zatz and I am a University of Iowa graduate. I graduated with a degree in journalism and sports studies, and a minor in sport and recreation management. A highlight of my college career was getting the chance to study abroad in London and experiencing royal history firsthand. I have a passion for royals, royal history, and journalism, which led me to want to write for Royal Central.