London becomes the focus of celebrations of the Queen’s 90th with the Queen’s Birthday Parade, or Trooping the Colour, on Horse Guards Parade on 11 June and a Patron’s Lunch, a giant street party celebrating Her Majesty’s patronage of over 600 organisations, on 12 June.
The weekend’s celebrations mark Elizabeth II’s official birthday, though her actual birthday is on 21 April. The tradition of British sovereigns having two birthdays began more than 250 years ago in 1748 with King George II, who was born in October, under whose reign the annual summer military cavalcade became a celebration of the king as well as the armed forces.
Traditional British weather is the reason for our monarch’s two birthdays, with the official birthday in summer, so there is a better chance of sunshine for outdoor events.
This weekend’s celebrations began with a service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral today, which is the Duke of Edinburgh’s 95th birthday, though he has emphasised that the focus should remain on the Queen.
Tomorrow, Trooping the Colour will take place in Horse Guards Parade, with the Queen travelling by carriage from Buckingham Palace to inspect her personal troops in a televised ceremony at 10am. The royal family will then appear on the balcony of the palace to watch a fly-past at 1pm. Sunday’s celebrations will take place in the Mall outside Buckingham Palace with a picnic and street performances for 10,000 guests. You can watch from big screens in St James’ Park and Green Park on the day.