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Why does the Queen have two birthdays?

The Queen’s birthday is coming up soon, if you are experiencing a feeling of Déjà vu, don’t worry you are not imagining the fact that the Queen also had a birthday in April.

The second Saturday in June is known as Queen Elizabeth’s official birthday, but the monarch was actually born on 21 April. While this means that the Queen has already celebrated her 92nd birthday this year, the official celebrations will not be held until mid-June.

This rather confusing custom was not started by the Queen but has been practised since 1748. King George II was not happy about the fact he was born in November, which was a rubbish month for large-scale public celebrations due to the weather. He decided that in order to celebrate his birthday with the nation, he should combine his birthday celebrations with the annual military parade which took part in the summer. Thus the tradition was born and the heads of state since then have had a real birthday and an official birthday each year.

The two birthdays are celebrated rather differently, with the Queen’s real birthday kept as a family affair. The official birthday, however, is celebrated publically across the UK and throughout the Commonwealth. In London, her birthday is marked by the Trooping the colour parade which has been taking place for over 250 years now. The spectacular military parade features thousands of musicians, soldiers and horses and a different colour is displayed or ‘trooped’ each year depending on which regiment has been chosen.

The Queen’s official birthday will see the streets around Buckingham Palace and the Mall filled with people watching the parade and celebrating. After watching the parade, the royal family head to the palace balcony to watch a display by the RAF.

The newlyweds the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be joining in with the Queen’s official birthday celebrations together for the first time. This year’s celebrations will take place on the 9th of June.