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The Queen’s Birthday

April 14th 2021| Michael Mountford

The Queen’s Birthday

The Queen gets to celebrate two birthdays each year: her actual birthday on the 21st April and her official birthday (usually) on the second Saturday in June.

Official celebrations to mark Queen Elizabeth’s birthday have often been held on a day other than the actual birthday, particularly when the actual birthday has not been in the Summer.

King Edward VII, for example, was born on November 9th, but his official birthday was marked throughout his reign in either May or June when there was a greater likelihood of good weather for the Birthday Parade, also known as Trooping the Colour.

Below is a video from 2019’s Trooping The Colour ceremony and is a good resource to use within the classroom to show pupils what takes place during the event.

Trooping The Colour 2019

The Queen usually spends her actual birthday privately, but the occasion is marked publicly by gun salutes in central London at midday: a 62 gun salute at the Tower of London, a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park and a 21 gun salute in Windsor Great Park. In 2006, Her Majesty celebrated her 80th Birthday with a walkabout in the streets outside of Windsor Castle to meet well-wishers.

Classroom Activities

Royal Family Tree

Credit to BBC for creating this extensive Royal Family Tree

The Royal Family has a very extensive past and could provide a good segway into teaching how to read and create your own family tree. This activity would be a good way to teach pupils about the Monarchy as well as how to research their own family history.

Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II: ‘The Crowning Ceremony’ – 1953

Queen Elizabeth was 25 years old when she acceded to the throne in 1952, and she was formally crowned the following year.

Queen Elizabeth was not originally destined to become Queen. However, her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated in 1936, so it was left to his brother, the Queen’s father, George, to take up the reins. Elizabeth was 11 years old when her father was crowned King George VI. At this point, the whole course of her life changed. Prior to this, she was expected to take up a relatively minor royal role, but she would end up taking her place in history and steering the Royal Family into the 21st century. 

Decade Wheel

This is a great visual activity and involves creating a large circle of card, as big as you think necessary, perhaps with a picture of the Queen in the middle. Divide the circle into nine individual sectors and label each with the decade of the Queen’s life. Now either by finding pictures on the internet or drawing and colouring their own, make a collage of pictures of events from those decades, accompanied by a picture of the queen in that decade. The finished project could be displayed in the school entrance or hall.

History With a Royal Touch

The Queen is often seen marking the anniversaries of historical events but, given her rather long life, many of the events were ones that she experienced herself. Recently we have heard of what the Queen did during the 2nd World War as a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service but what were her experiences of other events in the history of the 20th and 21st centuries?

What did she do in the sixties during Beatlemania? Where was she when the Berlin Wall fell? Make use of the Queen’s experiences to help pupils look at historical events from a different perspective.

Choose a major event from the last 90 years. Find out what the Queen and the Royal Family were doing at the time. How did the events affect them? Did any of her children join the armed forces in a war? As an example, you could use the 2nd World War. The Queen was 13 years old at the start of the 2nd World War; how was she affected in those early days or during the Blitz? Did she stay in London or was she an evacuee?

Crown Craft

I think every child’s dream at one time or another is to be a King or Queen for a day. And what is a King or Queen without their crown!

A brilliant arts and craft activity that I’m sure every child will enjoy – making their own crowns. Something that is very individual, see who can make the most amazing paper and card crown. Take a look at this video below to get started.

Have a Great Day!

I hope you all have a wonderful day celebrating one of the Queen’s birthdays.

Make sure to tag us on social media with any photos from the day 🙂

If you have any great teaching ideas for this topic, feel free to comment below (they might even get added to the topic calendar!)

View all posts by: Michael Mountford
Categories: Topic Calendar
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