The Westminster Abbey Bells Don’t Ring for Every Royal’s Birthday; Here’s Who Does and Who Doesn’t Get the Special Tribute

Westminster Abbey is one of the most famous landmarks in London and the ringing of the bells is tradition that occurs on special occasions in the U.K. such as the birthday of a royal. But not every member of Queen Elizabeth II‘s family receives the honor.

Here’s which royals the bells ring out for and which they do not.

(L-R): Prince Charles, Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth ll, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Prince William, and Kate Middleton standing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace watching a flypast
(L-R): Prince Charles, Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth ll, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Prince William, and Kate Middleton standing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace watching a flypast | Anwar Hussein/WireImage

Royals the bells ring for

Westminster Abbey is a very special place for the queen and her family. It’s where every coronation since 1066 has taken place and it’s also been site of 16 royal weddings including the queen’s as well as Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge’s.

Members of The Firm who hear the bells ring on their birthdays are Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Camilla, Princess Anne, Prince Edward, Prince William, Kate, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. The bells also sounded every year for Prince Philip prior to his death.

The bells have rang out to mark Prince Andrew’s birthday in the past but given the accusations surrounding him and the fact that he no longer participates in public duties, many are hoping that doesn’t continue.

Do the bells still ring for Prince Andrew?

Prince Andrew
Prince Andrew Prince Andrew | Christopher Furlong – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Despite his “car crash interview” in which he spoke about his association with late convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and denied having sex with one of Epstein’s alleged victims, the bells still rang for Andrew’s 60th birthday on Feb. 19, 2020.

It was a different story in 2021 but not because of the public outcry or the fact that the Duke of York was forced to resign from working on behalf of the crown. Gert’s Royals noted that the reason he did not receive the honor for his 61st birthday was due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as the bell ringing was canceled.

A statement on the Abbey’s website read: “The Abbey bells can usually be heard before services and in celebration of church festivals and royal occasions. Following the latest guidelines from the Church of England and the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, ringing at the Abbey by our volunteer bell ringers is currently suspended during the coronavirus outbreak.”

No bells for Prince Harry or Meghan?

Oprah Winfrey Interviewing Meghan Markle and Prince Harry for CBS special
Oprah Winfrey Interviewing Meghan Markle and Prince Harry | Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese via Getty

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Some may be wondering if the bells in the Abbey don’t ring for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s birthdays because they stepped down as senior royals. Actually that has nothing to do with it. Prince Harry and Meghan’s birthdays were not celebrated with the bells even before they stepped back from their roles within the family.

Other royals who don’t receive the honor include Prince Edward’s wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex as well as the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, and Princess Alexandra.