LONDON (AP) – Queen Elizabeth II marked her official birthday on Saturday with the annual Trooping the Colour parade, a traditional display of British pageantry at its very best
About 1 400 soldiers in ceremonial scarlet coats and bearskin hats marched past the queen in a ceremony on Horse Guards Parade in Westminster. Royals taking part included Prince Charles, Prince William and his wife Kate, and Prince Harry and his wife Meghan – who appeared in her first public outing since giving birth to their son, Archie, to watch the birthday fly-past of military aircraft.
Baby Archie did not appear, but another young royal almost stole the queen’s limelight when he made his debut on Buckingham Palace’s balcony.
One-year-old Prince Louis, the youngest child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, waved frantically at the first of the helicopters in the show.
The queen marks her birthday twice a year – an official ceremony is always held in June, in hopes of holding the parade in good weather. Her actual birthday, on April 21, is usually celebrated with close family only.
Thousands of spectators lined the parade ground and gathered in nearby St. James’s Park to watch the spectacle in sparkling sunshine. They then walked down the road leading to Buckingham Palace, gathering at the gates to honour the monarch ahead of the fly-past, the punctuation mark of the annual event.
It’s been a big week for the monarch
Demonstrating the close link between the monarchy and the armed forces, she was the centre of ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, the invasion of France that marked the beginning of the end of the Nazis.
But if the 93-year-old sovereign was tired, it didn’t show. She waved and smiled as she emerged on the balcony and the crowd roared.
The ceremony originated from traditional preparations for battle. The colours – or flags – were “trooped”, or carried down the lines of soldiers, so they could be seen and recognised in battle. The regimental flag being paraded this year is from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.
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Today The Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined The Queen and members of The Royal Family at the annual Trooping the Colour, to celebrate Her Majesty’s official birthday. Trooping the Colour orginated from traditional preparations for battle and has commemorated the birthday of the sovereign for more than 250 years. In the 18th century, guards from the royal palaces regularly assembled to “troop” colours or flags down the rank, so they could be seen and recognised by the soldiers. In 1748, it was announced this parade would also mark the Sovereign’s official birthday. Trooping the Colour is performed by regiments of the British and Commonwealth armies for The Queen’s birthday parade, allowing them to pay a personal tribute to Her Majesty. Today over 1400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians came together on Horse Guards Parade in London in a great display of military precision, horsemanship and fanfare. The parade concludes with a 41-gun salute fired by The King’s Troop, following which The Queen leads members of The Royal Family back to the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch the Royal Air Force flypast display. Photos credit: PA
Author: ANA Entertainment