Why have one birthday when you can have two? The Queen celebrates her birthday on two separate dates every year, falling on two entirely different months. Once on the anniversary of her date of birth, and then again with the ‘official’ ceremonial occasion marked in June.
This year, we saw Her Majesty turn 95 on April 21, her actual date of birth and her first without her late husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, by her side.
Her second celebration this year is being marked on June 12, known as her ‘official’ birthday, which takes place every year on the second Saturday of June, when Trooping the Colour is going ahead on a smaller scale like last year, due to the pandemic.
So, where did this tradition of a separate ‘official’ birthday come from?
Celebrating the monarch’s official birthday has been a tradition in place since 1748, during the reign of King George II.
George’s birthday fell in November which meant any large-scale public celebrations were likely held in terrible weather. So, like any wise king would do, he decided to move his birthday and combine his celebration with Trooping the Colour, an annual summer military parade.
The Queen originally marked her ‘official’ birthday on the second Thursday of June, the same day as her father, King George VI.
However, she changed it to its current position, that is the second Saturday in June, in 1959.
The Queen’s other birthdays
Elsewhere around the world, the Queen happens to have a few more birthdays, with various Commonwealth countries celebrating at different dates throughout the year.
In Australia, where the Queen is head of state, there’s a bank holiday on the second Monday in June to mark her birthday but parts of Western Australia celebrate the milestone in September or October. In New Zealand, the Queen’s birthday is highlighted on the first Monday in June, and in Canada, this is in May.