When is King Charles III’s birthday? Likely Trooping the Colour date - will he have two birthdays like Queen
King Charles III became the UK’s oldest new monarch in history following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II
The UK officially waved goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II on Monday (19 September), with a state funeral and accompanying processions that were likely to have been watched by millions of people both in the UK and further afield.
With the national period of mourning for the UK’s longest-reigning monarch about to come to an end, focus has started to shift towards the reign of her son, King Charles III. The future of the Royal Family is also likely to become more hotly debated.
While no official date has yet been given for his coronation, Charles became King as soon as the Queen passed away. He formally became King on 10 September after a session of the Accession Council.
Now he is the UK’s head of state, will Charles have two birthdays like the Queen did - and what will it mean for the date of the Trooping of the Colour?
How old is King Charles III?
He was aged 73 years and 298 days old when Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Thursday 8 September.
The new monarch’s birthday, which is set to become his ‘unofficial’ birthday, is 14 November.
Will King Charles get second birthday?
The reason why King Charles III’s actual birthday is going to become his ‘unofficial’ birthday is because the UK’s King or Queen gets an additional ‘official’ birthday when they accede the throne.
This slightly confusing arrangement is borne out of a tradition that stretches back to 1748 during the reign of King George II.
Like Charles III, King George’s actual birthday was in November. The time of year meant he could not have the big public celebration he craved, so he gave himself another birthday that coincided with the Trooping the Colour - an annual military parade held in the summer.
For most of the 274 years since then, the ruling British monarch has had two birthdays. The practice was standardised during the reign of Queen Victoria’s successor - King Edward VII.
The Queen kept the bizarre tradition alive, initially opting for the second Thursday of June before changing it to the second Saturday of June in 1959. In part, this is why the Platinum Jubilee celebrations that took place in 2022 happened when they did.
More confusingly still, some Commonwealth countries marked the Queen’s official birthday at different times. Some regions within these nations had their own official birthday dates for the British monarch.
In much of Australia, where the Queen remains as head of state despite having a republican as its Prime Minister, there is a public holiday on the second Monday of June. But in Western Australia, this holiday is celebrated in either September or October.
In New Zealand, the Queen’s official birthday is the first Monday in June, while in Canada, it is in May.
At present, we do not know when King Charles III will opt to mark his official birthday if indeed he will have one. The King is known to want to ‘slim down’ the monarchy so that it aligns more closely with modern-day values.
Regardless of whether he does celebrate one, the new King can expect several gun salutes on his actual birthday this November.
When is Trooping the Colour 2023?
Trooping the Colour has been taking place since the early 1700s, although its origins could date back even earlier. It has taken place annually over most of the intervening 300 years, with only two world wars and a national rail strike in 1955 stopping it from happening.
Every year, the five Household foot regiments - the Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards - will perform precise routines to demonstrate their aptitude for performing their role (essentially the monarch’s bodyguard).
The colours themselves are the flags representing the different regiments. When these are ‘trooped’ in front of the rank and file by officers, it means the troops are being shown how to identify their unit.
The Trooping the Colour ceremony usually involves more than 1,400 soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians and takes place in the Mall and on Horse Guards Parade. It also tends to see the Royal Family make an appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony for an RAF flypast.
It had been pencilled in for the Queen’s next official birthday that was due to take place on Saturday 10 June. But it is now unclear whether Charles III will opt for a different date.