Why does the British monarch have two birthdays?
Queen Elizabeth II's real birthday is 21 April (she was 96 in 2022). But since 1748, the monarch's official birthday is celebrated in June, because the weather is better. This year, it's on 2 June.
The official birthday is marked by the Trooping the Colour ceremony near Buckingham Palace in London. It is an old military ceremony from the time when there was no way to communicate verbally in a battle. Infantry soldiers had to follow their regiment's flag, or "colour". So it was very important that every soldier recognised the flag.
Thousands of people come to watch more than 1,000 soldiers in their ceremonial uniforms. They parade from Buckingham Palace to Horse Guards Parade, then the Queen, the commander of the British armed forces, inspects the troops. Until 1987, she rode a horse, then she sat in a carriage. This year, the 96-year-old Queen will be represented by Prince Charles, her eldest son, for the inspection. She will wait at Buckingham Palace to go onto the balcony with the royal family, to watch a military air display. Trooping the Colour will be the first event in the Platinum Jubilee weekend celebrating Queen Elizabeth II's seventy years on the throne.
Happy Birthday from the Queen
The Queen also wishes happy birthday to her citizens… if they are very old. She sends them a telegram on their hundredth birthday!
> Queen Elizabeth II Comic Strip
> Seventy Years a Queen
> The People’s Portrait
> Visiting Buckingham Palace