It’s a big week for the royal family, with HRH Queen Elizabeth II celebrating her birthday on April 21, when she turns 93.
The Queen celebrates two birthdays each year, with her actual birthday on April 21, and her official birthday on (usually) the second Saturday in June.
The reason why the Queen has two birthdays is a tradition that dates back hundreds of years. With official celebrations to mark the Sovereigns' birthday held on a day other than their actual birthday, particularly when the actual birthday isn’t during the British the summertime.
It began in 1748, with King George II, who was born in chilly November. Rather than have his subjects risk catching colds as they took to the streets to celebrate his birthday, he decided to combine his birthday celebration with the Trooping the Colour.
While Queen Elizabeth II tends to spend her actual birthday in private with her close family, the occasion is marked publicly by gun salutes in central London at midday, 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.
On her 90th birthday, in 2016, she walked through the streets of Windsor, much to the crowds’ delight.
And this year, as is tradition, on June 8, 2019, Her Majesty will parade through London as part of the opulent Trooping the Colour.
The date of the "official" birthday can vary from year to year. For the first seven years of her reign, Queen Elizabeth II held her official birthday on a Thursday but has since switched over to Saturdays.
And while the date is tied to the Trooping the Colour in the UK, Commonwealth nations around the world have their own criteria, which generally involve recognising it as a public holiday.
Here in Australia, we observe the Queen's Birthday on the second Monday in June, with Western Australia holding its celebrations on the last Monday of September or the first Monday of October.
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