Each summer, the entire Royal Family gathers on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to wave at the crowds below as the RAF flies overhead.
What Is Trooping the Colour?
It’s the highlight of the annual Trooping the Colour celebration, which has “marked the official birthday of the British Sovereign for over 260 years,” according to the RF’s official website.
The event includes parades of soldiers, horses, and musicians. You can see the BBC coverage of the 2016 event to get a sense of just how popular Trooping the Colour. (You can also scope Princess Anne in her dress uniform riding horseback alongside her parents’ carriage.)
For obvious reasons, the massive event did not happen this year. So what did the Queen do instead?
2020 Trooping the Colour
Instead of the massive parade and gathering of well-wishers, the Queen enjoyed a smaller ceremony in Windsor. She has been isolating at Windsor Castle since March, along with Prince Philip and a handful of staffers in rotating shifts.
Elizabeth walked out onto the quadrangle green at the castle and was greeted by the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, consisting of just 20 soldiers standing six feet apart. The military battalion is currently stationed on guard at the castle. After a brief display of coordinated drills, the guards saluted again and the Queen returned inside. The Household Division band provided music.
Did the Queen Celebrate Alone?
The Queen was not able to have guests at her celebration this year. Her husband, who just turned 99 and is reportedly in poor health, did not join her on the lawn. Nor were any of her children there because of the pandemic.
The Cambridges did not attend, either, but instead watched the parade on TV like the rest of the peasants. Last year was the first time Prince Louis joined his family on the balcony. It always makes for an adorable photo op.
We don’t know if Harry and Meghan (with Archie) would have returned to London for the Queen’s big day. They were spared having to make that potentially awkward choice.
Speaking of awkward, it would have been interesting to see if Prince Andrew joined his family this year. We’re still waiting to hear if he’s officially banned from Royal life after a string of scandals.
Why Does the Queen Have Two Birthdays?
You might have been wondering why the Queen’s official birthday celebration is held in June when her actual birthday is April 21. The short answer is because of the abysmal English weather. It would be very optimistic to hope for nice weather in spring. Nobody wants to parade in the cold and damp.