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The Queen celebrates birthday in ‘new normality’ with a socially distanced ceremonial

Instead of the usual ‘Trooping the colour’, the Queen celebrated her 94th birthday in England with a socially distanced military tribute.

Her Majesty made her first official appearance since the coronavirus lockdown was imposed, at Windsor Castle, and watched the Welsh Guards perform a ‘Mini-Trooping’. Trooping the Colour has been held annually for more than 260 years, with more than 1,400 soldiers, 200 horses, 400 musicians and thousands of spectators coming together to mark the celebration.

This year was noticeably different, with only a small number of people invited to mark the monarch’s birthday, which is celebrated on the second Saturday of June every year. Only eighteen servicemen and women from the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, a small group of officers, 50 military musicians and other senior military figures attended.

The Guardsmen normally stand shoulder-to-shoulder when parading, but today stood over two metres apart. They performed a new socially distanced drill named ‘feathering’ to create a shape similar to the Prince of Wales’s feathers when viewed from above. This event will go down in history not only for the strange circumstances, but also as Guardsman Rhian Morgan became the first woman to appear on parade for Her Majesty’s official birthday.

The Queen was actually born on April 21, but the tradition of Trooping the Colour dates back hundreds of years to when King George II was on the throne. The King was born on November 9, but this was viewed as a bad time for a parade, with concerns about bad weather. It was decided a second official celebration would be held on the second weekend of June, and this tradition has continued ever since.

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