Why Does Queen Elizabeth Have Two Birthdays?


The tradition is believed to have started during the reign of King George II in 1748

Queen Elizabeth may be celebrating her 94th birthday on Tuesday, but the festivities are far from over. That’s because the monarch has a public and an official birthday.

The Queen, who was born on April 21, 1926, is celebrating her birthday this year privately at Windsor Castle, where she is isolating alongside her husband, Prince Philip, 98, amid the coronavirus.

While the Queen typically celebrates her actual birthday privately with the rest of the royal family, it’s also customary to celebrate a sovereign’s birthday publicly on a day during the summer, when the weather is nicer (yes, really).

King Edward VII, for example, was born on November 9, but his official birthday was always celebrated in May or June, when there was a greater likelihood of good weather for the Birthday Parade (also known as Trooping of the Colour).

The tradition is believed to have started during the reign of King George II in 1748. George II was born in October, but the annual Trooping of the Colour became a celebration of the King — as well as the armed forces.

Since then, the reigning monarch’s official summer birthday has always been marked by the annual ceremony, which is typically held on the second Saturday in June.

This year’s Trooping the Colour celebration, however, have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“In line with Government advice, it has been agreed that The Queen’s Birthday Parade, also known as Trooping the Colour, will not go ahead in its traditional form,” a statement from Buckingham Palace read. “A number of other options are being considered, in line with relevant guidance.”

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