Patriotic households everywhere will be flying the flag for The Queen on 21st April as Her Majesty celebrates her 92nd birthday. The Queen normally celebrates her special day privately, although the event is marked by gun salutes held at midday in Central London and other gun salutes around the capital at Hyde Park, Windsor Great Park and the Tower of London. This year, there will also be a special musical celebration at the Royal Albert Hall. We’re raising a glass to the Queen as she cuts her birthday cake, so come and join us for some royal vocabulary!
The Queen’s two birthdays
The Queen actually has two birthdays each year. Her real birthday is on 21st April and her official birthday is traditionally celebrated on the third Saturday in June.
This tradition was started by George II in 1748 whose birthday was in November and so, due to winter weather, decided to celebrate officially in the summer.
The Sovereign’s official birthday is when the country marks the event in a spectacular day of celebration, called the Trooping of the Colour. Throughout history this has normally been in the summer to improve the likelihood of good weather.
The Queen’s birthday celebrations
On the 92nd birthday of Elizabeth II royal fans will be celebrating the occasion with street parties and other fun activities to honour one of the most regal events of the year!
The year before last saw a huge celebration as the Queen turned 90. The Queen visited the Royal Mail Windsor delivery office to mark the 500th anniversary of the Postal Service. She also visited Alexandra Gardens later in the day for a ceremony to officially open the new Bandstand.
On her 90th birthday, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh walked from Windsor Castle towards the Statute of Queen Victoria at the foot of Castle Hill, where Her Majesty unveiled a plaque marking the Queen’s Walkway.
The Queen’s Walkway is a special walking route around Windsor. It is four miles long and commemorates the Queen’s long reign.
In the evening, the Queen lit a beacon and viewed two further beacons being lit along Long Walk and at Copper Horse. In total, there were an incredible 900 beacons lit across the country to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday with many beacon-lighting events taking place.
The Queen’s birthday this year is set to be a much quieter affair. However, all patriotic people will still enjoy celebrating the special day by having a special meal, going out for a drink or simply singing the national anthem!
There is also set to be an extra special celebration for the Queen’s birthday this year…
A musical celebration at the Royal Albert Hall
For the Queen’s 92nd birthday this year, plans have been made by the Royal Commonwealth Society for a night of music and song at the Royal Albert Hall.
The evening will showcase contemporary music from artists from the commonwealth, including Sting, Kylie Minogue, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the BBC Concert Orchestra. The concert will be broadcast live on BBC One and BBC Radio 2.
The special musical celebration will take place following the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which is set to take place in London between 16th and 20th April. The summit will be attended by the leaders of all 53 Commonwealth members to discuss global issues.
The Queen will then host a dinner at Buckingham Palace before the Leaders’ Retreat at Windsor Castle.
Royal vocabulary for EFL lessons
For all EFL students, the Queen’s birthday is a good time to think about all that royal vocabulary. So settle down onto your throne, grab your crown, crack open a bottle of the most expensive Champagne you can find – and let’s go!
Here is a list of royal vocabulary that will not only be useful for use in EFL discussion classes, but is also an interesting resource and reference guide for those interested in the Royal Court and the British peerage system.
Royal vocabulary and royal-related phrases
Royalty – relating to royalty
Sovereign – the nation’s ruler / head of state
Monarch – the nation’s ruler
Elizabeth II – the current British Queen, daughter of George VI
Duke of Edinburgh – the current Queen’s husband
House of Windsor – the British Royal family since 1917
Your Majesty – title of address for the Queen
Your Highness – title of address for a royal person
Reign – royal power
Buckingham Palace – the Queen’s London home
Line of succession – the order by which royal people are expected to become Queen or King
Windsor Castle – the royal residence in Windsor, Berkshire
Union Jack – national flag of the United Kingdom
National Anthem – the song adopted as the official anthem for a nation
Corgi – the breed of the Queen’s dogs
Crown – a special tiara (formal headdress) worn by a monarch
Throne – a large, special chair where a monarch sits on formal occasions
Coronation – the ceremony where a new monarch is crowned
Abdication / to abdicate – to give up power / the throne
The Royal Court – the wider royal household, including family and attendants
British peerage – ranks of British nobility (people connected to the royal family) – hereditary titles
Queen (f) – the nation’s monarch
King (m) – the nation’s monarch
Prince (m) – member of the royal household, often son of the sovereign
Princess (f) – member of the royal household, often daughter of the sovereign
British peerage system
There are 5 hereditary ranks of British peerage, behind the Monarch and the Prince and Princesses of the royal household. These ranks are passed down through the generations and form a hierarchical structure of nobility.
For those who watched Downton Abbey on television, you will remember that Lord Grantham is an Earl and Lady Grantham a Countess.
Duke (m) / Duchess (f) – highest rank of British peerage
Marquess (m) / Marchioness (f) – 2nd rank of British peerage, ranking above an Earl but below a Duke
Earl (m) / Countess (f) – 3rd rank of British peerage, ranking above a viscount but below a marquess
Viscount (m) / Viscountess (f) – 4th rank of British peerage, ranking above a baron but below an Earl
Baron (m) / Baroness (f) – 5th rank of British peerage, the lowest peer ranking
These ranks all have the right to apply to sit in the House of Lords. There are two more ranks which are not British peers. The Baronet/Baronetess, which is hereditary, and the Knight/Dame which is an honour title and non-hereditary.
Baronet (m) / Baronetess (f) – hereditary title beneath Baron, but not a peer ranking
Knight (m) / Dame (f) – non-hereditary, title bestowed to honour an achievement
All Queen’s honours awards (including Damehoods and Knighthoods) are announced twice a year – in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June and in the New Year’s Honours List on the 1st January.
During the ceremony, the individual is ‘dubbed’ by the Queen, who will lay a sword blade on their right, then left shoulder.
Share your thoughts on the Queen’s birthday
What do think about the British royal family?
Do you support the concept of a monarchy in general?
Will you be celebrating the Queen’s birthday this week?
What other royal vocabulary should we include in our Queen’s birthday lesson?