Queen Elizabeth II is a celebrity, whether she likes being grouped in the same category as the reality stars from the “Jersey Shore” or not, but that’s not why she gets two birthdays.
If you weren’t aware of this slightly odd occurrence, we’ll fill you in: The Queen’s actual birthday is April 21, but the celebrations don’t end there. She gets a second, “official birthday” in June that coincides with the Trooping the Colour, an event during which the royal family appears on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to the delight of the British public (and anyone who follows Kate Middleton’s clothing choices).
The Queen doesn’t make a big deal of her actual birthday, Victoria Arbiter, a royal correspondent for CNN, tells The Huffington Post, because she’s “not one for fuss.” Even when the birthdays are significant, like the Queen’s 90th last year, the celebrations are kept to a minimum. “The whole family will come together for a special dinner, but by and large the queen prefers a low-key affair,” Arbiter explained.
This isn’t a phenomenon that started with the current queen, though. The tradition of the double dose of birthday celebration dates back to King George II, whose birthday coincided with unfortunate British weather. (For the record, that’s all the way back in 1748.) “George was born in November, and felt the weather would be too cold at that time of year for his annual birthday parade,” best-selling royal author Robert Jobson told The Huffington Post. His solution to the soggy, party-spoiling weather was to “[combine] his birthday celebration with an annual spring military parade known as Trooping the Colour.” Translation: It’s his birthday, and he’ll have sun if he wants to.
Though Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday stands a much better chance at seeing sunny weather, the tradition continues. So raise a cup of tea to Her Majesty today in keeping with her low-key celebration, and get ready for the fanfare of the big fete, Trooping the Colour, on June 17.
H/t: The Huffington Post