Just four weeks after her historic wedding to Prince Harry, Meghan Markle stepped out on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to enjoy the Trooping the Colour ceremony. But while the former actress appeared to have effortlessly fit into her new role as a duchess, it turns out that she had nevertheless broken an important royal rule.
Trooping the Colour is a pomp-filled pageant that takes place at the Queen’s London residence every June. The occasion is also intended to commemorate the monarch’s official birthday, even though Elizabeth II’s actual date of birth is April 21. By a quirk of royal history, however, she also has an annual ceremonial birthday in June.
And the luxury of having two birthdays means that the British sovereign gets to celebrate both at home and with her subjects. The tradition was begun by Elizabeth’s fifth great-grandfather, King George II, over 250 years ago. He came to the conclusion that the chilly weather on his actual November birthday was ill-suited to a big celebration. So, the 18th-century monarch gave himself a second birthday in the summertime, when the British climate would be a shade more welcoming for a large parade.