Thousands filled The Mall after the Trooping the Colour ceremony ended and greeted the King with cheers and applause as he led members of the royal family onto the balcony of Buckingham Palace, as Pablo Taylor reports
The King has received the official birthday wishes of the nation during his first Trooping the Colour ceremony as monarch - while it was Prince Louis who became the star of the show.
Charles and the Queen acknowledged with a wave the thousands of wellwishers in The Mall who sang the National Anthem and gave three cheers after his official birthday was celebrated with a display of pomp and military pageantry.
After the Trooping the Colour ceremony ended, Charles led members of the royal family onto the balcony of Buckingham Palace, including the Prince and Princess of Wales with their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Louis.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, all eyes were on the King's five-year-old grandson, Louis, who rose to the occasion by saluting during the traditional Trooping flypast, which was extended because the coronation aerial display had been cut back in May due to bad weather.
The young royal, whose antics during some of the late Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations last year endeared him to many, also seemed to pretend to ride a motorcycle or bike with his arms outstretched.
Charles deputised for Queen Elizabeth II at last year’s event, also known as the Birthday Parade, but this year rode onto Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall as the nation’s sovereign.
He was joined on horseback by the royal colonels – the Prince of Wales, Colonel, Welsh Guards; the Princess Royal, Gold Stick in Waiting and Colonel of The Blues and Royals; and the Duke of Edinburgh, riding for the first time in his role as Colonel of the 1st Battalion London Guards, formed last year.
Travelling in a carriage were the Queen, who is Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, and the Princess of Wales as Colonel of the Irish Guards, along with Prince George, nine, Princess Charlotte, eight, and five-year-old Prince Louis.
The royal party were in the midst of a sovereign’s mounted escort, formed by troops from the Household Cavalry’s Life Guards and Blues and Royals, in their shining breastplates and plumed helmets, and a ripple of cheers followed them when they travelled along The Mall.
Soon after the King arrived on the parade ground the national anthem was played as a mark of respect and Charles had to steady his horse but it would not settle and a groom stepped forward to help.
The King began the ceremony by inspecting the lines of guardsmen on the parade ground, casting a critical eye over the soldiers, formed in two lines, as he rode past.
William, Anne, and Edward rode behind Charles while Camilla and Kate were in a carriage – a symbolic image of the royal family supporting their King as another milestone was reached.
The Queen and the princess wore contrasting outfits, with Camilla in a red silk dress that took inspiration from her regiment, the Grenadier Guards, while Kate was in a striking green dress by Andrew Gn and matching hat by Philip Treacy in honour of her Irish Guards.
The pair later took their seats on a dais with the Duke of Kent, Colonel, Scots Guards, to watch the march past of the troops – a first for the royal women – while the King and the other royal colonels remained on horseback alongside.
One of the highlights of the flypast above Buckingham Palace saw 18 Typhoon fighter jets spelling out the King’s monogram “CR” for Charles Rex.
Another was the sight of aircraft associated with the Second World War, with Spitfire and Hurricane fighters flying with a Lancaster bomber, all from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
As the planes roared overhead Kate encouraged Prince George to wave to the crowds and she smoothed down Prince Louis’ hair and ushered him to turn and face the spectators.
The finale was precision formation flying from the Red Arrows who trailed red, white and blue smoke over the capital.
The sight of a monarch riding throughout Trooping the Colour had not happened since 1986 when the Queen rode her charger Burmese for the final time.
It was a gift from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Charles’ horse Noble was also from the Commonwealth country’s famous Mounties.
Trooping the Colour is a social as well as a ceremonial occasion and in the stands overlooking the parade ground were around 8,000 wives, girlfriends and parents of the guardsmen and officers on parade.
The event featured around 1,500 soldiers in total and hundreds of Guardsmen were lined up on the parade ground waiting to be inspected by King, who will be joined by the mounted royal Colonels, including the Queen and Kate in a carriage.
For the first time since 1989, all five regiments of Foot Guards – the Welsh, Scots, Irish, Coldstream and Grenadier – were on parade together for Trooping.
The colour, or regimental flag, that will be trooped in front of hundreds of Guardsmen and officers will be the King’s Colour of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards.
Among the guests was Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the Duchess of Edinburgh, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence and senior military figures.
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