Rediff.com  » News » UK queen's official birthday marked with smaller ceremony

UK queen's official birthday marked with smaller ceremony

By Aditi Khanna
June 13, 2020 18:16 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

The official birthday of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, celebrated with a grand Trooping of the Colour event every year during the second weekend of June, was marked with a new low-key ceremony on Saturday as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

IMAGE: Queen Elizabeth II attends a ceremony to mark her official birthday at Windsor Castle on in Windsor, England. The Queen celebrates her 94th birthday this year, in line with government advice, it was agreed that The Queen's Birthday Parade, also known as Trooping the Colour, would not go ahead in its traditional form. Photograph: Paul Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The monarch, who turned 94 in April, was honoured on the grounds of Windsor Castle -- where she is self-isolating with 99-year-old husband Prince Philip -- with a small number of Welsh Guardsmen and military musicians.

 

They gathered, observing the two-metre social distancing norms in place to curb the spread of the deadly virus, to mark the event with a royal salute for the monarch, followed by military drills and then a march on the castle grounds.

With fewer people on parade because of social distancing, "there is no hiding place", said Garrison Sergeant Major Warrant Officer Class 1 Andrew Stokes, who created the display broadcast live on the BBC.

IMAGE: Britain's Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony to mark her official birthday at Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain. Photograph: Toby Melville/Pool/Reuters

"But more spacing between individuals means that there is also no room for errors and so the soldier has to really concentrate on their own personal drill, reaction to orders, dressing and social distancing," he said.

Traditionally, guardsmen stand shoulder-to-shoulder during their drills or when formed up on the parade ground.

"The effects of COVID-19 have been devastating in terms of loss of life and the threatening of livelihoods of so many across the country," said Major General Christopher Ghika, who commands the Household Division.

IMAGE: Members of the Welsh Guards perform in a ceremony to mark Britain's Queen Elizabeth's official birthday at Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain. Photograph: Toby Melville/Pool/Reuters

"The Welsh Guards and many of those on parade have recently been deployed within the United Kingdom as part of the nation's response to the virus and so the context of the ceremony is particularly poignant," he said.

This year marks only the second time in the Queen's 68-year reign that the grand Trooping of the Colour parade in London has not gone ahead. It last had to be cancelled in 1955, three years after the Queen's coronation, due to a national rail strike in the country.

IMAGE: Guardsmen keep social distance as they stand in formation for a ceremony to mark Britain's Queen Elizabeth's official birthday at Windsor Castle. Photograph: Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The annual ceremony brings together all the senior royals to Buckingham Palace, from where they watch the display.

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
Aditi Khanna
Source: PTI© Copyright 2020 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
SHARE THIS STORY