Here’s when the Queen’s birthday is - and why she celebrates two in the same year

By Helen Johnson
Tuesday, 21st April 2020, 3:56 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st April 2020, 3:56 pm
Every year, Queen Elizabeth II celebrates not one, but two birthdays - one being in April and the other in June (Photo: Shutterstock)
Every year, Queen Elizabeth II celebrates not one, but two birthdays - one being in April and the other in June (Photo: Shutterstock)

Every year, Queen Elizabeth II celebrates not one, but two birthdays - one being in April and the other in June.

But when is her actual date of birth and why does the UK monarch celebrate two in the same year?

Here’s what you need to know.

When is the Queen’s real birthday?

Queen Elizabeth’s actual date of birth is 21 April 1926.

The Queen was born to the Duke and Duchess of York, who went on to become King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

She was born in her grandfather’s house in Mayfair, London.

How old is the Queen?

In 2020, the Queen turns 94.

How does she celebrate her birthday?

The Queen spends her real birthday in private with her family, but her official summer birthday is celebrated publicly.

This year, due to the coronavirus lockdown the Queen will be celebrating at Windsor Castle with Prince Phillip.

There will be no gun salutes to mark the Queen's 94th birthday on Tuesday (21 April) due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

A Buckingham Palace official said the monarch had decided it would not be appropriate at this time.

This is believed to be the first time in the Queen’s 68-year reign that there will be no such salute, which usually takes place at Hyde Park and the Tower of London. This is not usually televised.

The Queen’s official birthday

Similarly to previous monarchs, the Queen commemorates her birthday twice a year - once on her actual date of birth, and then once again on her ‘official’ birthday, which is in June.

This usually takes place on the second Saturday in June, which this year falls on 13 June.

Where does this tradition come from?

The reigning monarch celebrating two birthdays is a long-standing tradition with British monarchs, which dates back to King George II in 1748.

The King wanted to change the month of his birthday because of the UK weather.

He therefore decided that because his birthday fell in November, which is usually not a great month for weather, he would instead combine his birthday celebrations with the annual Trooping the Colour, during summer.

What is the Trooping of the Colours?

Usually, people gather outside Buckingham Palace and along the Mall to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s official birthday in June.

However, this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, celebrations may differ slightly from usual.

The main event for the Queen’s birthday celebrations in June is the Trooping the Colour.

This is a ceremony which has marked the official birthday of monarchs for over 260 years, and features 1,400 soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians in a military parade which starts at Buckingham Palace, before moving along the Mall.

Will her birthday celebrations go ahead as normal?

This year, the celebrations will not go ahead in its usual form. The Trooping the Colour official website says: “In line with UK Government advice, it has been agreed that The Queen’s Birthday Parade, also known as Trooping the Colour, will not go ahead in its traditional form.”

However, the website adds, “A number of other options are being considered, in line with relevant guidance.”

The grand finale of the Trooping the Colour also usually involves the RAF flying past as the royal family watch from the balcony.

What are the Queen’s birthday honours?

The Queen's Birthday Honours List recognises the achievements of a wide range of people across the United Kingdom. The lists of who has received honours are published on the Queen’s official birthday in June.