Queen is ALL SMILES as Kate and kids join her on palace balcony for 'Trooping the Colour' ceremony
Queen Elizabeth II looked resplendent as she was joined by fellow royals to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years on the throne. However, Harry and Meghan Markle took a backseat as the Queen allowed only "working royals" to appear for the public-facing moments. The 96-year-old monarch is commemorating her long reign with a four-day celebration.
The proceedings kicked off with Trooping the Colour ceremony on Thursday, June 2. The traditional ceremony has marked the official birthday of the British Sovereign for over 260 years. Her Majesty smiled for her supporters as hordes of patriotic Brits had gathered to applaud her. She was joined by senior royals, including Prince Charles, Prince William, and Kate Middleton, for the RAF flypast on the Buckingham Palace balcony. Meanwhile, the missing faces included Prince Andrew, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle after the Queen limited the balcony line-up to working royals only.
The skies turned red, white, and blue as 71 aircrafts took flight in London as part of the Red Arrows. Prince Louis was pictured dramatically covering his ears to block out the sound. The youngster was later pictured chatting with the Queen as he stood next to her. This came as swathes of royal fans gathered at the Union Jack-lined Mall in honor of the Queen's impeccable service to the country.
At least 1,200 officers and soldiers from the Household Division were part of the Birthday Parade on Thursday morning, thus marking the first event of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee bonanza. Meanwhile, mounted troops from the 1st battalion and Irish Guards joined nearly 400 musicians and 240 horses for the Horse Guards Parade. Prince Charles, who has stepped up his royal responsibilities, inspected the soldiers on the Queen's behalf.
Meghan was spotted at the Horse Guards Parade with Zara Tindall's two daughters. The Duchess of Sussex appeared to be having a good time as she chatted with Savannah and Mia while taking a backseat in the celebrations. She was joined by Prince Harry, Beatrice and Eugenie, and Zara at the Major General's Office. That said, it wasn't clear if Archie and Lillibet were in attendance, despite having traveled to the UK with their parents. As mentioned, Prince Andrew was also not spotted at the festivities following his alleged sex scandal.
Kate Middleton turned heads in a white Alexander McQueen dress and earrings previously worn by Princess Diana. She was spotted in a carriage amid jubilant cheers as she was joined by Prince George, Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte, and Camilla. Meanwhile, Princess Anne and Charles reportedly lead the charge alongside Prince William as they took their own horses to the Parade.
Patriotic Brits flocked to central London to celebrate the nation's longest-reigning monarch. Revelers pitched tents and camped in advance so they could get the best seats for the biggest royal bash of all time. Watering holes and clubs are also open until 1 am, after the Queen herself called on the nation to make "happy memories" during an official Platinum Jubilee program.
“Thank you to everyone who has been involved in convening communities, families, neighbors, and friends to mark my Platinum Jubilee, in the United Kingdom and across the Commonwealth," she said in a statement. “I know that many happy memories will be created at these festive occasions. I continue to be inspired by the goodwill shown to me, and hope that the coming days will provide an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved during the last seventy years, as we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm," she added.