Anniversary messages

Each year, thousands of birthday and wedding anniversary cards are sent to people celebrating significant birthdays and wedding anniversaries.

Introduction

The delivery of these messages is arranged by the Anniversaries Office at Buckingham Palace, continuing a tradition which goes back to 1917.

Cards are sent to those celebrating their 100th and 105th birthday and every year thereafter, and to those celebrating their diamond wedding (60th), 65th, 70th wedding anniversaries and every year thereafter. 

Birthday Messages

Only current citizens of His Majesty’s Realms (countries where The King is Head of State) or UK Overseas Territories are eligible to receive messages. Click on 'eligible countries' in the menu for a comprehensive list.

The Centenarian Team at the Department for Work and Pensions notify the Anniversaries Office of those approaching their birthday to ensure everyone receives a message, so it is not necessary to make an application. However, if you wish to apply or for further information, please download the form below or contact the Anniversaries Office.

You can download an application form and FAQs here:

Birthday Form

Alternatively you can apply online.

Cards are sent to those celebrating their 100th and 105th birthday and every year thereafter. Their Majesties’ congratulatory messages consist of a card containing a personalised message and are sent via Royal Mail.

Please note - unfortunately the Anniversaries Office are unable to accept applications made via courier.

Wedding Anniversary Messages

Only current citizens of His Majesty’s Realms (countries where The King is Head of State) or UK Overseas Territories are eligible to receive messages. Click on 'eligible countries' in the menu for a comprehensive list.

Wedding anniversary messages are not arranged automatically and the Anniversaries Office must receive an application for a card to be sent. Please note that applications are not accepted any sooner than 5 weeks before the anniversary date.

You can download an application form and FAQs here:

Wedding Form

Alternatively you can apply online.

Cards are sent to those celebrating their diamond wedding (60th), 65th, 70th wedding anniversaries and every year thereafter. Their Majesties’ congratulatory messages consist of a card containing a personalised message and are sent via Royal Mail.

Please note - unfortunately the Anniversaries Office are unable to accept applications made via courier.

History

The tradition of sending a message of congratulations to those celebrating their 100th birthday and 60th wedding anniversaries began with King George V. A message from 1917 reads: 

'His Majesty's hope that the blessings of good health and prosperity may attend you during the remainder of your days.' 

Originally, congratulatory messages were sent as telegrams, though the format of messages has changed over the years, reflecting the developing tastes and fashions of the times, and changes in the postal system.

Special stories

From time to time, The Queen sent unique anniversary messages to mark special occasions. 

For 1997 only, The Queen sent messages of congratulations to all those who were married in the same year as Her Majesty, to mark their golden wedding anniversaries, and in 2007 over 18,000 couples celebrating their diamond wedding anniversaries received a specially-worded joint congratulatory message from The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh.

Occasionally, messages have been sent to well-known or unusual recipients, perhaps the most famous of which was Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, who received an official 100th birthday greeting from her daughter in 2000. 

 

The oldest ever recipient of a message from The Queen was a Canadian gentleman, who reached the age of 116 in December 1984.

 

The former ballerina Dame Ninette de Valois received a message wishing her 'a very happy day' in June 1998. 

In May 2002, an event in Israel was held to celebrate Israel's 600 centenarians, inspired by the custom of The Queen's birthday messages. A message from The Queen was sent to the guests, saying:

'I am delighted to be able to send my very best wishes on the occasion of this morning's celebration to honour the centenarians of Israel.'

Eligible countries

Only current citizens of Commonwealth realms (countries where The King is Head of State) or UK Overseas Territories are eligible to receive messages.

Realms:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Grenada
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Solomon Islands
  • St. Christopher and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Tuvalu
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland



UK Overseas Territories:

  • Anguilla
  • Bermuda
  • British Antarctic Territory
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Falkland Islands
  • Gibraltar
  • Montserrat
  • Pitcairn Group of Islands 
  • St. Helena and its dependencies 
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • Sovereign Base Areas of Cyprus (air bases)
  • Turks and Caicos Islands

     

Applications for Australian, Canadian or New Zealand residents

Applications for residents of Australia, Canada and New Zealand should be sent to the relevant Governor-General, who, as The King's personal representative in these countries, arranges for these messages to be sent. Contact details are as follows:

Australia 

His Excellency the Governor-General 

Government House 

Canberra 

Australian Capital Territories 2600 

Australia 

Fax: (0061) 2 6281 3760 

Website: www.gg.gov.au

Canada 

His Excellency the Governor-General 

Rideau Hall 

1 Sussex Drive 

Ottawa 

Ontario K1A 0A1 

Canada 

Fax: (0016) 1 3990 7636 

Website: www.gg.ca

New Zealand 

His Excellency the Governor-General 

Government House 

Wellington 

New Zealand 

Fax: (006) 4 4389 5536 

Website: www.dia.govt.nz

Frequently asked questions

1. Which anniversaries/birthdays does The King send congratulatory messages for?

The King sends messages of congratulations for Diamond (60th), 65th and Platinum (70th) wedding anniversaries and every year thereafter.  His Majesty also arranges messages for 100th, 105th birthdays and every year thereafter.

2. Can a message be sent after the anniversary/birthday has passed?

It is possible to receive a belated message up to six months after the event. Unfortunately, it is not possible to arrange a message for an event which took place more than six months previously.  However, it may be possible to arrange a message for the anniversary/birthday the following year - an application should be made as usual, three weeks before the next anniversary/birthday.

3. How soon can I apply for a message from The King?

The Anniversaries Office accepts postal applications for wedding and birthday messages no sooner than three weeks before the celebration.  (A two week extension can be allowed for holiday periods i.e Christmas and Easter).  It is possible to apply online up to 5 weeks before.

