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Their Royal Highnesses attend Trooping the Colour

15th June 2013

Members of the Royal Family on the balcony at Buckingham Palace following the Trooping the Colour parade

Members of the Royal Family on the balcony at Buckingham Palace following the Trooping the Colour parade

The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry joined thousands of well-wishers to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen's official birthday at the Trooping of the Colour parade this weekend.

The Prince of Wales and The Duke of Cambridge took part in the parade on horseback as Colonel of the Irish Guards.

The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry travelled to the parade in a carriage together. The two women had tartan blankets over their knees to keep them warm in the chilly air.

They smiled and waved at the crowds lining the route as the carriage drove to the televised event, which is held every year at Horse Guards Parade in London's Whitehall.

Other senior Royals also arrived in carriages before The Queen made her entrance, travelling with her cousin, The Duke of Kent, in a glass coach for the short journey from Buckingham Palace and along The Mall.

Thousands of people, including friends and family of some of the more than 1,000 soldiers taking part, packed into seats and stands around the parade ground to watch precision marching by hundreds of Guardsmen under cloudy skies which parted now and then to reveal the sun.

The Queen took the Royal salute as members of the royal family looked on. They smiled and pointed as they spotted The Prince of Wales, who is Colonel of the Welsh Guards and The Princess Royal, who is Colonel of the Blues and Royals, who were taking part on horseback.

Other Royals watching included The Duke of York and his daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and The Earl and Countess of Wessex with their daughter Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor.

The Colour being paraded on Horse Guards this year was the flag of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards. The unit has recently returned from operational service in Afghanistan where the troops worked as part of the Afghan Police Advisory Team assisting the country to achieve self governance.

Four of the five Foot Guards regiments of the Household Division - the Welsh Guards, Grenadier Guards, Scots Guards and the Coldstream Guards - marched in the parade wearing bearskin hats and red tunics while the Household Division Bands and Corps of Drums also took part, along with the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery.

The Queen celebrated her actual birthday on 21st April, when she turned 87, but today's ceremony marked her official birthday - which is always in June.

The Duke of Cambridge, Princess Royal and The Prince of Wales arrive at Horse Guards Parade, London, to attend Trooping the Colour.

The Duke of Cambridge, Princess Royal and The Prince of Wales arrive at Horse Guards Parade, London, to attend Trooping the Colour.

The ceremony is also an important social occasion for the Guardsmen taking part and gives their wives, girlfriends and relatives the chance to celebrate their achievements and enjoy the spectacle.

Many of the spectators in the stands overlooking the parade ground were dressed in morning suits or smart suits, while women wore dresses topped with hats and fascinators.

After the parade ended, The Queen was cheered by crowds gathered along the Mall as she was driven back to Buckingham Palace and the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery fired a 41-gun salute in Green Park.

The Royals then gathered on the balcony at Buckingham Palace to watch the traditional RAF flypast. Thousands of spectators crowded around the front of the palace and on The Mall, many cheering as a succession of planes roared overhead.

Among the featured 32 aircraft were 13 different types - from the famous Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster aircraft of the RAF Memorial Flight - to modern multi-role Typhoon fighters.

The Red Arrows completed the flypast - leaving a trail of red, white and blue smoke which swept across the sky behind them. Trooping the Colour originated from traditional preparations for battle.

Colours, or flags, were carried, or "trooped", down the rank so that they could be seen and recognised by the soldiers.

In the 18th Century, guards from the Royal palaces assembled daily on Horse Guards to "troop the colours", and in 1748 it was announced that the parade would also mark the Sovereign's official birthday.