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Charles saddles up for b’day Trooping the Colour parade

King rides in first Trooping the Colour as monarch

The King has received the official birthday wishes of Britain on his first Trooping the Colour ceremony as monarch.

Pomp and pageantry were on display during Saturday’s military spectacle, where the most prestigious regiments in the British Army honoured their Colonel in Chief by parading to mark his anniversary.

The King had deputised for his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II at last year’s event, also known as the Birthday Parade. But on Saturday he rode onto Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall as the nation’s head of state.

He was joined on horseback by the royal colonels – the Prince of Wales, Colonel, Welsh Guards; the Princess Royal, Gold Stick in Waiting and Colonel of The Blues and Royals; and the Duke of Edinburgh, riding for the first time in his role as Colonel of the 1st Battalion London Guards, formed last year.

Travelling in a carriage were the Queen, who is Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, and the Princess of Wales as Colonel of the Irish Guards. They were joined by Prince George, nine, Princess Charlotte, eight, and five-year-old Prince Louis.

The royal party were at the centre of a sovereign’s mounted escort, formed by troops from the Household Cavalry’s Life Guards and Blues and Royals, in their shining breastplates and plumed helmets, and a ripple of cheers followed them when they travelled along The Mall.

Soon after the King arrived on the parade ground, the national anthem was played as a mark of respect and the monarch had to steady his horse. It would not settle and a groom stepped forward to help.

The King began the ceremony by inspecting the lines of guardsmen on the parade ground, casting a critical eye over the soldiers, formed in two lines, as he rode past.

William, Anne, and Edward rode behind the King, while the Queen and Princess of Wales were in a carriage – a symbolic image of the royal family supporting their King as another milestone was reached.

The Queen and the princess wore contrasting outfits, with the Queen in a red silk dress that took inspiration from her regiment, the Grenadier Guards, while Kate was in a striking green dress by Andrew Gn and matching hat by Philip Treacy in honour of her Irish Guards.

The pair later took their seats on a dais with the Duke of Kent, Colonel, Scots Guards, to watch the march past of the troops – a first for the royal women – while the King and the other royal colonels remained on horseback alongside.

The sight of a monarch riding throughout Trooping the Colour had not happened since 1986 when the late Queen rode her charger Burmese for the final time.

It was a gift from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The horse ridden by the King on Saturday, Noble, was also from the Commonwealth country’s famous Mounties.

Trooping the Colour is a social as well as a ceremonial occasion and in the stands overlooking the parade ground were about 8000 wives, girlfriends and parents of the guardsmen and officers on parade.

The event featured about 1500 soldiers and hundreds of Guardsmen who were lined up on the parade ground waiting to be inspected by the King.

For the first time since 1989, all five regiments of Foot Guards – the Welsh, Scots, Irish, Coldstream and Grenadier – were on parade together for Trooping.

The colour, or regimental flag, that was  trooped in front of hundreds of Guardsmen and officers was be the King’s Colour of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards.

-AAP

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