Beaming King Charles and royal family wave to crowds as they celebrate the monarch's birthday parade with flypast

17 June 2023, 12:10 | Updated: 17 June 2023, 14:41

Trooping the Colour of the King's reign
Trooping the Colour of the King's reign. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Emma Soteriou

King Charles has received the official birthday wishes of the nation during his first Trooping the Colour ceremony as monarch.

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Pomp and pageantry were on display during the ceremony, which saw the most prestigious regiments in the British Army honour their Colonel in Chief by parading to mark his anniversary.

Charles had deputised for Queen Elizabeth II at last year's event, also known as the Birthday Parade, but this time rode onto Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall for the first time as the nation's head of state.

It was then followed by a flypast, with thousands filling The Mall to greet the King with cheers and applause as he led members of the royal family onto the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

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The royals appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace
The royals appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Picture: Alamy
The red arrows
The red arrows. Picture: Alamy
King Charles III and Queen Camilla on the balcony of Buckingham Palace
King Charles III and Queen Camilla on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Picture: Alamy

Charles and Camilla were joined by working members of the royal family including Prince William, Kate and their children - Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis - for the occasion.

The flypast above Buckingham Palace saw 18 Typhoon fighter jets spelling out the King's monogram "CR" for Charles Rex.

18 Typhoon fighter jets spelling out the King&squot;s monogram "CR" for Charles Rex
18 Typhoon fighter jets spelling out the King's monogram "CR" for Charles Rex. Picture: Alamy
Prince George, the Princess of Wales, Prince Louis, the Prince of Wales and Princess Charlotte on the balcony of Buckingham Palace
Prince George, the Princess of Wales, Prince Louis, the Prince of Wales and Princess Charlotte on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Picture: Alamy

Another was the sight of aircraft associated with the Second World War, with Spitfire and Hurricane fighters flying with a Lancaster bomber, all from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

The finale was precision formation flying from the Red Arrows who trailed red, white and blue smoke over the capital.

King Charles travelling to the Trooping the Colour ceremony
King Charles travelling to the Trooping the Colour ceremony. Picture: Getty
King Charles leaving Buckingham Palace
King Charles leaving Buckingham Palace. Picture: Alamy
Prince of Wales, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Princess Royal salute during the Trooping the Colour ceremony
Prince of Wales, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Princess Royal salute during the Trooping the Colour ceremony. Picture: Alamy

Charles became the first monarch in over 30 years to partake in the Trooping the Colour on horseback on Saturday.

He took the royal salute as Colonel in Chief of the Household Division's seven regiments during the ceremony, staged on Horse Guards Parade, as members of the royal family and 8,000 spectators watched on.

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Camilla and Kate during the Trooping the Colour ceremony at Horse Guards Parade
Camilla and Kate during the Trooping the Colour ceremony at Horse Guards Parade. Picture: Alamy
Prince George, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte
Prince George, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte. Picture: Getty

The colour, or regimental flag, that was trooped in front of hundreds of Guardsmen and officers was the King's Colour of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards.

The King was joined on horseback by the royal Colonels - Prince of Wales, Colonel, Welsh Guards and the Princess Royal, Gold Stick in Waiting and Colonel, The Blues and Royals.

Camilla shares a sweet moment with Charlotte
Camilla shares a sweet moment with Charlotte. Picture: Alamy
Carriages depart Buckingham Palace for the Trooping the Colour ceremony
Carriages depart Buckingham Palace for the Trooping the Colour ceremony. Picture: Alamy

The Duke of Edinburgh was also involved in the ceremony in his role as Colonel of the 1st Battalion London Guards, formed last year.

The senior royals were joined by a carriage carrying the Queen and the Princess of Wales along with her children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

The Queen and the princess wore contrasting outfits, with Camilla in a red silk dress that took inspiration from her regiment, the Grenadier Guards, while Kate was in a striking green dress and matching hat in honour of her Irish Guards.

But noticeably absent were Prince Harry and Meghan Markle who are understood to have not been invited to the ceremony.

They have instead remained in the US with their children, Prince Archie, four, and Princess Lilibet, two.

Both Buckingham Palace, and a rep for the couple, have declined to comment on reports.

Members of the Household Division during the Trooping the Colour ceremony
Members of the Household Division during the Trooping the Colour ceremony. Picture: Alamy
Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh and Timothy Laurence travel down The Mall in a horse drawn carriage
Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh and Timothy Laurence travel down The Mall in a horse drawn carriage. Picture: Getty
Members of the Welsh Guards perform on Horse Guards Parade
Members of the Welsh Guards perform on Horse Guards Parade. Picture: Getty

The sight of a monarch riding throughout Trooping the Colour had not happened since 1986 when the Queen rode her charger Burmese for the final time.

It was a gift from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Charles' horse Noble was also from the Commonwealth country's famous Mounties.

The royals leaving Buckingham Palace
The royals leaving Buckingham Palace. Picture: Getty
King Charles, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh on horseback during Trooping the Colour at Horse Guards Parade
King Charles, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh on horseback during Trooping the Colour at Horse Guards Parade. Picture: Getty

Trooping the Colour is a social as well as a ceremonial occasion and in the stands overlooking the parade ground were wives, girlfriends and parents of the guardsmen and officers on parade.

The event featured around 1,500 soldiers in total and hundreds of Guardsmen were lined up on the parade ground waiting to be inspected by King.

For the first time since 1989, all five regiments of Foot Guards - the Welsh, Scots, Irish, Coldstream and Grenadier - were on parade together for Trooping.

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