12 Jun Queen’s birthday parade: ‘Mini’ COVID-restricted Trooping the Colour takes place at Windsor Castle | UK News
For the second year running, the Queen’s official birthday has been marked by an event dubbed a mini Trooping the Colour at Windsor Castle.
The pandemic meant the military commemoration of the monarch’s official birthday was staged in the quadrangle of her Berkshire home.
It is only the third time the event has been staged at Windsor.
The Duke of Kent, a colonel in the Scots Guards, joined the head of state for the ceremony, with F Company Scots Guards performing parading a flag, or standard – which is what the term “the colour” refers to – in front of the monarch, in their brightly coloured uniforms and bearskin hats.
Shortly after 11am, the Queen made her way to a small marquee, where she received the salute after the National Anthem.
Sky commentator Alistair Bruce said: “It’s many years since the Scots Guards… trooping today, have had the chance to troop their colour before Her Majesty the Queen.
“For much of this year there was concern about whether that opportunity would come. COVID has restricted so much but today as we can see, each of these guardsmen is separated by two metres from each other in accordance with those security regulations.
“The music has been carefully thought through and prepared.”
After the Queen gave her permission for the guards to resume their duties, the mounted regiments paraded past her, ahead of two simultaneous gun salutes due at midday, one in Windsor and one in Greenwich.
A fly-past by the Red Arrows followed shortly after, with the RAF aircraft passing over the castle in their usual V shape formation and with red, white and blue smoke trailing behind.
Trooping the Colour has marked the official birthday of the British sovereign for more than 260 years and involves hundreds of soldiers, horses and musicians coming together each June in a major display of military precision, horsemanship and fanfare.
Normally, it takes place between Buckingham Palace and Horse Guard’s Parade but, because of COVID, it has been moved to Windsor Castle to prevent crowds gathering.
The daily ceremony of the changing of the guard at the royal sites has also been stopped during the pandemic, and organisers of this year’s event say it has impacted on the ability of the soldiers to maintain their level of training.
Lieutenant Colonel Guy Stone, who has been leading the effort to prepare for the event, said: “It’s been extremely demanding; we’ve had to tackle COVID like everybody else, with some people needing to isolate and therefore not being able to be on parade.
“It’s been very difficult to achieve what I hope will be a good standard because we’re not doing the Changing of the Guard ceremony every day due to the pandemic – that applies to horses, the musicians and the Guardsmen with their foot drill and rifle drill.”
Lt Col Stone, who serves with the Welsh Guards, was also in charge of the military’s involvement in the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral and was was made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order by the Queen in recognition of his efforts.