Royals

Queen Elizabeth II Celebrates Two Birthdays For A Very Selfless Reason

When you're the head of one of the most powerful royal families in the world, you can do anything you please, including celebrating your birthday twice.

Queen Elizabeth II, who was born on April 12, 1926, celebrates her birthday two times a year, and as pompous as that may sound, there's a very good reason behind it.

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For hundreds of years, it's been a tradition of the British royal family to celebrate the birthday of the reigning monarch on two separate occasions - the day they were actually born and a day for the public to enjoy.

The public celebration often includes artillery gun salutes (a 41-gun salute in Hyde Park, a 21-gun salute in Windsor Great Park, and a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London), and other celebratory activities, such as a military parade known as Trooping the Color. The entire family then gathers on the balcony of the Buckingham Palace where they watch a military fly-past.

The tradition is believed to have been started by King George II in 1748, but not many people know why.

Turns out, the reason why the kings and queens of England hold two birthday celebrations is because of the awful weather in the United Kingdom.

The U.K. is known for its often dreary and unpredictable weather, especially during the winter months, so understandably, back in 1748, King George II, who was born in cold, rainy November, moved his public birthday to April. He also combined the celebration with the spring military parade.

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Since then, reigning royals, including Her Majesty, have opted to celebrate their birthdays twice a year. Queen Elizabeth chose the month of June to celebrate her special day with the people of Britain. The event used to take place on a Thursday, however, it has been switched to Saturday, so more people could join the party.

Last year, the family-oriented festivities marked the Queen's 91st birthday and took place on June 17. Her great-grandchildren, Prince George and Princess Charlotte also made an appearance on the famous balcony.

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Prior to the ceremony, the Queen released a statement that addressed the Grenfell Tower fire and the terror events that occurred in London just a few weeks earlier.

"Today is traditionally a day of celebration," wrote the Queen. "This year, however, it is difficult to escape a very’ sombre national mood. In recent months, the country has witnessed a succession of terrible tragedies. As a nation, we continue to reflect and pray for all those who have been directly affected by these events."

She added, "Put to the test, the United Kingdom has been resolute in the face of adversity. United in our sadness, we are equally determined, without fear or favour, to support all those rebuilding lives so horribly affected by injury and loss."

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As for her real birthday, the Queen opted for a private family celebration with her closest family members.

We're looking forward to seeing the entire royal clan, including the newest member, Meghan Markle, at this year's event!