Queen Elizabeth marks 94th birthday with untraditional celebration

Queen Elizabeth enjoyed a smaller version of the Trooping the Colour ceremony on her June 13 birthday. (Photo: Getty Images)

Although Queen Elizabeth could not celebrate her 94th birthday with an official Trooping the Colour ceremony amid the coronavirus pandemic, she enjoyed a modest version of the event on Saturday.

The queen’s actual birthday is on April 21 but the second Saturday of June is reserved for Trooping the Colour, a 260 year-old parade to honor the British Sovereign. The entire royal family — including Prince Charles, Prince William, Kate Middleton and before they relocated to the U.S., Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — also assembles on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to witness a show by the Royal Air Force and a 41-gun salute.

Instead, the Welsh Guards gave an enthusiastic but downsized performance — spaced out by six feet — and there was a royal salute and military drills. The Queen’s husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who turned 99 on Wednesday, was not pictured at the Windsor Palace event. According to CBS, Saturday was Her Majesty’s first public showing since the pandemic began.

“This year, for the first time since 1955, Trooping of the Colour didn’t take place in its traditional form,” read a caption on the royal family’s Instagram account.

The royal family assembles on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for the Trooping of the Colour ceremony in 2019. (Photo: Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

Prince William and Middleton retweeted the occasion, despite their packed itineraries. The prince has been working undercover for the mental health crisis text line Shout, which he co-founded. And the couple has thanked veterans, healthcare workers and teachers for their service in a number of virtual meetings.

And while they no longer officially represent the royal family having stepped down in March, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry continue serving the public — in April, the couple delivered free meals to families with the charity group Angel Food. And to kick off June, Markle gave a moving virtual speech to graduates of Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles, where she attended, on the Black Lives Matter movement.

Over the years, Trooping the Colour has created stand-out memories — last year, Kate and William’s 2-year-old son Prince Louis made his debut on the balcony, waving to the crowd. In 2018, their 6-year-old son Prince George goofed around with the Queen’s great-granddaughter Savannah Phillips. And last year, Markle made her first (gorgeous) postpartum appearance at the parade weeks after giving birth to her and Harry’s son Archie.

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides. 

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