Happy birthday, Meghan Markle! The duchess turns 37 on Saturday, and she’ll spend the occasion — her first as a royal — celebrating love.
On August 4, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will attend the wedding of Charlie Van Straubenzee, one of Prince Harry’s best friends (where Harry will serve as best man), with Prince William and Kate Middleton in attendance. It’s the second wedding for Harry and Meghan as a married couple — in June, they were guests at the Lincolnshire-based nuptials of Celia McCorquodale, Harry’s cousin, where Meghan wore a $5,490 blue-and-white Oscar de la Renta dress.
Last year, for Meghan’s 36th birthday and three months before their engagement, Harry whisked her off to Botswana, a country that’s significant to the couple — in 2016, they traveled to the African country after only two dates (“We camped out with each other under the stars, sharing a tent and all that stuff. It was fantastic,” Harry told Town & Country), and it’s where the prince purchased the center diamond for Meghan’s engagement ring.
Meghan’s birthday is also bittersweet for the entire monarchy — August 4 is the birthdate of Queen Elizabeth’s mother, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, aka, the Queen Mother, who in 2002 passed away in her sleep at age 101.
Surprisingly, royal birthdays aren’t necessarily a huge deal, according to royal expert Kelly Lynch, managing editor of Dailybreak. “The monarchy is so public in their daily lives that when it comes to birthdays, they often celebrate casually and privately,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
However, 92-year-old Queen Elizabeth celebrates her birthday on two separate occasions each year. The first is on April 21, the day she was born in 1926, an event honored with three-gun salutes and a combined 124 firearms. This year, Her Majesty also threw a rager at Royal Albert Hall with guests Kylie Minogue, Shaggy, Sting, and Shawn Mendes.
The queen’s “official birthday” as a monarch is on the second Saturday of June during the Trooping the Colour ceremony, a military parade involving 1,400 soldiers, 200 horses, and 400 musicians. According to Time, the tradition began in 1748, when King George II, annoyed with the gloomy weather during his November birthday month, gifted himself a summer festivity with all the trimmings.
Perhaps the queen is celebrating for two — according to Lynch, 97-year-old Prince Philip, Elizabeth’s husband of more than 70 years, would prefer his June 10 birthday go unnoticed. “He’s a private person and doesn’t like the attention,” says Lynch.
With pretty deep pockets to draw from — the queen alone reportedly has a net worth of $485 million — family members may often be stumped for gift ideas. For her 90th birthday party, Harry reportedly treated his grandmother to a ventriloquist performance.
And grandchildren Prince George, 5, and Princess Charlotte, 3, went DIY last year. “It’s quite hard to know what to give the queen for her 91st birthday,” William told BBC Radio 1. “Yeah we’ve tried making a few things. Now [with] the great-grandchildren around you see they can make stuff and that goes down really well. It doesn’t matter what it looks like. It just goes down really well. You stick to those sorts of presents. … [George is] very good at arts and crafts.”
Harry used to be a playboy (strip poker, anyone?), but he keeps his September 15 birthday casual. For his 21st birthday, Harry, now 33, spent the day “in a ditch in the middle of Wales,” executing military exercises, followed by “a beer in the evening,” reported People. When he turned 29, he hung with ex-girlfriend Cressida Bonas and bestie Guy Pelly, and for his 32nd — right after he started dating Meghan — he headed to Balmoral Castle in Scotland with his cousin, Princess Eugenie.
Last year, Harry “quietly celebrated his birthday” one week early in order to spend time with Meghan, who was filming Suits on his day. A source told E! News, “Harry doesn’t like to make a fuss of birthdays so he liked that it was just the two of them. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be a huge thing with a group of friends.”
This year, Kate Middleton’s January 9 birthday fell one day after Charlotte started school and while Kate was heavily pregnant with Prince Louis. “She will be spending the day privately,” Kate’s communication secretary told Hello! Online.
Although Will and Kate started dating in 2003, they didn’t spend her birthday together — at least publicly — until 2009, when she turned 27. For the celebration, William slept at the Middleton family home, and according to PopSugar his car parked in their driveway was raised eyebrows.
When Kate turned 30, she (accompanied by Will) graced a premiere of the film War Horse, wearing a black lace gown by Alice Temperley. And in 2013, while Kate was pregnant with George, William took the entire Middleton family — Kate, Pippa, James, and parents Michael and Carole — to Cirque du Soleil London.
Lynch rejects speculation that William spoils the duchess. “Other than the occasional piece from Kate’s favorite jeweler, Kiki McDonough, William doesn’t shower her with extravagant gifts,” Lynch tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
This year, Meghan gifted her future sister-in-law a “thoughtful” gift, reported the Sun: “Meg had bought Kate a small birthday present — a very smart leather-bound ‘dream diary’ for her thoughts and ideas which Kate loved.”
Prince William’s fanciest birthday celebration went down in 2003, when the future king turned 21. According to the Daily Mail, three hundred guests gathered at Windsor Castle for an Out of Africa-themed soiree — with a matching dress code — and enjoyed a Botswanan band.
“I thought it would be quite fun to see the family out of black tie and get everyone to dress up,” William said, according to the Telegraph. “My grandmother may be slightly apprehensive as to what she’s going to wear, and what’s going to happen, but she’s very much looking forward to it. She’s very positive toward the whole thing.”
