Meghan Markle stood on the Buckingham Palace balcony for the first time with the Royal Family during the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony to celebrate the Queen’s birthday.
The Trooping of the Colour “has marked the official birthday of the British Sovereign for over 260 years,” according to the Royal Family’s website. Queen Elizabeth II is now 92-years-old. Her family gathered with her on the balcony on June 9, 2018, and rode through the streets of London in carriages. Among them: Meghan Markle, the American actress who recently wed Britain’s Prince Harry. You can see photos throughout this article.
Here’s what you need to know:
Trooping the Colour is a ceremony designed to commemorate the Queen’s birthday. “Over 1400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians come together each June in a great display of military precision, horsemanship and fanfare to mark The Queen’s official birthday,” the family’s website explains.
The streets “are lined with crowds waving flags as the parade moves from Buckingham Palace and down The Mall to Horse Guard’s Parade, alongside Members of the Royal Family on horseback and in carriages,” according to the website. Meghan Markle stood next to Prince Harry in the back of the family gathering. She was seen speaking with Harry and Prince Charles during various moments on the balcony.
Markle and Prince Harry are newlyweds, and she is now known by the title Duchess of Sussex, which was conveyed to her by the Queen upon the couple’s marriage. Prince Harry is sixth in line to the British throne. His father, Charles, his brother, William, and William’s three children are before Harry in the line of succession.
According to the family’s website, the Trooping the Colour ceremony “closes with an RAF fly-past, watched by Members of the Royal Family from Buckingham Palace balcony.” That’s why the balcony photos often show the royals craning their necks to look into the sky.
What happens during a Trooping the Colour ceremony? As with a lot of things in royal circles, there are strict traditions that are followed. “Once The Queen has arrived at Horse Guard’s Parade in Whitehall, she is greeted by a Royal salute and carries out an inspection of the troops, who are fully trained and operational soldiers wearing the ceremonial uniform of red tunics and bearskin hats,” says the website.
The Queen used to ride on horseback during this ceremony, but she doesn’t do that anymore because of her age. Instead, the elderly monarch chooses to ride in a carriage along with the rest of her family.
The ceremony is very military-based. “Once the Foot Guards have marched past The Queen, she rides back to Buckingham Palace at the head of the soldiers, before taking the salute again at the Palace from a dais,” the website says.
“After the military bands have performed, the escorted Regimental Colour, or flag, is processed down the ranks of soldiers. Over one hundred words of command are used by the Officer in Command of the Parade to direct the several hundred soldiers,” the website explains.
Finally, the family ends up on the balcony. “Her Majesty is then joined by other Members of the Royal Family on the balcony at Buckingham Palace to watch a fly-past by the Royal Air Force. A 41-gun salute is also fired in Green Park to mark the occasion,” according to the website.
The Royal Family has been participating in this ceremony for many years.
Meghan & Kate
All eyes were on Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, at the ceremony. There aren’t many photos from the event showing them interacting, however.
Past Trooping the Colour Photos
There was a royal first during the Trooping the Colour 2018. “A Sikh Coldstream Guards soldier became the first to wear a turban during the Royal Horseguards ceremony Saturday,” reported Time Magazine, which named him as Charanpreet Singh Lall.
Prince Philip, who is now 96, has been prominently featured in past Trooping the Colour ceremonies, but he did not attend the 2018 event.
The Queen’s closest family members usually gather on the balcony, including her children, grandchildren, and previously her mother, sister, and, at times, her first cousins.