Today, Queen Elizabeth II will turn 96, just ahead of her Platinum Jubilee celebrating 70 years on the throne. While the Queen Mother gave birth to Queen Elizabeth in April, public celebrations for her birthday do not take place until June and the date changes every year.
So, why does she have two birthdays and when are they? Here’s what you need to know.
When was the Queen born?
Queen Elizabeth II was born on 21 April, 1926 - the first born child of King George VI and his wife, the Queen Mother Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. The Queen is officially the oldest UK monarch in history. On December 20, 2007 she overtook a record set by her great great grandmother, Queen Victoria.
On 6 February 1952, she acceded to the throne after the sudden and untimely death of her father. She was only 25 years old. On 9 September 2015, she became the longest-reigning English monarch in history. Queen Elizabeth will celebrate 70 years on the throne next year, Queen Victoria reigned for 64 years.
When is the Queen’s birthday?
While the Queen celebrated her official birthday on 21 April, Trooping the Colour - the name given to the queen’s public celebratory parade - does not take place until June 12th. In April, she usually celebrates with a relatively private family affair.
For the first time since her reign, the gun salutes did not take place in 2020 as she was keen that there would be no special measures which would go against government coronavirus restrictions. The June parade - which usually attracts thousands of well-wishers to central London - takes place on a Saturday every year, so there is no specific date.
Why does the Queen have two birthdays?
Queen Elizabeth’s birthday parade takes place in June, as Britain has unpredictable weather.
The tradition dates back to the 1700s, when George II in 1748 decided it would be too cold to have the Trooping the Colour parade on his actual birthday - in November. King George decided to combine his birthday celebration with an annual military parade, in June.
Is the Queen’s birthday a public holiday?
The Queen’s birthday is not a bank holiday and most businesses and services operate as normal on the day of her birthday parade. Her April birthday is also not a bank holiday, as she celebrates this privately.