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King Charles' birthday isn't until November. So why is it being celebrated in the summer?

Samantha Grindell   

King Charles' birthday isn't until November. So why is it being celebrated in the summer?
  • Trooping the Colour 2024 will take place in London on Saturday.
  • The annual military parade serves as King Charles III's official birthday celebration.

King Charles III was born on November 14, 1948, so you likely wouldn't expect him to be thinking about his birthday in the summer.

But thousands will celebrate the king's birthday in the UK on Saturday at one of the biggest royal events of the year: Trooping the Colour.

According to the royal family's website, Trooping the Colour has been the British sovereign's official birthday celebration for over 260 years.

The event is marked with a parade and massive fanfare in June each year.

Trooping the Colour is the monarch's official birthday celebration

The annual celebration occurs in the summer, regardless of when the reigning monarch's actual birthday is.

The royal family's website notes that the chance of the weather being suitable for outdoor activities is higher in May or June. Considering much of the event takes place outside, scheduling it for the summer is easier. Nowadays, the event typically takes place on a Saturday in June.

According to History, King George II was the first monarch to move his birthday pageantry to the summer, as he was born in October, but he combined his official celebration with a summer military parade in 1748.

The monarch's actual birthday is publicly acknowledged with a royal gun salute, but the sovereign typically celebrates privately otherwise.

A military parade is the centerpiece of the event

During Trooping the Colour, a parade of royals and military personnel travels from Buckingham Palace to the Horse Guards Parade at Whitehall in London.

The royal family's website states that the parade includes over 1,400 soldiers, 400 musicians, and 200 horses, and the royals typically ride on horseback or in carriages.

The monarch can participate in the event from either carriage or horseback. According to the BBC, Queen Elizabeth II rode a horse during the parade until 1987.

Once the parade reaches Whitehall, the monarch formally inspects the troops during the ceremony.

Likewise, the chosen Regimental Colour, or flag, is carried through the ranks of participating soldiers before they march back to Buckingham Palace.

Thousands of onlookers cheer on the participants as they process.

According to an FOIA request to the Ministry of Defence, the 2021 Trooping the Colour cost 59,662 pounds, which would be approximately $75,604 today. That total includes stable costs, transportation, and fuel, among other fees, though it does not factor in the cost of the police presence required to keep the event safe for the royals and attendees.

Trooping the Colour brings the royal family together at Buckingham Palace

Trooping the Colour culminates in a flypast by RAF pilots over Buckingham Palace.

The flyover is arguably the most iconic moment of the event, as the royal family watches the planes go by from Buckingham Palace's balcony.

Trooping the Colour marks one of the few times a year the royal family gathers in one place, so they are always heavily photographed when they appear on the balcony.

The occasion offers a chance to see how royals interact with each other, with people analyzing shots of Princess Diana and Prince Harry in years past.

Likewise, royal children often steal the show when they appear at Buckingham Palace for the event.

King Charles is set to appear at Trooping the Colour in 2024 despite continuing his cancer treatment. On Monday, he reviewed the Irish Guards in preparation for the event.

However, People reported the king will ride in a carriage at the 2024 event instead of on horseback. Queen Camilla will accompany him.

Kate Middleton did not participate in the Colonel's Review, a dress rehearsal for Trooping the Colour that she would typically oversee as Colonel of the Irish Guards.

However, on Friday, Kate confirmed she would be attending this year's Trooping the Colour, marking her first event since announcing her cancer diagnosis.

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