How the Queen is celebrating her official birthday this weekend

·2-min read

The Queen's official birthday will be marked with a scaled-back Trooping the Colour for the second consecutive year as a result of the pandemic.

This year's event will feature a reduced parade in the grounds of Windsor Castle, much like last year's ceremony, rather than in central London with senior members of the royal family.

The monarch's actual birthday is on 21 April, but her official birthday is commemorated on the second Saturday of June each year. Traditional gun salutes to mark the date were cancelled last year, as the monarch felt it would be inappropriate due to Covid.

Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images

The event is traditionally marked with a military parade near Buckingham Palace in which the Household Division marches carrying a regimental flag, known as a colour. Last year, in place of the parade, Windsor Castle played host to a ceremony with a small number of Welsh Guardsmen and military musicians, with social distancing implemented for those marching.

This year's ceremony has been described as a "mini" Trooping the Colour, with the military officer in charge of planning the parade revealing his aim is to create a "memorable and uplifting day" for the monarch. The Queen relocated to Windsor at the start of the pandemic.

Photo credit: UK Press Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: UK Press Pool - Getty Images

Lt Col Guy Stone told the BBC: "Last year we had 85 on parade, this year we've got 274, plus 70 horses, so we're really excited about the event having grown and getting us back to normal for next year we hope.

"It's been very challenging, but we like a challenge. Covid has got a lot to answer for in so many ways, it's made this difficult but what we want to do more than anything is give the Queen a memorable and uplifting day."

This will be the third time in the Queen's 68-year reign that the parade in London has not gone ahead. In 1955, three years after the Queen's coronation, the event was cancelled due to a national rail strike.

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