Happy St. George's Day! Why Today Has Special Meaning for the Royal Baby's Birth

The new royal baby could have a very patriotic birthday!

The new royal baby prince has a very patriotic birthday!

April 23 marks an important day in English history: St. George’s Day, which is the feast day of St. George, the patron saint of England. While St. George never actually set foot in England during his lifetime, he was officially named the protector of the royal family and the patron saint of the country during the Middle Ages.

He was believed to have been a solider in the Roman army who was tortured for refusing to renounce his Christian faith. St. George’s cross is used as the English flag and is featured in the Union Jack flag for the United Kingdom.

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Celebrations of St. George’s feast day in England died out in popularity after the late 16th century, and it’s not a bank holiday, but it regained popularity in recent years as a day to celebrate English culture and history.

St. George’s Day also marks an important day for the royal family. Nominations for the Order of the Garter, the highest and oldest order of chivalry in the United Kingdom, are announced on April 23. In June, on the Monday of Royal Ascot week, members of the Order of the Garter attend a special ceremony at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.

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Big brother Prince George also has a special connection to the patron saint. In honor of Prince George’s second birthday in 2015, the Royal Mint released a limited edition commemorative coin featuring the legend of St. George and the dragon on one side, and a portrait of George s great-grandmother, the Queen, on the other.

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According to the Golden Legend (circa 1275), St. George protected himself with the sign of the cross to slay a dragon and rescue a princess.

April 23 also marks the traditional celebration of William Shakespeare’s birthday. While Shakespeare’s exact birthday is unknown, records indicate that he was baptized on April 26, 1564, and died on April 23, 1616. Thus, April 23 is generally celebrated as his birthday, with special events taking place at his home of Stratford-upon-Avon.

Kate Middleton arrived at St. Mary’s Hospital in London to welcome her third child with husband Prince William before 6 a.m. (U.K. time) on Monday. The palace announced the happy news of the baby prince’s arrival hours later.

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