When you are Queen you get TWO birthdays?


Note: 1951 and Queen Elizabeth–as Princess Elizabeth–rode and took the salute owing to the King’s ill health. King Haakon of Norway, like King George V, was a grandson of King Edward VII. The two little boys on the balcony are Prince Charles and the current Duke of Gloucester, Prince Richard who is a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth.

Queen Elizabeth has two birthdays? Obviously, the Queen was only born once. That was on April 21, 1926. The two birthday’s thing started with her father.



Sadly, King George VI  was born on a day that would eventually see three royals die. The most important of those was his Great-Grandfather, Prince Albert–husband of Queen Victoria. December 14 was also the day the Victoria and Albert’s daughter, Alice, died. And, eventually, another Great-Grandchild of Victoria’s, Princess Maud of Fife (a grandchild of Edward VII) died on that day as well.

So, with the combination of intense solemnity necessary for that date and the horrible December weather, George VI held his traditional birthday celebration in June. The Queen, though having the luck of slightly better April weather, choose to stick to it. I imagine, should he live to be King, that Prince Charles will do the same. William’s birthday is June 21 and George’s is in July so now real need to worry beyond the reign of George VII–the name Charles has claimed he will use as King.

Embed from Getty Images

Trooping the Colour, which in 1972 was in memory of disgraced ex-King Edward VIII (aka The Duke of Windsor) who had recently died. Like his niece, Edward VIII was shot at while on horseback going to Horse Guards Parade where the Colour is Trooped. Both monarchs handled themselves with great dignity.  1972’s ceremony was also one of the three known times after the Abdication that Queen Elizabeth met her Aunt-by-marriage, Wallis, Duchess of Windsor.

Photos: Paphotos and (left) Getty

Queen Elizabeth is shown in black armband (left arm) talking with her son, Prince Edward who was named for Edward VIII’s namesake nephew and Godson, the current Duke of Kent. The other photo, shows the Duchess of Windsor, who was invited as a show of respect.

Today Trooping the Colour is one of only two events each year at which nearly the entire “First 50” or so in line to the throne gather. (The other  occasion is the Queen’s annual pre-Christmas family lunch). We see them all arranged on the Buckingham Palace balcony after the marching is over –waiting for the fly-past of World War II planes or RAF fighters trailing red, white and blue smoke. Very impressive.

Here is a clip from documentary Royal Family at Work which shows, at approximately 6:19, the family gathered behind the scenes–the late Princess Margaret’s son, Viscount Linley and his wife, are both shown keeping a real eye on their young children. Who can’t relate to that! Members of the family are shown greeting each other with European-style kisses on both cheeks as well. What I love most in this clip is Prince Charles’ voice over about the event as he saw it in childhood.


It is also on the Queen’s Official birthday balcony appearance that many a royal baby has made his or her debut. Here are (clockwise from top left) Harry, Andrew, Harry again,  Charles with William, William with George and the Queen with Prince Edward.

sources: Getty for most

I’ll leave you with my favorite Trooping the Colour photo of all time….

Embed from Getty Images

I’m hoping that’s his father’s horse. Because what little guy wouldn’t want to be like Papa on THAT day?


2 thoughts on “When you are Queen you get TWO birthdays?

  1. sjbraun

    How interesting! I wondered why the 2 birthdays thing, and you cleared it right up 🙂 Next topic — why does Charles want to reign as George? Too many Charleses? Plus now with another George on the horizon … ?


    1. He wants to be George VII due to his Grandfather. So, in the last century Prince Albert Edward reigned as Edward VII, King Edward VIII was known to family only as David, Prince Albert Frederick Arthur George reigned as George VI and, if he follows through, Prince Charles Philip Arthur George will be George VII, followed possibly by William V and then George VIII. Only the two in that time period chose to reign under their first Christian name–George V and Elizabeth II. Whether George VI chose his father’s name for continuity as is often said, or whether it was to avoid confusion with the recently deceased King of the Belgians (his distant kinsman) who also had a Queen called Elizabeth is not clear. Edward VIII, of course, was a bachelor. In his short reign his mother, Queen Mary–always known in the family as May–was his official hostess or pseudo consort.


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