Why Do Monarchs Have Two Birthdays?

On 17th June celebrations will occur for The King’s Official Birthday with the Trooping the Colour ceremony, despite his actual birthday being in November.

So why is it that British Monarchs have two birthdays? In short, in classic British fashion, it is because of the weather.

This two-birthday tradition dates back to 1748 when the annual summer military cavalcade became a celebration of the King as well as the armed forced – even though George II’s birthday was in October. Since the Sovereign’s official birthday involves a lot of outdoor activities, now including Trooping the Colour, it was decided the festivities would be assigned to a date when it was likely to have pleasant weather.

Since 1748, a monarch’s official birthday has generally been held in the summer, even if it is far removed from their actual day of birth. The late Queen Elizabeth II’s great-grandfather Edward VII was born in November, but his official birthday celebration was always held in May or June. King Charles III was also born in November and has followed the convention since ascending the throne.

Trooping the Colour has now marked the official birthday of the British Sovereign for over 260 years, and 2023 will mark His Majesty King Charles III’s first as Sovereign.

Over 1,400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians will come together in a great display of military precision, horsemanship and fanfare to mark The King’s official birthday. The parade will move from Buckingham Palace down The Mall to Horse Guard’s Parade, alongside Members of the Royal Family on horseback and in carriages. The display will close with an RAF fly-past, watched by Members of the Royal Family from the Buckingham Palace balcony.

Image Credit: Royal UK