What time is the gun salute today? When Queen’s birthday tributes are and why we celebrate with a salute

The Queen celebrates her 96th birthday today, in what will be a traditionally low-key affair with close family members.

Every year the Queen marks her birthday twice; once on the anniversary of her date of birth, and then again with the “official” ceremonial occasion in June.

Her state birthday in June is usually marked with a large-scale public celebration, led by the glitzy spectacle of Trooping the Colour.

Her actual birthday is mostly reserved for private celebrations, though it is marked by gun salutes in some of the country’s most famous parks.

The Royal Family’s official Twitter account marked the occasion by sharing a picture of the Queen aged two.

“Then, in 1928, it was never expected she would be Queen, and this year Her Majesty is celebrating her Platinum Jubilee – a first in British history,” the tweet said.

Royal Windsor Horse Show released a new image of the Queen alongside two of her white fell ponies taken at Windsor Castle last month.

The new photo released of the Queen (Photo: Reuters)

What time are the gun salutes for the Queen’s birthday?

There are three gun salutes that mark the Queen’s birthday; a 41-gun salute in Hyde Parkat 21-gun salute in Windsor Great Park and a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London.

The Hyde Park and Windsor salutes both start at midday.

The public is invited to attend both events. Children at the Windsor event, which takes place on the Long Walk outside Windsor Castle, may be given the opportunity to fire the ceremonial cannon. Families wishing to be involved are advised to arrive by 11.50am.

The Royal Parks have advised dog walkers to avoid Hyde Park around midday due to the loud noise.

The Tower of London salute will take place at 1pm, and can be viewed from Tower Hill. However, people with tickets to the Tower of London can secure a closer view.

The Wharf closes at least an hour before the gun salute, and there is no access to parts of the Wharf during the set-up and duration of the gun salute.

You can buy Tower of London tickets here.

Why does the Queen have two birthdays?

The convention of an official monarch’s birthday has been in place since 1748, during the reign of King George II.

George’s birthday fell in November, but he decided to change it so he could mark the occasion with a large-scale public celebration during the warmer months.

He made the decision to combine his celebration with Trooping the Colour, an annual military parade in the summer.

The Queen initially marked her “official” birthday on the second Thursday of June, the same day as her father, King George VI.

However, she changed it to its current position – the second Saturday of June – in 1959, seven years into her reign.

Technically, she actually has a few more birthdays, with some Commonwealth nations celebrating at different times.

In the majority of Australia, where the Queen is head of state, there is a public holiday on the second Monday in June, but Western Australia celebrates in September or October. In New Zealand it is the first Monday in June, and in Canada it is in May.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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