On 14 November 2023 His Majesty King Charles III will celebrate his 75th birthday. Born at 9:14pm on 14 November 1948 weighing 7lb 6oz, Charles Philip Arthur George is the first-born son of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Late Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Traditionally, British monarchs have celebrated their birthdays twice a year. Each year, Aotearoa New Zealand observes King’s Birthday as a public holiday (formerly Queen’s Birthday). The commemoration of the monarch’s birthday is always observed in June, when New Zealanders are treated to a winter break thanks to the timing of the holiday in the northern hemisphere. This is to increase the probability of good weather for the Trooping the Colour parade in the United Kingdom.
Trooping the Colour, also known as the King’s (or Queen’s) Birthday Parade, has marked the reigning British monarch’s birthday since 1748. ‘Colour’ refers to the regimental flags and insignia displayed by British soldiers to provide a rallying point on the battlefield. King Charles celebrated his first on 17 June 2023. The King rode in the parade on horseback, the first time a monarch has done so in 37 years. The parade took place with fanfare as 1,400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians performed for the Royal Family and the public. It also included a showcase of approximately 70 military aircraft that presented a thrilling six-minute flypast.
The tradition was started by King George II in 1748 who moved his birthday celebration to coincide with the annual military parade. George II thought the public wouldn’t want to celebrate in November. William, Prince of Wales, was born on 21 June, so it will be interesting to see if he continues the tradition of two official birthdays when he becomes King.