With the death of Queen Elizabeth II, who died peacefully at the age of 96, King Charles became the ruling monarch, a position he is still getting used to. Besides the usual rules, protocols and other things the monarch has to do, there are some more unusual rules that he might have to follow.
One such thing is having two birthdays. Yes, the previous monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, celebrated her birthday twice a year-once on her actual date of birth on April 21st, and a second official birthday in June at Trooping the Colour.
But why is that?
In the past, official celebrations marking the monarch’s birthday have often been held on a day other than their actual birthday. This is the case mostly when their actual birthday does not land in the summer months. The reason behind this, being the most British thing ever, is due to the weather.
This whole tradition started back in 1748, when King George II, whose birthday was in chilly November, didn’t want to risk his subjects catching a cold, so he combined his birthday celebration with the annual spring parade known as Trooping the Colour.
While the Queen did celebrate her actual birthday in April privately, the occasion was still marked with public 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.
But what about the Queen’s June birthday celebration?
On her official birthday in June-which it would usually land on the second Saturday of the month-the Queen would be joined by various members of the royal family at the annual Trooping the Colour parade. Every year at this event the royal family would join the monarch for the traditional balcony appearance at Buckingham Palace.
The whole celebration consists of dozens of ceremonies and traditions, such as a military parade, giving the monarch a chance to inspect her troops, the Household Division, on Horse Guards Parade in London. Over 1,400 officers take part, as well as 200 horses and over 400 musicians from ten bands. In the past decade, Prince William, King Charles and Princess Anne have all participated in the event on horseback.
On the day, the royals travel in a procession in horse-drawn carriages, starting from Buckingham Palace, going along The Mall to Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall and then back. When Her Majesty arrives at Horse Guards Parade, she is greeted by a royal salute and she inspects the troops. The band then performs a musical troop as the regimental flag-or colour-is carried down the ranks.
The monarch then is driven back to Buckingham Palace as the head of her guards. Then the royal family gathers on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to greet crowds and watch the amazing RAF flypast. This is often a debut chance for some of the younger royals, who often steal the show, as they are too young to take part in the morning carriage procession.
So, will King Charles have two birthdays?
Taking everything into consideration, it is very likely that King Charles will follow in the footsteps of his mother and have two birthdays. The main reason, of course, is that his birthday is in November while Trooping the Colour typically takes place in June.
Charles was officially pronounced King at the First Proclamation on Saturday 10th September following the death of the Queen. However, the coronation is yet to take place. The celebration for his “official” royal birthday may not be a recognized event until he is crowned, which might not be for several months.