Why Queen Elizabeth Has Two Birthdays

Why Queen Elizabeth Has Two Birthdays
Queen Elizabeth
Chris Jackson/Getty

updated 06/11/2016 AT 10:25 AM EDT

originally published 04/27/2016 AT 01:40 PM EDT

Why have just one birthday when you can have two?

Queen Elizabeth may have celebrated her 90th birthday last week, but the festivities are far from over. That's because the monarch has a public and an official birthday.

The Queen, who was born on April 21, 1926, marked her milestone birthday last Thursday with a 100-yard walkabout, where she greeted crowds of well-wishers. She then joined her family for a private dinner organized by son Prince Charles.

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While the Queen's actual birthday tends to be a private affair, it's also customary to celebrate a sovereign's birthday publicly on a day during the summer, when the weather is nicer (yes, really).

King Edward VII, for example, was born on November 9, but his official birthday was always celebrated in May or June, when there was a greater likelihood of good weather for the Birthday Parade (also known as Trooping of the Colour).



The tradition is believed to have started during the reign of King George II in 1748. George II was born in October, but the annual Trooping of the Colour became a celebration of the king – as well as the armed forces.

Since then, the reigning monarch's official summer birthday has always been marked by the annual ceremony, which is typically held on the second Saturday in June.

So happy birthdays to Queen Elizabeth – and thank goodness for unreliable British weather!
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