Why Do Some Royal Family Members Celebrate Two Birthdays?

Royal Family Trooping The Colour

The royal family. | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

There’s no specific protocol for how members of the British royal family are to celebrate their birthdays annually, but not everyone celebrates just one day.

From spending quiet time at home to grand public celebrations, here’s what some of the royals do on their birthdays and who celebrates more than one.

Meghan Markle

For Meghan Markle’s first birthday as a royal, she received a special present a few days shy of her big day from PETA. The animal rights organization sent the former actress a handbag made from vegan leather and valued at around $375.

“PETA believes this animal-friendly bag is absolutely perfect for the duchess, as she is mostly vegan and cares about animals and the environment … Chances are that this gorgeous handbag will inspire the duchess to embrace vegan fashion and leave all animal skins out of her wardrobe, as she’s already done with fur.” PETA director Elisa Allen told OK! Magazine.

Members of the royal family are sent gifts from the public every year on their birthdays, but the general rule is they cannot accept anything from people they don’t know. Since this specific handbag came from an organization though Prince Harry’s wife was able to accept it.

Kate Middleton

Since marrying the Duke of Cambridge, Kate Middleton has celebrated her birthday the same way a few times.

In 2012, she went to a film premiere the night before her 30th birthday with friends and family at a private Kensington restaurant. However, in many of the years that followed the duchess remained at home while pregnant with Prince George in 2013, with Princess Charlotte in 2015, and with Prince Louis in 2018.

Prince William and Prince Harry

Both Prince William and Prince Harry are rather low-key about their birthday plans and usually opt to spend the day privately rather than have public celebrations.

For William though, he’ll most likely have very large celebrations in his honor when he becomes the king of England. In fact, just as sovereigns before him, he’ll have two birthdays.

Queen Elizabeth II

The queen is one royal who celebrates two birthdays.

Her Majesty was born in April, but she celebrates a public birthday in June. That’s because it’s customary to celebrate a sovereign’s birthday publicly on a day during the summer when the weather is nice.

It’s believed that the tradition dates back to the reign of King George II in 1748. Since then, the reigning monarch’s official summer birthday has always been marked by the annual Trooping The Colour ceremony, which is typically held on the second Saturday in June. And, in some parts of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday is recognized as a public holiday.

Prince Charles

In 2018, Prince Charles became the only other royal to celebrate two birthdays besides his mother. The reason for that is because it was the year of his 70th birthday, which is considered a milestone for the family’s next in line to the throne.

Although the Prince of Wales was born in November, he got to celebrate his big birthday six months early with a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May.