Trooping The Colour Marks The Queen’s Official Birthday
Even in a year featuring once-in-a-lifetime Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Trooping the Colour ceremony has a unique place. A wonderful display of traditions, the it is an enactment of the traditional preparations for battle when the Colours (flags of the regiments) were paraded in front of the soldiers to be recognised by them during the battle.
Queen Elizabeth presided over her 60th Trooping the Colour ceremony on June 16. Her Majesty first took the Royal Salute in 1951, when she stood in for George VI, and has continued doing so every year since, with the exception of 1955 (the national rail strike).
This ceremony was doubly significant since it was the first official appearance of the Duke of Edinburgh since he had been discharged from hospital. The Queen and other members of the Royal Family beamed with happiness to have Prince Philip back by their side. According to royal aides, the Duke was “determined” to accompany Queen Elizabeth to the display of splendour that marks Her Majesty’s official birthday (her actual birthday was back in April).
Taking a seat in the Glass Coach next to Prince Philip, the Queen first took the Royal Salute, to the sounds of the Slave Chorus from Verdi’s Nabucco followed by a medley of West Country songs, played by the Band of the Welsh Guards. The Glass Coach, built in 1881, was first used by the couple on their wedding day.
Riding behind them were the Royal Colonels – the Prince of Wales (Colonel of the Welsh Guards), the Duke of Cambridge (Colonel of the Irish Guards), the Princess Royal (Colonel of the Blues and Royals), and the Duke of Kent (Colonel of the Scots Guards). The Duchess of Cornwall, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry travelled in a carriage.
More than 1,600 officers and soldiers were on parade in the traditional uniforms of the Household Cavalry, Royal Horse Artillery and Foot Guards. The ceremony included 241 horses; among them was “Majesty” – a magnificent Household Cavalry black which has been named by the public to mark the Diamond Jubilee year.
After the parade, the Royal procession returned to Buckingham Palace to the loud cheers of tens of thousands of well-wishes who had gathered along the Mall. The Queen and Prince Philip then appeared on the balcony, followed by other members of the Royal Family. Not only Her Majesty’s immediate family – her children and grandchildren, but also the extended Royals – the Gloucesters, the Kents and others, were present. Lady Louise took the centre stage, standing right next to the Duke of Edinburgh and watching the ceremonies with keen interest.
The celebrations culminated with an RAF flypast which featured a Hercules, an E3D surveillance plane and RAF’s newest and biggest acquisition – Voyager. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, which includes a Lancaster, Spitfire and a Hurricane, could not take part due to the windy conditions. However, the onlookers still got a spectacular display when the Red Arrows soared over Buckingham Palace, trailing a smoke of red, white and blue.
The parade was Prince Charles’ first appearance since being awarded the highest rank in all three Armed Forces; Her Majesty made him a Field Marshal, Admiral of the Fleet and Marshal of the Royal Air Force. The Duke of Cambridge, meanwhile, sported the star of the Order of Thistle – the first time since he had been appointed a Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle back in May.
Fashion-wise, royal ladies chose muted but elegant colours. Her Majesty wore the primrose yellow Angela Kelly “sunray” dress and matching hat that she had wore to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding last year. Her brooch of choice was, fittingly, the magnificent Brigade of Guard one. The Duchess of Cornwall wore a blue suit by Fiona Claire – the same one she had chosen for the Jubilee Concert. The Duchess of Cambridge opted for a pale blue embroidered silk dress by Erdem and matching hat by Jane Corbett.
To read more about the ceremony, visit this thread – Trooping the Colour 2003-2012.Filed under British Royals
Tagged Birthday, Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Fashion, The Duke of Cambridge, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, Trooping the Colour.