Why Does the Queen Have Two Birthdays?

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It's not uncommon for the royals to celebrate their birthday multiple times per year. Take, for example, Prince Charles who had his 70th birthday patronage event the other day...six months ahead of his birthday on November 14. Prince Harry addressed this jokingly in his speech about his father at Buckingham Palace:

"This particular garden party is in honor of the Prince of Wales. It's tying in with his 70th birthday, which doesn't actually happen until November, but this is his 70th year," he laughs.

Aside from the bi-yearly celebrations, there is one person who actually has two birthdays on the calendar: none other than Queen Elizabeth II. She has a real birthday and official birthday. (Same.) The Queen was born on April 21, 1926, but her official birthday is in June, recognized with a celebration known as the Trooping the Colour.

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What is Trooping the Colour and how did it begin?

The British monarchy began the double birthday tradition more than 250 years ago with King George II. His November birthday often saw rain, so he decided to have a big celebration with the public in the summer. Enter: Trooping the Colour.

The official parade includes over 1,400 parading soldiers, 200 horses, and 400 musicians, per Kensington Palace. The immediate members of the royal family are typically in attendance, including Prince William, Kate Middleton, their children, Prince Harry, Prince Philip, and Prince Charles and his wife Camilla. Even Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie (the daughters of Prince Andrew, the Queen's second son) make an appearance.

This year, we'll likely see Meghan Markle, now Duchess of Sussex, participating in the festivities with her new husband Prince Harry. Unclear whether the youngest royal, Prince Louis, will be there, or if he'll stay home with a caregiver so Kate and Wills can enjoy the day. The entire family travels in multiple carriages around Buckingham Palace and then they make their way to the balcony to greet the crowd.

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When is this year's Trooping the Colour?

Mark your calendars: This year's celebration is June 9. The parade will be broadcast on BBC and, of course, will be livestreamed. Apparently there are very strict rules about wearing denim to the parade, clearly not approved by the Queen. (A concept: the Queen in a denim jacket.)

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What does the Queen do on her actual birthday?

When she's not being celebrated by an entire kingdom, the Queen typically spends her birthday with her family in private. There's also 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 to honor her.

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