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Trooping the Colour, the Queen’s official birthday celebration, cancelled for second year running

Written by on 19 March 2021

Trooping the Colour will again not go ahead in its traditional form this year, Buckingham Palace has announced.

The annual royal event, which marks the Queen’s official birthday celebration each June, has been cancelled for a second year running, having been called off in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials are considering an alternative parade at Windsor Castle, as happened last year, when the Queen watched a military ceremony take place in the quadrangle. It became affectionately known as “mini Trooping”.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh return to Buckingham Palace in a carriage, after attending the annual Trooping the Colour Ceremony in London, Saturday, June 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) Image: The Queen and Prince Philip, have attended the event together for decades. Pic: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

The annual Garter service, also usually held in June, when the eponymous knights gather at Windsor Castle, will not take place this year either, the palace added.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “Following consultation with government and other relevant parties it has been agreed that the Queen’s Official Birthday Parade, also known as Trooping the Colour, will not go ahead this year in its traditional form in central London.”

Thousands of well-wishers usually fill central London to watch the Queen and members of the royal family travel to and from Trooping the Colour.

The event stems from the traditional preparations for battle, when colours (or flags) were carried (“trooped”) down the rank to be seen and recognised by the soldiers.

In the 18th century, guards from the royal palaces would assemble daily, on horse guards, to troop the colours. The parade first marked the sovereign’s official birthday in 1748.

The 2018 edition marked the debut on the Buckingham Palace balcony of the Duchess of Sussex, as it was the first major royal event following her marriage to Prince Harry.

Holding 12-week-old Prince Edward, Queen Elizabeth II waves to the crowds outside Buckingham Palace in London on June 13, 1964, after the traditional Trooping the Colour ceremony at nearby Horse Guards Parade. With her are ...Prince Philip and their four-year-old son Prince Andrew. The ceremony marked the Queen...s official birthday, her 38th. Her actual birthday was April 21, when Britain is considered too rainy for outdoor ceremonies. (AP Photo) Image: Holding 12-week-old Prince Edward, the Queen waves to crowds outside Buckingham Palace in June 1964, after Trooping the Colour. Pic: AP

While the ceremony marks the Queen’s official birthday, her actual birthday is in April, when she is due to turn 95.

While it is hoped that most of England’s lockdown restrictions will have been lifted by June, royal events appear to be playing it safe for a little longer.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are still based at Windsor Castle, where they have been since the start of the pandemic last spring.

Prince Philip returned earlier this week after a month-long stay in hospital.