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Queen celebrates her birthday (again)

There are a lot of perks that come with being queen. Having two birthdays a year is one of them.

Queen Elizabeth II was born in April about 82 years ago, but she celebrated her official birthday Saturday with all the pomp and pageantry her position commands.

She and her husband, Prince Philip, presided over the Trooping the Color ceremony, which drew thousands of well-wishers to the Horse Guards Parade ground near Buckingham Palace.

Many of the men in the crowd wore formal clothes, while some of the women donned floral summer gowns and fancy hats for the gala annual celebration.

It was a day steeped in military tradition as the queen inspected a long line of troops wearing their trademark red tunics and bearskin hats.

She traveled in an open carriage dating to 1842 and was followed by other family members, including Prince Charles, who were on horseback.

Prince William and Prince Harry, who have both been active in the military this year, were there in uniform to watch the parade.

Prince Charles told the British Broadcasting Corp. that the Trooping the Color parade represents a tradition that should be preserved.

“It's splendidly British, and I hope it will go on for as long as possible because I think the world would be a sadder, drearier and grayer place without it,” he said.

British monarchs have traditionally celebrated their “official” birthdays in June, regardless of the date of their birth, so that outdoor celebrations can be held with reasonable hopes of good weather.

The custom dates to King Edward VII, who was born in November, when skies are often rainy and dark.

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