Explainer: Why does the Queen have two birthdays?

The Queen celebrates her birthday on two different dates each year, one known as Trooping the Colour. Here’s why there are separate occasions on the calendar! 

Queen Elizabeth II was born on 21 April 1926 and turned 95 years of age earlier this year. This is what is known as her actual birthday.

However, the Queen’s official birthday typically falls on the second Saturday every June, meaning that this year it lands on June 12. This is a grander celebration and is known as Trooping the Colour, a big birthday parade.

Why are there two separate celebrations? 

For decades, monarchs in the UK have celebrated on two different days, one pushed into spring or summer, to give them a better chance for good weather during Trooping the Colour.

This type of parade has marked the official birthday of the British Sovereign for over 260 years, according to The Royal Family website.

Over 1400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians typically come together for the event, as well as thousands of spectators.

A 41-gun salute is also usually fired in Green Park to mark the occasion, as well as an RAF fly-by.

What about this year?

Similar to last year, the full event has been cancelled, but a scaled-back ‘Mini Trooping’ will take place at Windsor Castle.

Coverage will began at 10:15am on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Buckingham Palace has already announced plans for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next summer to mark her 70 years of reign, with several days of celebrations on the cards between Thursday 2nd – Sunday 5th June 2022, meaning an extra UK bank holiday will be added.

Did you miss our facts and figures about the Queen’s Coronation 68 years on?


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