Queen Elizabeth II, 94, cut a lonely figure as she watched a pared-back Trooping the Colour parade at Windsor Castle on June 13. While the Queen’s official birthday celebrations usually amount to a huge Royal Family reunion, the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to the gathering this year.
The Queen and Prince Philip, 99, have been based at Windsor Castle since early March and while the Duke of Edinburgh appeared in a new photo to mark his birthday last week, he did not join his wife in the quadrangle to watch Saturday’s display given by the Welsh Guards.
While Prince Philip retired from public life in 2017 at the age of 96, the Queen shows no hint of retiring despite the extraordinary circumstances.
At 94, the Queen will have to be extremely cautious with how she returns to the public sphere.
However, a royal commentator has hinted that Saturday’s parade showed what the “new normal” could look like for the monarchy.
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Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams, shared his thoughts on the “scaled-down” ceremony with Express.co.uk.
Mr Fitzwilliams said: “Each year the Queen’s official birthday is eagerly awaited when the ceremony of Trooping the Colour is commemorated on Horse Guards. It is followed by the appearance of members of the royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace followed by a flypast.
“This year, the Queen together with Prince Philip, are isolating at Windsor Castle during the pandemic.”
Mr Fitzwilliam claimed that while Philip did not appear beside the Queen, he is likely to have watched the parade from a window at Windsor Castle.
He said: “It was colourful and imaginative and handled with precision. We excel at ceremonial and the world admires us for it.
“What was striking was that, in accordance with government advice, the guardsmen self-distanced during the ceremony which made it a challenge to perform.
“The Colour, which was due to have been trooped on Horse Guards this year, was paraded in front of them.
“This links to the origins of the Trooping the Colour when amidst the chaos of battle, the colour served as a rallying point.
“The Welsh Guards are the most junior of the five regiments of Foot Guards, being formed by order of George V in 1915.
“They are distinguished by the green and white plume on their bearskin and by having their buttons in fives.”
Mr Fitzwilliams claimed the 20-minute ceremony was “a fitting tribute” to the Queen.
He added: “It was beautifully handled and a fitting tribute to a unique monarch. It was also performed in the Quadrangle of the oldest and largest occupied Castle in the world.”
The Queen marked her actual birthday on April 21 but the traditional gun salutes did not go ahead due to coronavirus.
Mr Fitzwilliams claimed Saturday’s parade boosted Britain’s morale that it, along with Prince Charles and Camilla’s meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron next week, signal the monarchy’s “cautious” return to a “new normal.”
He said: “The Queen has two birthdays, as every monarch has since George 11, but owing to the pandemic, her birthday in April was not commemorated with the usual gun salutes.
“As lockdown is cautiously lifted, it is important also to lift the nation’s morale.
“This ceremony and the news that President Macron of France will be paying a visit to Britain, to be greeted by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at Clarence House next week, marks a gradual move towards a “new normal”.