What is King’s Birthday?

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New Zealand has celebrated its first King’s Birthday weekend, which is strange because King Charles’ real birthday is in November, New Zealand celebrates it in June. Why? Well, it all has to do with British traditions and the weather!

Just like Queen Elizabeth, King Charles gets the special privilege of celebrating his birthday twice every year. In New Zealand, the Queen’s Birthday Weekend is observed on the first Monday in June, even though her actual birthday is on April 21. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet confirmed that this tradition will continue under King Charles.

But why the two birthdays? It’s because of the unpredictable weather in Britain during the winter. British monarchs who are not born in the summer celebrate their birthday twice. They have their actual birthday celebration and then another official celebration during the British summer.

The second celebration is called the Trooping the Colour parade, which is held in early June outside Buckingham Palace. This parade has been a part of the official birthday celebration for over 270 years! The idea is that having a summer birthday increases the chances of good weather for the parade.

The tradition of the second birthday celebration started with King George II in 1748. Since his November birthday was too cold for a big parade, he decided to tie it in with the Trooping the Colour parade. Later on, during the reign of King Edward VII, who also had a November birthday, the summer “official” birthday celebrations became a standard tradition.

In 2022, the Trooping the Colour parade was held on a Thursday to mark the beginning of Queen Elizabeth’s platinum jubilee, and people in the UK had a day off. But this year, the parade will be back to its usual schedule on Saturday, June 17.

So, even though King Charles’ real birthday is in November, we still celebrate it in June because of the British tradition of having a second official birthday in the summer. It’s a way to enjoy better weather for the grand celebration!

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