Culture Re-View: Happy Birthday King Charles III – but why does he have two birthdays?

Today marks His Majesty King Charles III’s 75th birthday.


But did you know that he had two birthdays?

It’s a long-standing tradition in what some might consider an archaic institution. The current monarch has two birthdays: 17 June and 14 November.

Indeed, just like his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, the former world’s oldest intern celebrates two birthdays a year.

Her Majesty was born in 1926 on 21 April, but an ‘official birthday celebration’ took place in the form of Trooping the Colour – a summertime parade, usually held in June.

Charles is continuing the tradition, having previously celebrated his ‘official birthday’ on 17 June 2023, and today celebrating his actual day of birth.

The tradition of Trooping the Colour dates back to 1748.

The ceremonial event is performed every year on Horse Guards Parade in London by regiments of Household Division, to celebrate the official birthday of the British sovereign. It is also known as the Sovereign’s Birthday Parade.

According to Royal Museums Greenwich, George II started the tradition. He moved his birthday celebrations to coincide with the annual military parade, as he thought the public wouldn’t be able to celebrate in November, his actual birth month – mostly because of the weather.

It was decided in 1748 that the parade of Trooping the Colour should mark the official birthday of the Sovereign.

Basically, one birthday isn’t enough for royals, who need to use the UK’s annual military parade held in the summer as an official birthday celebration, so as to have both a public and a private event.

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As you do.

After Charles, it will be up to the next monarch, the current Prince of Wales, William, to decide whether he would like to continue the tradition. William’s birthday is on 21 June, so it might be slightly redundant to hold two celebrations in one month…

But then again, redundancy is a very apt term when it comes to these ongoing Dungeons and Dragons-levels of embarrassment that preclude any royalist from ever commenting or making fun of any democratically elected official.

Back to the celebrations…

So, how will King Charles III spend his 75th?

He is reportedly celebrating with a party at Dumfries House, followed later on by a lavish shindig at London’s Clarence House – to which Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have reportedly not been invited to. In between his festivities, he’ll kick off an innovative program to combat food waste and put it to better use for those in need. Indeed, Charles and Queen Camilla will spend part of his 75th birthday launching The Coronation Food Project.

The palace has stated that Charles, “seeks to bridge the gap between food waste and food need.” His initiative will operate across the United Kingdom, “helping people and helping the planet.”

The royal couple will spend part of the day visiting touring a surplus food distribution centre outside London, meeting staff and volunteers and hearing about “the ways food waste can be used for social good.”

There’s a lot to unpack here – something for another time.

We’ll end on a broadly positive note, as the initiative – while ironic considering the amount of taxpayers money that could be saved from getting rid of the monarchy altogether – is very admirable. However, the food waste message didn’t reach one person in time…

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Talented baker Emma Jayne, from Wales, has sculpted a life-size King Charles replica cake, made up of 60kg of icing, modelling chocolate, a sizeable amount of Rice Krispies, and quite a few marshmallows.

Even the crown is edible, with the crown jewels (not those, the one on the literal crown) crafted from 2,500 edible crystals, tempered sugar isomalt and fondant icing.

It’s so well done it becomes a tad creepy.

We leave you with Jayne’s creation, which was recently at the Cake International event in Birmingham… And one hopes that it will be chopped up and distributed to those in need of a bit of cake.

“Let them eat cake,” and all that…