Queen Celebrates 'Official' -- Not Real -- Birthday Britain's monarch, Queen Elizabeth, celebrates her official birthday Saturday -- except it's not really her birthday. Her actual birthday is April 21st. Host Guy Raz talks with CNN European Correspondent Richard Quest to find out exactly why the Queen celebrates two birthdays.

Queen Celebrates 'Official' — Not Real — Birthday

Queen Celebrates 'Official' -- Not Real -- Birthday

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Britain's monarch, Queen Elizabeth, celebrates her official birthday Saturday — except it's not really her birthday. Her actual birthday is April 21st. Host Guy Raz talks with CNN European Correspondent Richard Quest to find out exactly why the Queen celebrates two birthdays.

(Soundbite of music)

GUY RAZ, host:

Soccer wasn't the only thing on the minds of Englishmen today. Crowds lined the streets around Buckingham Palace in London to celebrate the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. Official being the operative word here, because the queen actually turned 84 back in April.

Now, if you're confused, so was the State Department. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mistakenly sent America's official birthday greeting to her majesty last week.

Now if there's one person who can help sort out the confusion, it's Richard Quest. He's the host of "Quest Means Business" on CNN. And he joins me via Skype from London.

Now, Richard, what's the deal? Why does she get two birthdays?

Mr. RICHARD QUEST (Host, "Quest Means Business"): This is a fascinating piece of royal (unintelligible) and trivia. It goes back several hundred years and it really resulted to the birthday parade, the Trooping of the Colour, this massive and very glamorous and very (unintelligible) military parade that takes place on the (unintelligible) birthday. But what they discovered a couple of hundred years ago is that they couldn't guarantee good weather.

RAZ: Ah.

Mr. QUEST: It wasn't convenient to have this big Trooping of the Colour with the bands and the soldiers and the army and they all march up and down. And so what they did was they came up with this idea of an artificial, an official birthday.

So, for example, Edward VII's birthday was in November, but the official birthday was now, of course, in June.

RAZ: What does she do on her real birthday? Does she have, you know, cake and blow out candles?

Mr. QUEST: Well, I asked the palace exactly that and they gave me the traditional answer - they give whenever you go too far that they do not discuss anything to do with the queen's personal or private life.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. QUEST: Now, I said to them, how can it be personal and private?

RAZ: Richard, here's a crazy thing. I mean, Australia observes the queen's birthday on the second Monday in June except for Western Australia where the governor decides a date each year. And then in Canada, they mark it on a Monday on or before May 24th.

Mr. QUEST: Can anyone really explain all this...

RAZ: Right.

Mr. QUEST: ...in any form of...

RAZ: No.

Mr. QUEST: ...rationale...

RAZ: Yeah.

Mr. QUEST: ...understanding?

RAZ: That's right. Can you?

Mr. QUEST: Of course not.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. QUEST: We've been doing it for hundreds of years. If there's any rationality to it, all of this nonsense would have gone out the window a long time ago.

RAZ: I mean, don't people think this is weird, you know, that she gets all these birthdays around the world?

Mr. QUEST: Ninety-nine percent of the British people probably don't give it a moment's pause even on the day of the official birthday. Yes, I think a lot of people know that the queen has two birthdays and they know there's some official reason for it. But, you know, people go out in the street saying, hello, (unintelligible), have you heard it's the queen's official birthday? No. Oh, happy birthday, dear maj. Not a bit of it. This is one of these things where the tourists line up and watch the parade, the military does their bit because they've been doing it for centuries and the Queen goes out and probably has a nice cup of tea.

RAZ: Yeah. On a day like today, you got the Queen's birthday versus World Cup soccer. Who wins out?

Mr. QUEST: Are you mad?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. QUEST: In this country today, there is no contest. The - I suspect in their hearts of hearts, although we'll never know, some of the younger members of the Royal family will have been thinking, to hell with it, to hell with it. We want to go over and watch the footie. There is no question that today it is the football or the soccer, as you insist on calling it, that will be the most important event taking place in the U.K.

RAZ: That's Richard Quest in London. He's the host of "Quest Means Business" on CNN International.

Richard, thank you so much.

Mr. QUEST: Thank you. Happy birthday.

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