Queen's Official Birthday

Queen's Official Birthday

:"The Queen" in this article means the monarch of the Commonwealth Realms"

The Queen's Official Birthday (sometimes known as "the Queen's Birthday") is celebrated as a public holiday in 53 Commonwealth countries—usually Commonwealth Realms, although it is also celebrated in Fiji, now a republic. The word "Queen" in the name of the celebration is replaced by "King" when appropriate. The exact date of the celebration varies from country to country, and it does not usually mark the real birthday of the sovereign (the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, was born on 21 April 1926). Most Commonwealth Realms release a Birthday Honours List at this time.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the Queen's Official Birthday is now celebrated on the first, second, or thirdcite web |url= http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page4820.asp |title= One Queen, Two Birthdays |format= html |work= royal.gov.uk, the Official Website of the British Monarchy |quote= The Queen celebrates her actual birthday on 12 April. She also celebrates her official birthday on either the first or the second, and sometimes the third, Saturday in June. ] Saturday in June, and is marked in London by the ceremony of Trooping the Colour, which is also known as the Queen's Birthday Parade. Edward VII (who reigned 1901–1910) moved the ceremony to that date in the hope of good weather.

The list of Birthday Honours is also announced at the time of the UK Official Birthday celebrations. In British diplomatic missions the day is treated as the National Day of the United Kingdom. Although it is not celebrated as a public holiday in the UK (as it is not a working day), civil servants are given a "privilege day" at this time of year, which is merged with the Spring Bank Holiday (last Monday in May) to create a long weekend.


Australia (except Western Australia), observes the Queen's Birthday on the second Monday in June, marking it with a public holiday that also serves as the opening weekend to Australia's snow season, though it is quite common for there to be no ski-worthy snow until later in the month. Because Western Australia celebrates its Foundation Day on the first Monday in June, the Governor of Western Australia proclaims the day on which the state will observe the Queen's Birthday, based on school terms and the Perth Royal Show. [ [http://www.docep.wa.gov.au/ Department of Consumer and Employment Protection, Labour Relations division] ] There is no firm rule to determine this date before it is proclaimed, though it is typically the last Monday of September or the first Monday of October.

The day has been celebrated since 1878, when Governor Arthur Phillip declared a holiday to mark the birthday of King George III. Until 1963 it was held on the actual birthday of the Monarch, but after the death of King George V it was decided to keep the date at mid-year.

The only civic occasion of note associated with the day is the release of the "Queen's Birthday honours list," in which new members of the Order of Australia and other Australian honours are named. This occurs on the date observed in the Eastern States, not the date observed in Western Australia. The Australian Football League clubs Collingwood Magpies and Melbourne Demons traditionally play a match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The Queen's Birthday weekend and Empire Day, 24 May, were long the traditional times for public fireworks displays in Australia. Although they still occur, the tradition has recently been overshadowed by larger New Year's Eve fireworks, as the sale of fireworks to the public was progressively banned by the states in the 1980s. The sale of fireworks in the Australian Capital Territory is only legal during the Queen's Birthday weekend. [ [http://www.workcover.act.gov.au/docs/fireworks.htm ACT Workcover - Fireworks] ]


According to the legislation creating Victoria Day, Canada celebrates the Queen's official birthday that general holiday, the Monday on or before 24 May. However, it is not widely known that Victoria Day is intended to honour the current queen as well as Queen Victoria, who was born May 24, 1819. For Canadians in the warmest regions, Victoria Day is sometimes considered the beginning of summer, when theme parks and outdoor pools are opened, and other summer activities begin.

Other countries and territories

In New Zealand, the holiday is the first Monday in June, and owing to the climate being colder than Australia's, usually serves as the opening weekend to the country's ski season.

The Queen's official birthday is a public holiday in Gibraltar and Bermuda, and most other British overseas territories. Against the wishes of its people, the Bermuda Government decided that Bermuda will observe the Queen's Birthday holiday for the last time in 2008. In the Falkland Islands, the actual day of the Queen's birth, April 21, is celebrated, as June is a late autumn and winter month in the Islands.

It ceased to be a public holiday in Hong Kong after the territory's handover to the People's Republic of China in 1997.

Fiji also still celebrates the Queen's Official Birthday, along with the Prince of Wales's Birthday, since although the Queen ceased to be head of state in 1987, she remains recognised as Paramount Chief of Fiji.

See also

* Trooping the Colour
* Grand Duke's Official Birthday, a similar celebration in Luxembourg
* Koninginnedag, a similar celebration in the Netherlands


External links

* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/uk/2001/birthday_honours_2001/1390951.stm BBC News article of 2001 about the date of the Queen's Official Birthday in the UK]

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