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Here's why the Queen has two birthdays.

Stacey Leasca
June 08, 2018

Queen Elizabeth receives not one, but two birthday celebrations each year.

The Queen was officially born on April 21, 1926. On this day, the Queen typically celebrates with a small family affair, along with a celebration for the nation. This year, for example, the Queen celebrated with a massive concert at Albert Hall. There, Luke Evans, Sting and Shaggy all serenaded the Queen as her children and grandchildren wished her a happy birthday.

“Tonight we reflect on the pledge made by the Queen on her 21st birthday in 1947 in South Africa, to serve the Commonwealth for her whole life,” Prince Charles said at the time. “With my father, the Duke of Edinburgh, at her side, the Queen has dedicated herself, throughout her reign, to serving the United Kingdom and the other countries of the Commonwealth.”

If you missed out on that celebration, there's no need to fret, as another one is just around the corner.

This Saturday, June 9, the United Kingdom will once again celebrate the Queen’s birthday with the event known as Trooping the Colour.

The event is held each and every year to honor the Queen’s birthday and is technically the official celebration, TIME reports, even though it comes about six weeks after her birth date. This, the official royal website says, is tradition: All British monarchs have celebrated their birthdays twice for more than 260 years. Why? Because they like to celebrate their birthdays when the weather is nicer, that’s why.

So what does Trooping the colour mean anyway? As TIME explained, it’s a reflection of the military units displayed at the event.

“Over 1400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians come together each June in a great display of military precision, horsemanship and fanfare to mark The Queen's official birthday,” the official royal site explains. It’s “a great display of military precision, horsemanship and fanfare.”

During the event, thousands of well-wishers will line the streets as the military parade takes place. Then, once the Queen arrives at Horse Guard's Parade in Whitehall, she will be greeted by a Royal salute and will carry out an inspection of the troops, who are “fully trained and operational soldiers wearing the ceremonial uniform of red tunics and bearskin hats,” the site added.

If you happen to be in London you can of course go check out the parade in person. For more information on how to see it live, or how to watch it online, stay tuned to the Household Division’s site here.

In the meantime, check out this 360-degree experience of the 2016 Trooping the Colours event.

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