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Why Does Queen Elizabeth II Celebrate Two Birthdays Every Year?

UK marching band

Along with other perks, another benefit of being the queen is having to celebrate birthdays twice a year. The first date, April 21, is her birth date. Meanwhile, the official date the people recognises is every second Saturday of June. The only reason why the queen celebrates two birthdays is that it is too cold to stage a parade in April.

The queen’s birth date is a private celebration for the family. On the other hand, the celebration every second Saturday of June is with the people—called the Trooping Colour. But what happens in Trooping Colour? Here is a quick rundown of the events leading up to the queen’s second birthday within a year.

What Is the Trooping Colour?

Trooping Colour is the march that marks the queen’s official birthday. It is a military ceremony that has been held for over 250 years. It started by King George III in 1748 but became a regular event for the queen’s birthday after Queen Victoria also began celebrating her birthday.

What Happens in Trooping Colour?

More than 1,600 soldiers make up the Trooping Colour, marching before the queen and the Royal Family. The number keeps on increasing as the years go by. But even though the event is deemed a purely military ceremony, it also has other civilians who are invited to parade.

On the day of Trooping Colour, the queen, the Prince of Wales, and the Duke of Edinburgh march to Buckingham Palace along with other important people such as the prime minister. Meanwhile, the other invited civilians follow the Royal Family.

How Does Queen Elizabeth II Celebrate Her Birthday?

The Trooping Colour usually opens with the queen’s birthday parade. The battalion of soldiers arrives first, followed by the Royal Family and the invited civilians. The ceremony lasts most of the morning, with the queen and the Royal Family leaving Buckingham Palace to return after lunch.

The queen usually attends the Trooping Colour, but there are times when she does not attend, such as in 2016. The event was moved to the following day, when the queen’s 90th birthday parade was held. But even if she does not attend the Trooping Colour, as long as she is in London, she will still have an official birthday party.

The Palace also releases photographs of the queen and her birthday, commemorating her actual birthday held in private. Meanwhile, the Royal Family’s website gets loaded with information regarding the current year’s Trooping Colour.

Patriotism during Trooping Colour

Compared to other forms of celebration, Trooping Colour carries most of the national identity and patriotism. The reason is that it is the only British event that involves the armed forces. It is a tradition carried out by the British Army, representing the colours of their flag—red, blue, and white. Countries cannot replicate that anywhere else in the world.

The ceremony reminds the people that the queen is still active and working hard as head of the British monarchy and the commander-in-chief of the British Armed Forces. The Trooping Colour restores the queen’s physical presence as part of Britain’s history, culture, and identity, thereby uniting the people.


The Trooping Colour is one of the ways that the queen reminds the people that she is also human. It is a tradition that has been going on for nearly 250 years. As queen, she wants her people to feel the same love and respect she feels towards them. Celebrate the queen’s birthday, together with the others, and feel the country’s love for her.

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