4. I am applying for an anniversary message and cannot supply a copy of the marriage certificate.  Can I still apply without it?

If you cannot supply a copy of the marriage certificate, you must contact the appropriate General Register Office who can search for the marriage details and confirm them directly with the Anniversaries Office.  Contact details can be found on the application form.

5. I am applying for a birthday message and cannot supply a copy of the birth certificate. Can I still apply without it?

If you cannot supply a copy of the birth certificate and the celebrant is in receipt of a state pension, you can send the completed form to the Anniversaries Office who will check the details with the Department for Work and Pensions.

6. The celebrant(s) has/have received a message before.  Do I need to apply again?

In order for the Anniversaries Office to send a message it is necessary for them to receive a application.  You can do this by completing and returning the appropriate application form.  If the celebrant(s) has/have received a message before it would not be required to provide documentary evidence on this occasion.

7. Can the message be sent to a different address?

This is a personal message from The King and must be sent directly to the celebrant(s) at their home address and not presented. If the celebrant(s) will be away from home, the card may be sent to where they are staying only.

8. Can the message be sent to arrive before the anniversary/birthday?

It is possible to request a message be delivered up to a maximum of 5 days before the event.

9. The celebrant(s) live(s) overseas.  Can I still apply for a message? (Excluding Australia, Canada and New Zealand)

His Majesty only sends messages to people who are current citizens of Her Realms and UK Overseas Territories.  It would therefore be necessary for you to supply the Anniversaries Office with proof of the celebrant(s) British Nationality (i.e A photocopy of a current or recent British Passport).

10. The celebrant(s) live(s) in Australia, Canada, or New Zealand.  What do I need to do?

It may be possible for residents of Australia, Canada or New Zealand to receive a message of congratulations from The King.  It is necessary for you to arrange this through His Majesty’s representative, the Governor-General.  Please call the Anniversaries Office for contact details.   

11. The celebrants now use a different surname to the one stated on the marriage certificate. Do I need to provide proof?

If the couple’s surname has changed since their marriage, is it essential for you to provide proof of their name change. This can be in the form of a copy of the Deed Poll or copy of the London Gazette entry (www.london-gazette.co.uk). If no official documentation can be found to support the name change, a congratulatory message can still be arranged in the name as stated on the marriage certificate.

12. How much does it cost to arrange a message from His Majesty?

No charge is made by Buckingham Palace to send a message of congratulations from The King, however, there may be a fee when applying with the records office. 

13. The certificate I have copied is too long for one sheet of A4 paper.  Will it be accepted in two halves?

It is acceptable for the Anniversaries Office to receive the certificate copy in two halves or on A3 paper.  However, please ensure you have copied the left hand side of the certificate stating the marriage/birth place and date along with the celebrant(s) name(s).

14. Is it possible to arrange an anniversary/birthday message to be sent posthumously?

It would not be appropriate for The King to send a congratulatory message when a celebrant has passed away.

15. How will I know if my application has been received?

The Anniversaries Office will send a letter or email confirmation when the application has been processed.

For any further queries not listed above, please call the office on 0207 930 4832.

 

 

Related content

Feature

The Queen's Green Canopy

A living legacy of over three million trees planted across the United Kingdom in honour of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The Queen's Green Canopy
Press release 08 September 2022

A statement from Buckingham Palace

Read more

A message from The Queen to the Governor General and the people of Canada

I mourn with all Canadians at this tragic time.

07 September 2022

A message from The Queen to the President of Pakistan

The United Kingdom stands in solidarity with Pakistan as you recover from these terrible events.

29 August 2022

A message of congratulations from The Queen to the England Women's Football Team

You have all set an example that will be an inspiration for girls and women today, and for future generations.

31 July 2022
Feature

Commonwealth Games 2022

Keep updated with the latest Commonwealth Games news

The Queen's message for the 2022 Commonwealth Games

My warmest thanks go to all those who have worked so hard to ensure the success of this particularly special sporting event, and I wish each athlete and team every success

28 July 2022

A message of condolence from The Queen following the death of former Prime Minister Abe of Japan

I wish to convey my deepest sympathy and condolences to his family and to the people of Japan at this difficult time.

08 July 2022
Media pack

Financial reports 2021-22

The Royal Household today published its annual financial statement, the Sovereign Grant Report, for the financial year 2021-22. The Sovereign Grant is the funding provided to...

Feature

Holyrood Week 2022

Read more about this year's Holyrood Week

A thank you message from Her Majesty The Queen following the Platinum Jubilee weekend

My heart has been with you all; and I remain committed to serving you to the best of my ability.

05 June 2022

A Platinum Jubilee message from The Queen

I continue to be inspired by the goodwill shown to me, and hope that the coming days will provide an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved during the last...

01 June 2022
Feature

The Platinum Jubilee weekend

A day-by-day run through of Jubilee events
Press release 06 May 2022

70 facts to mark The Queen's Platinum Jubilee

Read more

A message from The Queen to President of South Africa following the floods in KwaZulu-Natal province

I am deeply saddened to hear of the tragic loss of life and destruction caused by the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal province. My thoughts are with all those who have lost...

14 April 2022

The Queen's Commonwealth Day Message 2022

In these testing times, it is my hope that you can draw strength and inspiration from what we share, as we work together towards a healthy, sustainable and prosperous future...

14 March 2022
News

Commonwealth Day 2022

14 March 2022

The Queen's Accession Day message

I hope this Jubilee will bring together families and friends, neighbours and communities.

05 February 2022
Feature

Resources for the Platinum Jubilee

Images, links and other resources for those marking the Jubilee online or in print.
News

Accession Day 2022

01 February 2022