When Will turned 30, Kate invited their friends on a boat ride off Anglesey, in Wales, according to People. “For most 30-year-olds, the last thing they would want to do is freeze themselves on a wet weekend in Wales,” a source told the Sun. “But this is typical of William.”
This year, William spent his June 21 birthday speaking at a rehab center, and the day was emotional — on that day the royal turned 36, the same age as his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, when she was killed in a Paris car crash in 1997.
Prince George and Princess Charlotte were presented to the world only hours after their respective births, with their proud parents posing for photos on the steps of St. Mary’s Hospital, so obviously, their birthdays are a huge deal.
For Charlotte’s May 2 and George’s July 22 birthdays, the family releases official portraits, shot by Kate herself. And in private, they celebrate with family and friends.
This year, when George turned 5, Will and Kate reportedly went big. “Kate is organizing a lavish $100,000 birthday party for George in the gardens of Kensington Palace,” a source told Life & Style ahead of the celebration. “Kate doesn’t always spoil her kids like this, but she wants George’s 5th to be a day to remember!”
“There will be lots of toy cars, like mini Ferraris, for George and his friends to drive around the gardens in,” the source said. “There will be hundreds of balloons and a huge Lego area where the kids can build. And Kate also plans to set up a little fairground and a bouncy house.”
The details of Charlotte’s birthday celebration weren’t publicized this year (it fell only nine days after the birth of little brother Prince Louis), but last year during a royal engagement Kate revealed that the princess had a “little party” and sang “Happy birthday” to herself. This year, Charlotte ate cake with her classmates at Willcocks Nursery School, reported Hello!
On July 1, William and Harry’s late mother, Diana, would have turned 57, and her birthday is still celebrated today by fans and certain members of the royal family.
This year on Diana’s birthday, Harry and Meghan hit a polo match, and in 2017, the men, along with Kate, George, and Charlotte, visited Diana’s grave in Althorp. Diana’s family was also present for the private service.
According to Tina Brown, author of The Diana Chronicles, Diana spent her last birthday, in 1997, showered with 90 bouquets of flowers and received a phone call from Harry, who sang “Happy birthday.”
Hours later, Diana, fresh off her divorce from Will and Harry’s father, Prince Charles, was the guest of honor at a Chanel-sponsored dinner at the Tate Gallery in London, and according to Tatler she partied with designer Philip Treacy, Iman, and Steve Martin.
Prince Charles has a love-hate relationship with his November 14 birthday. “He tends to acknowledge only the milestone birthdays,” says Lynch. The future king actually celebrated his 70th birthday six months early this year, with a May garden party at Buckingham Palace. According to People, the gathering was one of several in Charles’s honor.
It was also Meghan and Harry’s first appearance as a married couple, and it’s where the duchess was first seen wearing pantyhose (a staple among female members of the monarchy). There was a brief break from protocol when a bee swarmed Harry at the podium, sending Meghan and Charles’s wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, into hysterics.
On his 65th birthday, Charles and Camilla visited Sri Lanka, where he was presented with five different cakes, one of which was carrot-flavored. That day, while he was sightseeing, Charles’s jacket almost caught fire when he stood too close to an oil burner with 65 lamps, reported the Express. After his aides pulled his jacket out of harm’s way, he said, “How quickly did you put me out?
The prince has received strange offerings for his birthday. When he turned 60, his cake was decorated like a bus pass, symbolizing the senior citizens’ public transportation discount. And to match his age, Camilla gave her husband 60 different birthday gifts, including a pair of boots and a fly-fishing rod, according to the Guardian.
Very funny moment as The Duke of Sussex, watched by his new bride, gets bombed by bumblebee as he gives a warm and witty speech to mark Prince Charles’s 70th birthday pic.twitter.com/HTOeZzIJmr
— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) May 22, 2018
Princess Beatrice of York, 29, and Princess Eugenie of York, 28, are granddaughters of the queen and the children of Prince Andrew (Prince Charles’s brother) and Sarah, Duchess of York, aka “Fergie.”
The women have spent their entire lives in the public eye, with Beatrice recently telling Teen Vogue that public scrutiny is tough to handle. “It’s hard to navigate situations like these because there is no precedent, there is no protocol,” she said. “We are the first: we are young women trying to build careers and have personal lives, and we’re also princesses, and doing all of this in the public eye.”
Their birthdays have been spectacles — in 2006, Beatrice threw a $400K party to celebrate her August 8 birth, per the Daily Mail, with 400 bottles of champagne and performances from the Royal Philharmonic and the burlesque group Circo Rum Ba Ba. The evening was so extravagant that a royal spokesperson clarified, “The bill is being paid for privately. None of this is being funded by taxpayers.”
Eugenie, who in October will marry boyfriend Jack Brooksbank, threw a wilder party for her March 23 birthday in 2015. Two hundred guests wearing costumes from Disney movies (Eugenie dressed as Snow White and was flanked by seven hired “dwarfs”), The Wizard of Oz, and Super Mario Bros. descended upon Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park, with passports in hand, as requested by the birthday girl.
“Some guests threw up outside in the grounds,” a source told the Daily Mail. “It became extremely raucous by about 2 a.m., with people literally falling over drunk.”
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