Queen Elizabeth isn’t going to let the coronavirus spoil all her 94th birthday festivities! Here’s how she plans on celebrating one of her oldest birthday traditions.


Queen Elizabeth marked her official birthday with a reduced celebration including a military ceremony at Windsor Castle on Saturday.  It was her first official public appearance since lockdown measures were imposed in March.

Normally, the monarch’s official birthday is commemorated on the second Saturday in June with Trooping the Colour, a splashy military parade during which the senior royals ride horse-drawn carriages through London and then gather on the Buckingham Palace balcony to watch RAF jets fly over.  But this year, as has been the case with just about everything in life, things were different: Buckingham Palace announced in March that the parade would not go ahead “in its traditional form.”

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Instead, a small number of soldiers and military musicians paid tribute to the monarch at Windsor Castle, where she moved in mid-March. The queen received a royal salute before watching a display by soldiers who marched on the castle grounds in accordance with social distancing rules.

Ahead of the ceremony, the royal family shared images of the Welsh Guards in their centenary year at the Trooping the Colour on Twitter, noting that the British army regiment would be marking the queen’s birthday with a “pared back” display.

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In a subsequent tweet, the royal family mentioned that the Welsh Guards have been stationed at Windsor Castle throughout the pandemic.

Later, they posted a few shots of the monarch enjoying her celebration on Twitter, along with a sped-up video of the military ceremony.

The Queen enjoying today’s military ceremony at Windsor Castle, held to mark Her Majesty’s Official Birthday. 👇

— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) June 13, 2020

“Her Majesty, the Battalion’s Colonel-in-Chief, took the Royal Salute at the ceremony and watched a series of military drills,” The Royal Family wrote on Twitter, adding a drum and guard emoji.

Her Majesty, the Battalion’s Colonel-in-Chief, took the Royal Salute at the ceremony and watched a series of military drills. 🥁💂

— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) June 13, 2020

The queen marked her actual 94th birthday in April without pomp or party and asked that there be no gun salutes amid the pandemic. 

However, every monarch’s official birthday is marked in June, when the weather is more reliably pleasant. According to the BBC, the tradition for a king or queen to have a separate date to mark their birthday purposed for official celebrations started with King George II in 1748. SInce the weather wasn’t very nice in November, his birth month, he decided to combine a birthday parade with the existing Trooping the Colour military parade.

According to the Household Division army regiment,  Trooping the Colour was first performed during the reign of King Charles II, who was on the throne, from 1660 to 1685. Later, in 1748, it was used to mark the birthday of the sovereign and it became an annual tradition when King George III took the throne in 1760.

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A typical Trooping the Colour – the ‘colors’ refer to the flags representing the different regiments of the British Army – features ranks of marching troops and mounted guards in colorful uniform.


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The parade is a highlight on the royal calendar and typically attracts thousands of tourists to line the streets of central London. It has only been canceled once before during almost 70 years of the queen’s reign – in 1955, during a national rail strike.

An event like this marking the sovereign’s birthday has not been staged at Windsor since 1895, when a ceremony was held in honor of Queen Victoria.

USA TODAY has reached out to Buckingham Palace for comment.

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Contributing: Anika Reed, USA TODAY; The Associated Press


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