The tradition is believed to have started during the reign of King George II in 1748
Why have just one birthday when you can have two?
Queen Elizabeth may be celebrating her 93rd birthday on Sunday, but the festivities will be far from over. That’s because the monarch has a public and an official birthday.
The Queen, who was born on April 21, 1926, is celebrating her birthday this year privately with members of the royal family. Since the occasion also falls on Easter Sunday, the royal will be attending church services.
While the Queen typically celebrates her actual birthday privately, it’s also customary to celebrate a sovereign’s birthday publicly on a day during the summer, when the weather is nicer (yes, really).
King Edward VII, for example, was born on November 9, but his official birthday was always celebrated in May or June, when there was a greater likelihood of good weather for the Birthday Parade (also known as Trooping of the Colour).
The tradition is believed to have started during the reign of King George II in 1748. George II was born in October, but the annual Trooping of the Colour became a celebration of the king – as well as the armed forces.
- Can’t get enough of PEOPLE’s Royals coverage? Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!
Since then, the reigning monarch’s official summer birthday has always been marked by the annual ceremony, which is typically held on the second Saturday in June.
So happy birthdays to Queen Elizabeth – and thank goodness for unreliable British weather!