Trooping the Colour 'will not go ahead in its traditional form' in 2021

By Zach Harper

For the second year in a row, Trooping the Colour, the Queen's official birthday celebrations, will be affected by COVID-19.

On March 19, Buckingham Palace said 2021's celebration will "not go ahead this year in its traditional form." As was the case in 2020, the Royal Family is exploring holding an alternative ceremony in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle.

Trooping the Colour is usually held in London, draws massive crowds and sees the Royal Family partake in a parade in the monarch's honour before greeting the public on Buckingham Palace's balcony during the Royal Air Force's flypast. It is traditionally held the first weekend in June, and would have been held June 12 this year, and was to mark the Queen's 95th birthday.

The crowds that gather outside Buckingham Palace and along the parade route during Trooping the Colour are an obvious concern during the pandemic. Photo: © DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images

Despite the Queen, Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla having received vaccinations for COVID-19 and more than 25 million people in the U.K. having received at least one dose of the vaccine, the situation is still not at a place where celebrations can return to normal.

The U.K. is still in its first priority phase, in which those older than age 50, front-line health care workers and people with health conditions that make them vulnerable to COVID-19 are receiving shots. The rest of the population, which is about 21 million people, should receive their first dose by the end of July. In addition to the concerns about crowds, many younger royals are in that latter population group and are still waiting their turn for a vaccine dose.

In addition to the news about Trooping the Colour, the annual Order of the Garter service, which is traditionally held at Windsor Castle just after Trooping the Colour, will not take place this year.

Prince Philip is seen leaving hospital on March 16. Photo: © Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

The news comes just after Prince Philip was released from hospital earlier this week. The Duke of Edinburgh returned to Windsor Castle after at 28-day stay. He turns 100 on June 10, two days before Her Majesty's official birthday celebrations were to be held.

The Queen watches a military ceremony as part of Trooping the Colour in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle on June 13, 2020. Photo: © Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Last year, a scaled back version of Trooping the Colour was held in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle, where Her Majesty and Philip have been spending most of their time since March 2020, when they were moved there from Buckingham Palace as a precautionary measure at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to Trooping the Colour, the Queen also celebrates her birthday on April 21.

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