This Saturday, on the 12th June, the United Kingdom and members of The Commonwealth will come together to celebrate the Queen’s Official Birthday.
At 95 years old, she is the United Kingdom’s longest reigning monarch. She became Queen on the 6th February 1952 and has reigned for over 69 years (longer than Queen Victoria!)
To mark this special day, this blog offers readers free access to four articles from digital archives hosted on the Exact Editions platform that reflect on all things royal.
Technically, Queen Elizabeth II was born on the 21st April 1926, but we still celebrate her birthday on the 12th June… confused?
Don’t worry — ‘A Very Short History Story of The Trooping of The Colour’, from the June 2013 issue of BBC History Magazine explains all. The article looks back on the history of the day and why all monarchs are obliged to celebrate their birthdays in June.
Did you know that Edward VII was the first monarch to actually want to turn up to the Trooping the Colour ceremony, which occurred around the time of the monarch’s real birthday?
But “with a birthday in November, this could mean a pretty soggy day standing in the rain”.
So he came up with the idea of having an official birthday in the summer in the hope of bluer skies — English weather is so inconvenient, isn’t it?
The Queen’s Birthday is steeped in tradition and formalities. The Summer 1992 issue of The Guards Magazine illustrates these formalities with the ‘Trooping of The Colour’, also known as ‘The Queens Birthday Parade’.
Over 1400 officers and men, two hundred horses and the Massed Band of the Household Division are involved in the parade.
It’s not all about formalities and tradition though; Britons and members of The Commonwealth love coming together to celebrate.
In the June 2016 issue of The Lady, ‘Celebrating The Queen’s Birthday’ shows all the ways the event is celebrated throughout the UK and the World. From a gun salute, to the BT tower lighting-up, to a royal cavalry performance — the day is quite a show!
“Many Happy Returns, Your Majesty”.
As well as a chance to celebrate Her Majesty’s birthday, the official June birthday is also treated as a day to look back on Queen Elizabeth II’s life and reign.
The December 2007 issue of The Spectator reflects on how the Queen has developed within her role and adapted the monarchy to stay in tune with the 21st century.
“In the last few years, there has been a conscious move towards re-shaping the royal approach to everything”.
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Access to the digital magazine issues included in this post will be active until the 12th July 2021.
If you’d like to explore any of these titles’ archives for yourself, head over to the Exact Editions online shop and purchase a subscription, which offers fully-searchable access to a rich wealth of content.