Queen's Birthday

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Government_House,_Jersey,_Queen's_Birthday_reception_2005.jpg
In Jersey the Lieutenant-Governor hosts a reception for the public at Government House to mark the Queen's Official Birthday at which he announces recipients of Birthday Honours

The Queen's Birthday or Queen's Official Birthday is celebrated as a public holiday in several Commonwealth countries (usually Commonwealth realms). It is also celebrated in Fiji, now a republic. The exact date celebrated varies from country to country, and is usually not the current Queen's actual birthday, April 21. When the reigning British monarch is a King, then it is known as the King's Birthday or King's Official Birthday.

In the United Kingdom, the day is now the second Saturday in June. In terms of ceremony, it is marked in London by Trooping the Colour. Honours are announced in the Birthday Honours List. In British diplomatic missions the day is treated as the National Day of the United Kingdom. Although not a bank holiday (as it is not a working day), Civil Servants are given a "privilege day" at this time of year, which is merged with the late-May bank holiday to create a long weekend.

In other Commonwealth Realms it is sometimes a public holiday. Most Commonwealth Realms release a Birthday Honours List at this time.

Contents

Australia and New Zealand

Australia (except Western Australia, which has a Foundation Day a week earlier), has the Official Birthday on the second Monday in June. Western Australia observes Queen's Birthday on the last Monday in September — this will change to the first Monday in October in 2006. The only civic occasion of note associated with the day is the release of the "Queen's Birthday honours list", on which new members are inducted into the Order of Australia. It also serves as the opening weekend to Australia's snow season, though it is quite common for there to be no skiable snow until much later. One reason why the holiday survives, despite the lack of enthusiasm for the subject, is the lack of other public holidays and celebrations in Australia's winter months (as distinct from the Northern Hemisphere where Christmas and New Year's Day fall in the middle of winter).

In New Zealand, it is the first Monday in June, and owing to the climate being colder than Australia's, does usually serve as the opening weekend to the country's snow season.

Observing Queen's Birthday in Australia and New Zealand on the actual date of the Queen's birth would be impractical as it would be too close to ANZAC Day four days later and the Easter long weekend.

Canada

According to the legislation creating Victoria Day, Canada celebrates the Queen's official birthday in May. It is always celebrated on the Monday on or before 24 May in honour of Queen Victoria's birthday. For Canadians it is often considered the beginning of summer, when theme parks, outdoor pools and other summer activities are opened or begin.

Other territories

In the Falkland Islands, the actual day of the Queen's birth, April 21, is celebrated, as June is a winter month in the Islands.

It ceased to be a public holiday in Hong Kong after the territory's handover to the People's Republic of China in 1997.

Fiji also still celebrates the Queen's Official Birthday, along with the Prince of Wales's Birthday, even though the Queen ceased to be head of state in 1987.

See also

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