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Trooping the Colour: Duke and Duchess of Sussex among royals to mark Queen’s official birthday

The Queen will celebrate her official birthday with the Trooping the Colour parade.

Royal fans will be eager to see the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who married exactly three weeks ago, joining other members of the royal family at the traditional summer spectacle.

Harry and Meghan are expected to ride in a carriage to the event, staged on Whitehall’s Horse Guards Parade, and later join members of the monarchy on Buckingham Palace’s balcony to watch the RAF flypast and acknowledge the crowds.

The Queen, who recently had a successful eye operation to remove a cataract, will watch the Trooping ceremony from a dais in Horse Guards and later inspect the lines of guardsmen in their scarlet tunics and bearskins.

The annual event will see more than 1,000 soldiers taking part in the traditional display of pomp and pageantry. The colour being paraded this year is the flag of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards.

The Duke of Edinburgh, who celebrates his 97th birthday on Sunday, has retired from official public duties and is not expected to attend.

The royal colonels, all on horseback, will accompany the Queen: Prince of Wales, Colonel of the Welsh Guards, the Princess Royal, Colonel of the Blues and Royals, and the Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards.

Duchess of Sussex arrives

Stephen Lock / i-Images

Riding in the ceremony for the first time will be the Duke of York in his new role as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards.

As with previous years, the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Cornwall are expected to take part in the Queen’s carriage procession.

Duke and Duchees of Cambridge arrive at Buckingham Palace

 Andrew Parsons / i-Images

The procession will be accompanied by a Sovereign’s Escort of the Household Cavalry, made up of Life Guards and Blues and Royals, in their silver and gold breastplates and plumed helmets.

The massed bands of the Household Division will provide musical backing during the day and also taking part is the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery who, following the parade, will fire a 41-gun salute in Green Park to mark the Queen’s official birthday.

After the ceremony the royal family will head back to Buckingham Palace and gather on the balcony to watch the RAF flypast.

Among the 23 aircraft taking part are modern jets and historic aircraft, while the Red Arrows will be the finale.

Trooping the Colour originated from traditional preparations for battle. Colours, or flags, were carried, or “trooped”, down the rank so that they could be seen and recognised by the soldiers.

In the 18th century, guards from the royal palaces assembled daily on Horse Guards to “troop the colours” and in 1748 it was announced that the parade would also mark the Sovereign’s official birthday.

The Queen’s actual birthday was on April 21 when she turned 92.

Drum major to mark end of 40-year career

A drum major is poised to parade in his final Trooping the Colour on a day which will also mark the end of his four-decade career in the British Army.

The centuries-old military spectacle of might, splendour and precision marching will take place on Horse Guards Parade this Saturday to mark the Queen’s official birthday.

It is an important day in the armed forces’ calendar and for the monarchy, where the families and friends of those on parade proudly watch the ceremony.

For Drum Major Steve Staite, who has taken part in Trooping the Colour at least 26 times – 17 as drum major, something the Army claim is a world record – this year’s Queen’s birthday parade carries extra significance.

“I am very excited to be doing my final Queen’s birthday parade, it is a culmination of my career over the four decades,” he said. “And what better day to go out on than the Queen’s birthday?”

The mace of Drum Major Staite at Wellington Barracks

Kirsty O’Connor /PA

The 55-year-old who is originally from Preston, Lancashire, joined the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards at the age of 16 on June 19 1979 and was appointed drum major to the Queen in 1995.

“We are personal drummers to her majesty, we get a royal warrant signed to that effect, and it is the greatest honour in the world, you can’t beat it,” he said.

As one of five drum majors wearing the elaborate gold-thread state clothing, during Trooping the Colour he marches one of the divisions up to Horse Guards to get them on to parade.

Drum Major Staite also leads one of the massed bands during the parade in slow and quick time – something the father-of-two agreed very few people get to do.

“A lot of people tell you it is great to march behind a band, but you can’t beat marching in front of it,” he said.

Drum Major Staite during the Queen’s Birthday Parade in 2012


During his career Drum Major Staite said he has visited 40 of the 50 states in America, and has worked in Kenya, Northern Ireland, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq.

It was during a posting to West Berlin on his first deployment that he also patrolled the Berlin Wall and guarded Adolf Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess, when he was held at Spandau prison.

Quizzed on what that experience was like, Drum Major Staite who plans on retiring to Middlesbrough with his wife Fee, said: “You just sat in a sanger at Spandau prison.

“You weren’t really allowed to look into the yard, it was just a normal prison with one person in it. But driving around the Berlin wall in those days was something very, very different.”

Posted to Household Division headquarters in 2000, he was involved in the funeral of the Queen Mother and Lady Margaret Thatcher, the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games and the royal weddings of Prince Charles and Prince William.

Guardsman hopes turban marks ‘historic change’

A Coldstream Guards soldier who will wear a turban as he parades during Trooping the Colour has said he hopes it is looked upon as a “new change in history”.

More than 1,000 soldiers will take part in the ceremony which marks the Queen’s official birthday on Saturday as the nation honours the monarch.

For Guardsman Charanpreet Singh Lall the event is not only his first Trooping the Colour, but also marks the first time a member of the Coldstream Guards has taken part wearing a turban.

The 22-year-old from Leicester said: “I hope that people watching, that they will just acknowledge it and that they will look at it as a new change in history.

“I hope that more people like me, not just Sikhs but from other religions and different backgrounds, that they will be encouraged to join the Army.”

Coldstream Guards soldier Charanpreet Singh Lall wearing a turban during a rehearsal for Trooping the Colour

Stefan Rousseau /PA

A member of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, the turban he will be wearing during Trooping the Colour will be black, featuring the ceremonial cap star to match the bearskin hats.

Gdsm Lall who joined the British Army in January 2016, was born in Punjab, India, and moved to the UK as a baby, said he is feeling “quite excited” ahead of the event.

“I’m quite proud and I know that a lot of other people are proud of me as well,” he said. “It is a good feeling… there’s going to be a lot of eyes and I am going to have an influence on other people.”

Trooping the Colour originated from traditional preparations for battle.

Colours, or flags, were carried, or “trooped”, down the ranks so they could be seen and recognised by the soldiers.

Charanpreet Singh Lall said he hopes the event is looked upon as a ‘new change in history’

Stefan Rousseau /PA

In the 18th century, guards from the Royal palaces assembled daily on Horse Guards to “troop the colours”, and in 1748 it was announced the parade would also mark the Sovereign’s official birthday.

This year the ceremony, which is staged every June in London’s historic Horse Guards Parade, will see the Colour of the 1st Battalion the Coldstream Guards being trooped.

With weeks of rigorous training under his belt, on the day he and many other soldiers will wear immaculate uniforms and march with precision up the Mall and onto parade.

Gdsm Lall added: “For myself, being the first turban-wearing sikh to troop the colour and to be part of the escort it is a really high honour for myself, and hopefully for everyone else as well.”

He revealed his family including his mother, father and sister, who are “really, really proud” of him, will be coming to watch him take part.

“My mum was crying on the day I passed out so I wonder what is going to happen to her when she sees me in this,” Gdsm Lall added.

Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/06/09/trooping-colour-duke-duchess-sussex-among-royals-mark-queens/

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