Prince William is ringing in his birthday! The Prince of Wales, who turned 41 on Wednesday, had his big day marked with a chorus of bells at Westminster Abbey in London — in a rare gesture limited to a reduced number of royal family members due to a change in recent years.
“Wishing HRH The Prince of Wales a very happy birthday today! The Abbey bell ringers are ringing 541 changes of Stedman Caters followed by a course of London Surprise Royal in celebration,” Westminster Abbey wrote on Twitter along with a video of the musical honor, which rang out at 1 p.m. local time.
Wishing HRH The Prince of Wales a very happy birthday today!— Westminster Abbey (@wabbey) June 21, 2023
The Abbey bell ringers are ringing 541 changes of Stedman Caters followed by a course of London Surprise Royal in celebration. pic.twitter.com/WcLuYQ3V3j
Prince William had the Westminster Abbey bells rung for his birthday back in 2019.
Although Westminster Abbey was known for ringing its bells to celebrate the birthdays of numerous senior members of the royal family, the tradition has changed amid financial issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before 2020, the bells marked the birthdays of 12 royals. Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and their four children — then now-King Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward— all receive the honor, as did Charles’ wife, Camilla. Prince William, Kate Middleton and their kids — Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis — completed the list.
However, when Westminster Abbey announced their bell-ringing schedule for 2022, it was revealed that the bells would only mark the birthdays of Queen Elizabeth and Charles.
Following Queen Elizabeth’s death in September, Westminster Abbey once again changed whose birthdays would be marked with the bells. In January for her 41st birthday, Princess Kate received the honor.
The Abbey — where Kate married William in 2011 — shared a video at the time of the bells ringing on Twitter. “The Abbey bells are ringing to celebrate the birthday of The Princess of Wales,” officials tweeted with a red balloon emoji, sharing footage of the music and the hashtag #HappyBirthdayHRH.
According to Westminster Abbey’s website, the bell tradition for the royal family’s birthdays will continue with Camilla, who is stated to receive the honor next for her birthday on July 17. The bells will also ring for King Charles on his birthday on November 14 as well as for his Accession Day on September 8, which will mark the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s death.