Queen Elizabeth II turned 92 on 21 April 2018. It has always seemed absurd that Queenslanders acknowledge the birthday of Queen Elizabeth II at a completely different time to her actual birthday. Certainly a long weekend in June is a great way to start the winter snow season but when will Queen Elizabeth II be allowed to put up her feet?
Most 92 years olds are long retired, but not that trouper the Queen. My grandmother will be 92 later this year. She's a hardy soul but there's no way she would be up to the frantic pace needed to be a world leader!
The idea of celebrating the sovereign’s birthday was introduced in 1905. After Queen Victoria’s death in 1901 there was a call to remember her long reign. The result was the creation of Empire Day. On 24 May each year, Victoria’s birthday, an annual commemoration was held which was directed especially at school children to promote loyalty among the dominion countries of the British Empire. This day was celebrated by lighting fire-works in back-gardens and attending community bonfires.
In 1958, Empire Day was renamed Commonwealth Day. However, this is no longer celebrated within the Australian community and there is little public awareness of it..
Queen Elizabeth II is unlikely to abdicate. It is most likely she will stand by her promise to serve as monarch for the rest of her life. The only time she has suggested she may agree to abdicate is as a fictional character at the end of Sue Townsend’s brilliantly satirical novel, Queen Camilla in which the UK has elected a republican government and the Royal Family has been exiled.
Although the Queen’s Birthday public holiday is observed as a mark of respect to the sovereign there are never any public celebrations. Nothing actually happens. Perhaps this is the true metaphor for the purpose of monarchy in an egalitarian society?