Queen Elizabeth Attends Her First Official Birthday Parade as a Widow

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Photo credit: CHRIS JACKSON - Getty Images
Photo credit: CHRIS JACKSON - Getty Images

Almost exactly 70 years ago, on June 7, 1951, Princess Elizabeth stood in for her father King George VI to take the salute at Trooping the Colour for the first time. The king was unable to attend his official birthday parade due to ill health and died just eight months later making Elizabeth queen.

This year marks the 70th year that the Queen has taken the salute at Trooping the Colour, ahead of the celebrations for her Platinum Jubilee next year. It is also the first time she has attended the ceremony since Prince Philip died, although she appeared without him by her side at the event in 2019 and 2020. Poignantly, she was attending the ceremony as a widow for the first time just two days after what would have been Philip’s 100th birthday.

Photo credit: STEVE PARSONS - Getty Images
Photo credit: STEVE PARSONS - Getty Images

Traditionally held at Horse Guards Parade in central London, this year’s ceremony was held at Windsor Castle and scaled back with social distancing on place for the second year in a row due to COVID restrictions. But in a hopeful sign that things are beginning to return to normal, there was a larger military presence than last year.

The Queen appeared in the castle’s Quadrangle at 11 a.m. alongside her cousin the Duke of Kent who is Colonel of the Scots Guards, the regiment whose colors were trooped this year. They were greeted by a salute and the National Anthem before the parade commenced and concluded with a second salute. The firing of a 41 gun salute from Windsor Castle’s East Lawn also marked the occasion.

Sitting alone watching the parade, the 95-year-old Queen chose a pale grey outfit with yellow detail by her dresser Angela Kelly. Pinned to her right side was an aquamarine brooch.

Photo credit: Pool/Samir Hussein - Getty Images
Photo credit: Pool/Samir Hussein - Getty Images

The event comes in the middle of a busy few days for the Queen, who appeared publicly yesterday alongside other senior royals at a reception for leaders as part of the G7 Summit. She was joined by the Duchess of Cornwall and Duchess of Cambridge meeting volunteers at the Eden Project in Cornwall to thank them for how they have supported communities in the past year. During the event the Queen raised a laugh by choosing to use a sword to cut a cake, saying “this is more unusual.”

Tomorrow, she will host President Biden and the First Lady in the Quadrangle at Windsor Castle, where they will be greeted by a guard of honour before joining her for tea.

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