First Birthday as A Duchess

I enjoy keeping up with the British royals. Then, having watched Suits, seeing Meghan Markle join the fold was an added bonus!

Meghan Markle Birthday

Meghan’s first birthday as Duchess of Sussex this August prompted a great deal of media coverage. Some snippets:

  • She turned 37 this year on Aug. 4.
  • She spent the day at a friend’s wedding, where she had what was billed as a “wardrobe malfunction.” Stepping out of the car and waving she exposed a bit of a lacy bra and was later seen mingling with her shirt dress buttoned up a bit tighter.
  • As a Royal she is not allowed to have a big party. Only the reigning monarch gets the full fanfare (as the Queen did earlier this year).
  • She may also have to return gifts. Official guidelines read: “Gifts offered by private individuals living in the UK not personally known to the Member of the Royal Family should be refused where there are concerns about the propriety or motives of the donor or the gift itself.”
  • Prince Charless, Princess Beatrice, Princess Anne, and Lady Amelia Windsor are four other Royals who celebrate August birthdays.
  • None of these Royals would get the first bite of their birthday cake if the Queen was in attendance — she gets dibs!

Harry and Meghan had to return a total £7million worth of presents following their wedding.

Birthday Wishes

These prohibitions may be a bit more challenging for Meghan than your average 37-year-old. The American-born actress, raised by a single Mom, has said her mother told her to treat her birthday as if it were her “own personal New Year.”

Back when she was blogging, she wrote that birthdays are “your own chance to make resolutions just for yourself and what you prognosticate for the year ahead” and told readers she always wished for “more inspiration.”

Another article gave us a fuller quote from the now defunct blog site, noting that she wishes for: “More surprises, more adventure, more opportunities to grow, more days filled with giggles and cheeky jokes, more delicious meals, and more inspiration. Always more inspiration.”

I was particularly happy to see the longer list! Makes me feel a bit better about all the wants I have on my own birthdays! I will also, in October this year, add to my list, wishing that I could be as flexible as she proves to be in this photo!

 

Queen E. II Rocks Out on Her Birthday

Queen's birthday

Image source Reuters

Many Brits love their Queen, and the fact that she has two birthdays regularly gets a spike in news coverage at this time of year. I’ve mentioned this before — the two birthdays for the monarch goes back to 1748 when England’s King George II, born in November, wanted a fair weather birthday celebration. He decided to make his official birthday in June, and the habit stuck.

This year, though, to celebrate her 92nd birthday, Queen Elizabeth II was feted with a star-studded pop concert. We’re talking Sting, Tom Jones… In fact, the opening number for the night was his “It’s Not Unusual,” which I have long loved for the hilarity of the “oonga shaka” chorus.

Shaggy, Kylie Minogue, Shawn Mendes, and Ladysmith Black Mambo were also among those on the bill for the longest-reigning, living monarch’s shindig in London’s Albert Hall. The Queen took the throne, in case you aren’t old enough to remember, in 1952! At the end of the concert, Prince Charles, 70, took the stage to lead a rousing round of cheers for his mother, who at 92 is also the oldest living monarch.

Birthday Fundraising

The concert was a “break in tradition” for the Queen as she usually celebrates more privately (and maybe noshing on jellied corgis, per a previous blog). Many of the Royal family members joined her in the box for this rocking birthday bash, which was also televised and aired on BBC channels.

The Queen’s actual birthday of April 21 was also marked with an honorary gun salutes in Hyde Park and at the Tower of London and in the town of Windsor.

The concert was also a fundraiser for The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, so she gets to join my list also of people who use their birthdays to raise donations or show generosity to others. The charity, led by her grandson Harry, will “encourage young people to excel in areas like sports, education, health and the environment across the 53 Commonwealth countries.”

Queen's Birthday

Image source Reuters

Birthday Concert Just the Beginning

Of course, the concert is only one of the Queen’s birthday events. I mean, she’s really someone who knows how to keep the birthday going and going, In June, all of London will celebrate her “official” birthday at the Trooping the Colour, an annual military parade which will bring all the royals back to the balcony of the Palace (including, presumably, the by then newly married Henry and Meghan). 

According to the Royal Mint, “during the ceremony, trained and fully operational members of the Household Division greet The Queen with a royal salute. She then inspects the troops, riding past them in a carriage. After the massed bands have performed a musical ‘troop,’ the regimental colour, or flag, is carried down the ranks of troops. Chalk up one more advantage to being Queen — the picture below suggests this pomp and circumstance is probably a bit more exciting than a balloon bouquet!

Queen birthday

Trooping the Colour, from the Royal Mint

Birthdays at Buckingham

 

I know, I know. I probably appear to be quite the monarchist. But there have been so many news stories about the British royals and their June birthdays.

Prince Philip turned 95 on June 10 this year. In the midst of all of the birthday fetes he had to attend alongside his wife the Queen (who gets two birthdays, remember), he took the time to write a much-publicized letter back to an English constituent who’s mother shared his same birthday.

MP John McNally explained he didn’t actually expect an answer: “To be honest I never thought I would receive a response or at best I might get a polite letter from his office,” he told the Daily Mail. “But my mother has always talked about how they share the same birthday and I thought ‘why not.’”

A letter, dated 25 May 2016 and written on Buckingham Palace paper, arrived in his return mail:

“Dear Mr McNally,

I was interested to know that your mother shares the same birthday as I do. I have to say that the older I get, the less I appreciate birthdays. Please give your mother my best wishes.

Yours sincerely. Philip.”

The Prince is reportedly not a fan of birthdays — sort of like Prince last week! Philip refused to have any kind of official celebration himself on June 10 this year. Instead confining his big day to the briefest of mentions during the service at St Paul’s that very same day commemorating his wife’s 90th.

Queen Elizabeth was more in the spirit of celebration when she remarked to the gathering:

“To everyone here today, and to those holding street parties elsewhere, I would like to say thank you for the wonderful support and encouragement that you continue to give to me. I hope these happy celebrations will remind us of the many benefits what come through when people come together for a common purpose, as families, friends or neighbors…I much appreciate the kindness of all your birthday wishes and have been delighted and moved by the many cards and messages I have received.”

No explicit word though on whether the Queen or Prince Philip, who is more renowned for his sense of humor, appreciated the jelly replica of Buckingham Palace, complete with corgis, unveiled at one London celebration of the monarch’s birthday.

Apparently, the wobbly castle created by drinks brand Pimm’s took more than 200 man-hours to make and used 35 litres Pimm’s No 1 Cup and champagne.

I will have to get the recipe for a future #yummybday post. In the meantime, learn more about the fun the Queen enjoyed along with jelly castle.