On Saturday, The Queen, joined by her family and the rest of the country, celebrated her official birthday with the parade known as Trooping the Colour. Queen Elizabeth’s actual birthday falls on April 21, but as the weather is generally much nicer in June, the event is celebrated 2 months later. &
Usually held on the second Saturday in June, the Trooping combines military music, horses, guns and personnel into a breathtaking spectacle of pomp and pageantry. The event itself is based upon the centuries-old-tradition of trooping the colour in battle, as a point around which soldiers could rally. Each year, a different regiment is chosen to parade their flag in front of The Queen and receive the Royal Inspection and salute for the special occasion. This year, the honour was bestowed upon the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards.
The official birthday of the Monarch has been marked with a ceremony ever since 1748, during the reign of King George II, and has occurred annually since 1820. The only exceptions have been on occasions of bad weather and during periods of mourning.
The day began with various bands and soldiers marching down the Mall in full regalia. Although dressed in many different attires, the immense sea of uniforms combined brilliantly to create an amazing spectacle. Impressive chest plates glistened in the sun amongst a colourful array of helmets and plumes, all on display for Her Majesty.
Following the bands and soldiers, carriages carrying senior members of the Royal Family rode along the parade route to Horse Guards Parade. This year, The Duchess of Cornwall and The Duchess of Cambridge rode together in the first carriage.
Fresh from their honeymoon, the second carriage carried the newly married Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and also the Queen’s cousin, The Duke of Kent.
The third carriage carried Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, The Countess of Wessex and her lovely daughter, Lady Louise.
Following the senior royals, Queen Elizabeth made her grand entrance, riding in the Ascot Landau. The Ascot is the same carriage that The Duke and Duchess of Sussex rode from their wedding at St. George’s Chapel to Windsor Castle, just three short weeks ago. Over 7,500 guests were seated in stands along the parade route, and stood respectively, as Her Majesty arrived, the national anthem was played, and the Sovereign began her inspection of the ranks of troops amassed in front of her. Unfortunately, The Queen rode by herself in her carriage as The Duke of Edinburgh was not present. The Queen’s youngest son, The Earl of Wessex was also unable to join in the festivities, as he has been on a visit to China this past week.
Although Her Majesty may have been riding in her carriage by herself, she was by no means alone. She was accompanied by the royal colonels, each one on horseback. The heir to the throne, The Prince of Wales rode in his capacity as Colonel of the Welsh Guards. The Princess Royal rode in her position as Colonel of the Blues and Royals. The Duke of Cambridge was representing his role as Colonel of the Irish Guards.
This year’s Trooping marks the first time that The Duke of York rode on horseback in the parade, having just assumed the position of Colonel of the Grenadier Guards in December 2017. This post was previously held by Prince Andrew’s father, The Duke of Edinburgh. Coincidentally, the horse ridden by Prince Andrew for the Trooping, was named Elizabeth.
The colour was trooped first through the amassed ranks of soldiers, before the Guardsmen marched past the Queen. They marched in slow pace at first, followed by marching in quick time. Towards the end of the ceremony, the mounted soldiers and officers from the Blues and Royals and the Life Guards from the Household’s Cavalry Regiment rode past the Queen, which made quite a stunning sight.
Following the ceremony, The Queen and the Royal Family headed back to Buckingham Palace, where they gathered on the balcony to watch the RAF fly past. There were 23 aircraft that took part in the flyover, including aircraft from the Battle of Britain and WWII, modern jets and of course, the Red Arrows.
The newly married Duchess of Sussex made her first appearance on the palace balcony, curtsying as The Queen arrived back home. However, it was the younger members of the family that provided one of the most delightful and comical aspects of the day. It was such a joy to see their different personalities and their childish sense of humour. Prince George, Princess Charlotte and their cousins, Isla and Savannah Phillips stole the show, when Savannah decided that she had enough of George’s noises during ‘God Save the Queen’, so she covered the future King’s mouth with her hand to quiet him. The two shared quite a laugh over it! It looked to be an enjoyable and entertaining day for everyone that attended.
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