When is King Charles III’s birthday? When official birthday will occur, actual birth date, tradition explained

King Charles III is set for his Coronation, and is set to have his first Trooping the Colour soon afterwards

King Charles III‘s Coronation is just hours away, with the Westminster Abbey event likely to see tens of thousands of people brave the bad weather to throng the streets of London. Some have even been camping for several days in a bid to secure an unobstructed view of the major occasion.

Around 2,000 guests will be in the Abbey itself for the occasion - the first of its kind for almost exactly 70 years. Millions of people are expected to watch it on TV.

While Charles and his Queen Consort Camilla are doing away with some traditions, the ceremony is set to be broadly similar to the one enjoyed by Queen Elizabeth II and the country’s previous kings and queens.

Another tradition that the King has kept in place is the centuries-old tradition of UK monarchs celebrating two birthdays a year. He has already had one birthday since beginning his reign last September, with another set to take place in little over a month.

So, why does the King get two birthdays - and what is the tradition’s connection to the Trooping of the Colour? Here’s everything you need to know.

How old is King Charles III?

King Charles III became the UK’s oldest new monarch in history when he acceded the throne following the death of his mother. He was aged 73 years and 298 days old when Elizabeth II passed away on Thursday 8 September.

His actual birthday, which has now become his ‘unofficial’ birthday, is 14 November. It means he is currently aged 74-years-old.

Will King Charles III get two birthdays? (image: Getty Images)Will King Charles III get two birthdays? (image: Getty Images)
Will King Charles III get two birthdays? (image: Getty Images)

Will King Charles get second birthday?

The reason why King Charles III’s actual birthday has become his ‘unofficial’ birthday is that he has decided to continue the tradition of the UK’s King or Queen celebrating an additional ‘official’ birthday. This slightly confusing arrangement has been in place since King George II was on the throne in 1748.

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 King or Queen has had two birthdays. The practice was standardised during the reign of Queen Victoria’s successor - King Edward VII. The Queen kept the tradition alive, initially opting for the second Thursday in June before changing it to the second Saturday of June in 1959.

More confusingly still, some Commonwealth countries marked the Queen’s official birthday at different times. And within these nations, certain regions had their own official birthday dates for the British monarch. For example, across most of Australia there is a public holiday to mark the King or Queen’s on the second Monday of June. But in Western Australia, this holiday is celebrated in either September or October.

Trooping the Colour is one of the biggest Royal events of the year (image: Getty Images)Trooping the Colour is one of the biggest Royal events of the year (image: Getty Images)
Trooping the Colour is one of the biggest Royal events of the year (image: Getty Images)

In New Zealand, the Queen’s official birthday was the first Monday in June, while in Canada, it was in May. King Charles III has opted to mark his official birthday on the third Saturday of June. It means it will take place on 17 June this year.

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.

Trooping the Colour is a high-precision military parade (image: Getty Images)Trooping the Colour is a high-precision military parade (image: Getty Images)
Trooping the Colour is a high-precision military parade (image: Getty Images)

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 will take place on the King’s official birthday (17 June) - little more than a month after his Coronation. As the Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiments of the Household Division, Charles III will play a major role in the parades.

But it has also been announced that other members of the Royal Family will be taking up ceremonial roles, with the Queen Consort Camilla becoming Colonel of the Grenadier Guards - a title that used to be held by Prince Andrew.

Catherine, the Princess of Wales will become Colonel of the Irish Guards. This role was previously held by her husband Prince William, who is set to take the Colonel of the Welsh Guards title from his father. Both Charles and William will ride on horseback during Trooping the Colour, with the traditional Buckingham Palace balcony event also set to make a return.