Why does the Queen have two birthdays?

When we get to a certain age,  most of us don’t want to celebrate one birthday a year, let alone two.  But, when you are the Queen of England, life works a little bit different.

Today, royal subjects everywhere are celebrating the Queen’s 90 birthday. It could look familiar to some, since it's something they also did back in April when she actually turned 90.


Here’s the reason her birthday’s so nice they celebrate it twice.

She gets two birthdays? What's the deal?

Yes she does. Her “real” birthday, the day she was born, is April 21. However, as far as the kingdom goes, her  official birthday is today.

That makes no sense, why have two?

As with everything connected to the monarchy, it’s tradition. In England, the monarch is given two birthdays if their actual birthday does not fall in the summer.

What does not being born in the summer have to do with it?

Blame it on the English weather. Somewhere, centuries ago, someone figured out that you’d have a better chance of a nice day for a parade in London if you picked a Saturday in June.

What will they be doing today, cake and presents?

It will be a little more elaborate than that. The Queen’s official birthday will be recognized by a Trooping the Colour carriage and horse procession in London. There will also be a fly-past over Buckingham Palace.

What’s Trooping the Colour?

Trooping the Colour is a military ceremony that dates back hundreds of years. More than 1,600 soldiers and 300 horses are taking part this year. The event is held on Horse Guards Parade by St. James’s Park. The Queen, along with her husband, Prince Phillip, travel down the Mall from Buckingham Palace escorted by mounted guards. To great pageantry, she gets a royal salute, inspects the troops, watches as they march past her, gets another salute, then watches the King’s Troop march by.

What’s next?

After the Trooping of the Colour, she returns to the palace where she watches more troops march by, receives a 41-gun salute by the King’s Troop, then heads to the balcony with other members of the royal family to watch a fly-by from the Royal Air Force and do the Royal Wave. The soundtrack for the day is provided by approximately 400 musicians from the country’s military bands. There will also be a flotilla of historic boats on the River Thames.

Anything else going on?

National commemorations begin on Friday with a service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral. It was Prince Phillip’s 95th birthday, and he was mentioned in the prayers there. The Queen's Birthday Honours List, which recognizes achievement in various categories, was also released. Singer Rod Stewart was knighted this year. There’s a street party set for Sunday.

Sources: The Associated Press; The BBC