Queen Elizabeth II. COURTESY
The annual military parade in central London for Queen Elizabeth II’s official birthday has been cancelled for a second year owing to the coronavirus pandemic, Buckingham Palace said Friday. The “Trooping the Colour” event in June normally features hundreds of personnel from Britain’s most prestigious regiments for a centuries-old spectacle of pageantry in front of thousands of spectators.
Last year, because of the health crisis, it was switched to a low-key celebration in the grounds of Windsor Castle west of London, and the palace said the same was likely again.
“Following consultation with government and other relevant parties it has been agreed that the Queen’s official birthday parade, also known as Trooping the Colour, will not go ahead this year in its traditional form in central London,” a statement read.
“Options for an alternative parade, in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle, are being considered.” Elizabeth, 94, and her 99-year-old husband Prince Philip have for the past year been isolating at Windsor, as their age puts them in a high-risk category for coronavirus.
Philip, who turns 100 in June, this week returned to the castle after four weeks of treatment in two central London hospitals, including a heart procedure.
Last year was the first time that Windsor has staged an event to mark a sovereign’s official birthday since 1895, when a ceremony was held in honour of queen Victoria. It marked Elizabeth’s first official public appearance since Britain went into lockdown in March.
She celebrated her actual 94th birthday on April 21 without the traditional gun salute, due to the lockdown. The double birthday tradition was started by King George II in 1748, who wanted to have a summer celebration as his own birthday was October 30. The monarch’s official birthday normally occurs on the second Saturday in June.