The British Monarchy… still puzzling people after all these years

Queen Elizabeth II.

Plans are well under way for a plethora of patriotic street and garden parties as Britain and the Commonwealth prepare to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

THE timing of the Diamond Jubilee celebration is a bit of a puzzle. It’s four months after the anniversary of the Queen taking the throne and 59 years after her coronation in 1953.

The Queen has already spent more than 60 years as head of state. She ascended to the throne on February 6, 1952. But she wasn’t actually crowned until June 2, 1953, 59 years ago. So having the celebration in June 2012 seems like a strange cobbling together of the two anniversaries.

Of course, it’s not the only date deception in the Queen’s diary. Britain celebrates the Monarch’s “Official Birthday” on a Saturday, usually at the start of June, when in fact the Queen was born on April 21.  The royal website doesn’t specify why the Queen has two birthdays, but according to Wikipedia,  the official birthday was established so that people in the northern hemisphere would be able to celebrate in fine weather.

Sadly, by some meteorlogical accounts, Britain’s “monsoon season” comes in June and July, so I’m not convinced relying on warm June weather is the best course of action.

The Queen’s official birthday in other parts of the Commonwealth is held on different days. In Canada, Victoria Day, the Monday before May 25, is recognised in statute as the Queen’s Official Birthday. In many parts of Australia, the Queen’s Official Birthday is celebrated on the second Monday in June. New Zealand uses the same date as its antipodean neighbour. An official birthday is marked in Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha and was marked in Bermuda until 2009. Breaking from tradition, the Falkland Islands celebrate on the Queen’s actual birthday.

Got that? I bet you she doesn’t.

It means, the Queen, at 86, has celebrated approximately 483 birthdays. Not bad going.

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