Scaled-back Trooping the Colour takes place for Queen's official birthday

12 June 2021, 13:24 | Updated: 12 June 2021, 14:42

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A scaled-back Trooping the Colour has taken place at Windsor Castle to celebrate the Queen's official birthday.

The ceremony, usually held on Horse Guards Parade behind Whitehall, was restricted for the second year in a row because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It meant the military commemoration of her official birthday was instead performed in the quadrangle of her Berkshire home.

Soldiers and musicians from the Massed Band of the Household Division marched onto the parade area at Windsor Castle ahead of the event.

The Guardsmen then showed off their iconic precision marching skills while maintaining a social distance of just over two metres.

This year's display replaced the normal, larger Trooping the Colour ceremony usually staged in central London.

Read more: Covid heroes celebrated in Queen's Birthday Honours

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The Queen looks on as Guardsmen perform a mini Trooping the Colour
The Queen looks on as Guardsmen perform a mini Trooping the Colour. Picture: Getty
Members of the Household Cavalry make their way down the Long Walk towards Windsor Castle
Members of the Household Cavalry make their way down the Long Walk towards Windsor Castle. Picture: PA

The monarch - whose actual birthday was on 21 April, when she turned 95 - was joined by her cousin, the Duke of Kent, on a dais in the castle's quadrangle in his role as Colonel of the Scots Guards.

Saturday's display included a gun salute and a mesmerising Red Arrows flypast.

The guardsmen involved have either been supporting local communities and the NHS during the pandemic or have served overseas on military operations.

On Sunday, the Queen will host US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden for tea during their trip to the UK for the G7 summit.

It comes after the monarch published her Birthday Honours list on Friday night, with recognition for the scientists involved in developing the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid jab.

Read more: Queen to meet Joe Biden at Windsor Castle for tea and Guard of Honour

Read more: Queen given rose to mark what would have been Philip's 100th birthday

The Queen enjoyed a scaled back Trooping the Colour for the second year running
The Queen enjoyed a scaled back Trooping the Colour for the second year running. Picture: Getty

Despite some coronavirus restrictions remaining in place, crowds still came out to enjoy the ceremony and the good weather on offer.

One woman told LBC reporter Charlotte Baker the atmosphere was "lovely" and that she "wasn't expecting to see so many people about".

She said the march had given her "goosebumps" despite the scaled back nature of the event.

Another pair of royal fans told LBC they had come out to support the Queen following the death of her husband, Prince Philip, earlier this year.

"She'll be sad, but her duty comes first," they said

"She'll celebrate, but she'll have her treasured memories of the Duke of Edinburgh and today will be very special for her because he will be with her."