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Why does the Queen have two birthdays?

Credit: PA

It seems like just yesterday that it was the Queen's birthday, and that would be because it was only 51 days ago.

There's nothing like a good birthday party, and every year the Queen has two birthdays.

The actual date of the Queen's birth was 21 April, 1926, making Elizabeth II 90. However, she also has an official birthday in June, which this year will be celebrated on June 11.

The cake made for the Queen's actual birthday by royal enthusiast Margaret Tyler. Credit: PA

But why? Why does the Queen get two birthdays when the rest of the population makes do with just one?

Basically, it's all due to British weather. Genuinely.

Since 1748, the monarch's official birthday has been marked by the parade known as Trooping the Colour - usually held on the king or queen's actual birthday.

But Edward VII, who reigned from 1901 to 1910, was born on November 9, 1841. He celebrated officially in May or June because there was less chance of it being cold, drizzly, or even snowing during the outdoor event.

George V, who became king after Edward VII's death, and Edward VIII who followed him helpfully both had birthdays in June. George VI who became king next and is also the present Queen's father had his birthday on December 14, and reintroduced the tradition of an official birthday, which Elizabeth II has continued.

The Queen with Nadiya Hussain, winner of the Great British Bake Off who baked a cake for her actual birthday. Credit: PA

Is the Queen's official birthday always on the same day?

No. It changes.

Originally the Queen celebrated her official birthday on the second Thursday of June, the same day which her father George VI celebrated his official birthday while he was king. In 1959, after seven years on the throne, the Queen changed it to the second Saturday for convenience.

However, this too can change. Elizabeth II tends to celebrate her official birthday on either the first or the second, but sometimes the third, Saturday of the month.

Royal fans Margaret Tyler and Terry Hutt celebrate on the Queen's real birthday. Credit: PA

How does the Queen celebrate?

The Queen begins her knees-up with a service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral on Saturday. The monarch's official birthday is also marked by Trooping the Colour carriage and horse procession in central London and a fly-past over Buckingham Palace.

The Queen's Birthday Honours List is also announced, the Union flag flown from Government buildings and gun salutes at noon.

Independent celebrations will also take place nationwide.

The greets the crowd lined outside Windsor Castle, Berkshire, along her walkabout to mark her 90th birthday. Credit: PA

If so much is planned for her official birthday, what does the Queen do on her real birthday?

The Queen's real birthday is a slightly more private affair.

However, duty often beckons. On the big 9-0 this year, Elizabeth II carried out a birthday walkabout in Windsor and in the evening lit a beacon. Luckily the Queen had the evening off at least and joined her family for a lavish black-tie dinner in Windsor Castle.

Aides do try to give the Queen a break on her birthday from the famous red boxes containing state papers.

A new portrait of the Queen and Prince Philip released by Buckingham Palace. Credit: Annie Leibovitz

A weekend of royal birthdays

Going five better than his wife, Prince Philip is 95 today. Sadly, however, he only celebrates one birthday and today is that day.

The Duke of Edinburgh's birthday will also be somewhat eclipsed by that of the Queen, though his birthday will be mentioned in prayers at St Paul's Cathedral. Hopefully he'll get a cake too.

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