512px-Trooping_the_Colour,_the_Colours Did you know that the queen of England celebrates her birthday twice? Once  on her actual birthday, the 21st of April and once on her Official birthday.

The Queen’s official birthday is a date arbitrarily selected to host official  birthday celebrations in all the Commonwealth countries. The dates vary with  each country but generally take place between the end of May and the middle  of June, to ensure good weather for all the outdoor ceremonies.

The monarch’s official birthday was celebrated for the first time in 1748.  Nowadays, it is celebrated on the first, or second Saturday in June. The date  was moved to Autumn by King Edward VII as he was born in November, then  summer in the hope of getting good weather. This year, the ceremonies were  held on the 13th of June in the UK.

On this day, the queen is joined by other members of the Royal Family to watch the parade which moves between Buckingham Palace, the Mall and the Horseguards’ Parade. This parade, known as Trooping of the colours is carried out by operational troups from the Household Division, Foot Guards and Household Cavalry.

This ceremony dates back to the early Eighteenth century when the flags (or colours) were carried out down the ranks of soldiers so they could be seen and recognised.

Nowadays, the Queen is greeted by a Royal salute and inspects the troops. The Regimental colour is then carried down the ranks. Then the soldiers then march past the Queen.

The Queen then rides in a carriage back to the Palace ahead of her Guards where she receives the salute and a fly-past by the Royal Air force from the palace balcony. Members of the Royal Family are invited to witness the Royal Air Force display.

On the Queen’s private birthday, on the other hand, public celebrations are limited gun salutes at midday: a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park, a 62 gun salute at the Tower of London and a 21 gun salute in Windsor Great Park.

Image from Carfax2

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Trooping_the_Colour,_the_Colours.jpg

 

 

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As the world, and more particularly the United Kingdom, is eagerly awaiting the birth of Prince William and Princess Catherine’s second child, we thought it topical to clarify the delicate matter of the order of succession to the British throne.

crown-jewels

 

In the United Kingdom, succession is governed by the Act of   Union of 1800, which reinstated the Act of Settlement of 1701  and the Bill of Rights of 1689.

 

These stated that Protestant heirs of Princess Sophia, grand    daughter of King James Ist only may become monarchs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Catholics, individuals who marry a Catholic or individuals born out of wedlock cannot remain in the line of succession.

In practice, the crown was passed from the monarch to the eldest son. If a monarch had sons, they took precedence over the daughters.  In the case of Elisabeth II, King George VI had no sons and the crown was handed down to his eldest daughter. In turn, the crown will be handed down to her eldest son, Prince Charles of Wales.  This meant that even though, the Princess Royal, Princess Ann, is older than her brothers Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, they come before her in the line of succession.

However, a law passed on March 26th 2015 has removed the male bias from the succession rules, which means that the future Princess of Cambridge will not lose her place in the line of succession even if she were to have one or more younger brothers.

The current line of succession is the following.

  1. Prince Charles, Prince of Wales
  2. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
  3. Prince George of Cambridge
  4. Princess (?) of Cambridge
  5. Prince Henry of Wales
  6. Prince Andrew, Duke of York
  7. Princess Beatrice of York
  8. Princess Eugenie of York
  9. Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
  10. James Mountbatten-Windsor, Viscount Severn
  11. Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor
  12. Princess Ann, the Princess Royal

Incidentally, thanks to the new law, both Prince George and his little sister will also be able to marry Catholics without losing their place in the line of succession.

 

 

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