Although the Queen was born on 21 April 1926, she also celebrates an official birthday in June with The Queen’s Official Birthday Parade.
But due to the coronavirus pandemic, Buckingham Palace has announced that this year’s celebrations have been cancelled. It is now the second year in a row that the event has been called off. Her Majesty is also still mourning the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh, just days after she had to sit alone at his funeral.
Instead, a smaller affair is being considered that will take place in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle. The “alternative parade” may be similar to the replacement event organised last year, in what was dubbed a “mini Trooping”.
The Queen’s real birthday in April is normally celebrated in private. Compared with June’s Trooping the Colour, the fanfare on her birthday in April is relatively muted, with gun salutes around London at midday typically being the most public marking.
However, last year, for the first time in her reign, the Queen declined to have the traditional gun salute.
With the country experiencing difficult times, it was at her request that no “special measures” were taken to mark her 94th birthday in 2020. It is not known whether this will remain the case this year as she turns 95.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “Her Majesty was keen that no special measures were put in place to allow gun salutes as she did not feel it appropriate in the current circumstances.”
Trooping the colour
Last year’s “mini Trooping” saw a much smaller version of the Trooping the Colour parade that takes place every June at Horse Guard’s Parade.
The Queen was greeted by a royal salute on arrival at the Quadrangle at Windsor Castle. She then watched a series of military drills and saw a band perform.
Upon Her Majesty’s departure, there was another royal salute given by soldiers of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards.
The Trooping the Colour ceremony is a tradition that was started in 1748 by George II to combat the British weather.
Born in November, George was worried the temperature would be too cold to hold a birthday parade in late autumn, and so he decided instead to combine his birthday celebration with a military parade that would happen annually.
When the Queen first took the throne in 1952 at the age of 25, she continued this tradition and asked for her official birthday parade to take place on the second Thursday of each June. In 1959, she changed the timing to the second Saturday of every June.