On June 13 when the Queen celebrates her official birthday at the annual Trooping the Colour festivities, expect her proud family to be standing right by her side. And after a day of pomp and pageantry, all eyes will be on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to see if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s adorable son, 23-month-old Prince George, joins his parents to observe the traditional RAF flypast. (Aircraft including Spitfires, Chinooks and Red Arrows fly in formation, leaving colourful smoke trails in their wake).
George’s father, Prince William, was just shy of his second birthday when he melted hearts at his first appearance in 1984. The following year, a nine-month-old Prince Harry watched his first flypast while snuggled in the arms of his mother, Princess Diana.
It’s very likely that William and Kate will bring their little prince along this time around, especially now that he has become more comfortable in front of crowds. Prince George was a star during his tour Down Under last year and, most recently, he demonstrated his poise by waving to fans outside the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital before ducking in to meet his new sister, Princess Charlotte. It is expected that the six-week-old princess, who recently posed for four new portraits in her brother's arms, will remain at home - but fans needn’t worry as she has years of Trooping fun ahead of her given that it’s one of the monarchy’s most important social occasions.
The Sovereign’s birthday parade has been honoured for more than 250 years. Queen Elizabeth has only missed it once during her 63-year reign, after a national rail strike forced the cancellation of the 1955 celebration. During the parade, members of the army’s Household Division display their battalion emblems before saluting their commander, Her Majesty, who then carries out an inspection of the troops.
The Queen is always delighted to see members of her family participate in the military parade. Princess Anne and Prince Charles, Edward and William all hold the rank of colonel (or higher) in a Household Division of the British Army, therefore they are qualified to mount up and join in on the salute. It is familiar territory for the Queen, who took part in the ceremony during the reign of her father, King George VI.
To mark this year’s Trooping the Colour, Hello! looks back at memorable royal family moments from previous celebrations.