Heritage
The Queen Will Celebrate Her 91st Birthday With a Literal Bang
That’s one birthday-what about the other? She turns 91 on April 21 and celebrates again on June 17.
IMAGE The Royal Family
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Being a monarch certainly has its unlikely perks, which we’ve established in the past. Apart from the ability to drive without a license and to fly without a passport, Queen Elizabeth also celebrates two birthdays: her actual birthday and her official birthday. Her actual birthday is on April 21, while her official birthday usually falls on the second Saturday of June.


Why do monarchs have two birthdays?

As fun as it would be to have two birthday cakes and two sets of candles to blow on different days, the official celebration is rooted in a tradition upheld by the British monarchy since 1748, when King George II, whose birthday was in November, moved the annual celebration to a warmer month so that more of his subjects could enjoy the yearly birthday parade. He combined this celebration with an annual spring parade thrown by the military known as “Trooping the Colour.” The tradition stuck and the Queen continues it by celebrating in June.

How does she celebrate?

On her real birthday, the Queen celebrates privately. The occasion is acknowledged by gun salutes around central London at midday, including 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.

During her official birthday—known as The Queen’s Birthday Parade—Her Majesty travels from Buckingham Palace down The Mall to inspect the soldiers of the Household Division, and joins the other members of the Royal Family in the spectacular Horseguards' Parade back to Buckingham Place. She used to conduct the inspection while on horseback but since 1987 has done so in a carriage. Afterward, there is the highly anticipated royal appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace where she watches a fly-past by the Royal Air Force.


In the earlier part of her reign, the official birthday fell on a Thursday, but it was later amended to a Saturday in June so that more people could celebrate it. This year, Trooping the Colour will take place on June 17.

Happy birthday, Queen Elizabeth!

h/t: Royal Central; The Telegraph

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