Happy birthdays, Queen Elizabeth

Today, Monday, 17 June, may be the public holiday with which the Cayman Islands celebrates Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday, but her real birthday happened two months ago. 

Crowds gathered Saturday in front of the Legislative Assembly building for the annual public ceremony marking the Cayman Islands’ official observance of the birthday of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.  

The ceremony began with Acting Governor Franz Manderson inspecting a parade made up of contingents from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, the Fire Service, Her Majesty’s Prison Service, the Girls Brigade, the Scouts and Cub Scouts, the Veterans Association and the Cadet Corps. 

The ceremony included presentations made to past recipients of Queen’s Honours, including Leonard Ebanks, Cora Grant-James, Harold Banks and Nicole Tyson-Petit. Missing from attendance was Francis Zelmalee Ebanks, who will receive her award on a later date.  

There were no new Queen’s Honours awardees this year. 

The date of the queen’s official birthday varies from country to country within the Commonwealth and in the overseas territories, although it is usually observed sometime around the end of May to the start of June, when the weather is generally better. 

The sovereign’s birthday was first officially marked in the UK in 1748. Since then, the date of the king or queen’s birthday has been determined according to royal proclamations issued by the sovereign or governor or by statute laws passed by the local parliament.  

The queen’s actual birthday is 21 April. She turned 87 this year. As well as having an official ceremony to mark her birthday, most Commonwealth countries also release a Birthday Honours List each year. 

In the UK, the queen’s official birthday is marked by the Trooping the Colour, also known as the Queen’s Birthday Parade. This year, the event was held in London on Saturday, 15 June.  

Trooping the Colour is carried out by troops from the Household Division (Foot Guards and Household Cavalry) on Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall, watched by the queen, members of the royal family, their guests and members of the public. 

The military ceremony dates back to the 18th century or earlier, when the flags, known as “the colours”, of the battalion were carried down the ranks so that they could be seen and recognised by the soldiers.  

During the ceremony, the queen is greeted by a royal salute and carries out an inspection of the troops. 

Queen Elizabeth II has attended the Trooping the Colour every year of her reign, except in 1955 when a national rail strike cancelled the parade. 

In the Caribbean, some islands and territories have already celebrated the Queen’s Birthday.  

The British Virgin Islands marked the day on 7 June and both Montserrat and Turks and Caicos held their birthday celebrations on 10 June. Anguilla celebrates it on 17 June, while Bermuda last observed the Queen’s birthday holiday in 2008.  

Another overseas territory, the Pitcairn Islands, where Fletcher Christian and the crew of mutiny ship The Bounty settled down, celebrated the monarch’s birthday on 8 June, and Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha marked it on the third Monday in April. 

Gibraltar also celebrates the queen’s birthday on 17 June. 

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The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Honour Guard was on hand to celebrate the Queen’s birthday in downtown George Town. – Photo: Taneos Ramsay

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Hundreds of people were on hand Saturday to celebrate the Queen’s birthday in downtown George Town. – Photo: Taneos Ramsay
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