Every year, members of the extended royal family gather at Buckingham Palace for the traditional Trooping the Colour ceremony. The event, which sees members of the British and Commonwealth armies parade for inspection, used to be purely a military ceremony, but since 1748, it has also celebrated the monarch's official birthday. It's an opportunity for the queen's children, grandchildren, cousins, nieces, and nephews to come together.
Over the years, new generations have swelled the ranks, and this year, the parade was extra special as Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis made their carriage-progression debut at the parade. It also marked Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's joint return to the United Kingdom following their royal exit in January 2020. Though they didn't stand on the balcony with the rest of the family, the couple were spotted watching the ceremony from the Major General's Office inside Buckingham Palace.
Taking a look back at previous Trooping the Colour ceremonies offers an incredible snapshot of how the royal family have grown and changed. From Prince William's first appearance - which was echoed years later when George made his debut - to bittersweet moments like the queen mother's final turn on the balcony, take a look back now as we open the royal archives to explore the last few decades of the queen's official birthday celebrations.