Queen Elizabeth II marked her official birthday on Saturday with the annual Trooping the Colour parade, a traditional display of British pageantry at its very best.

The parade has marked the official birthday of the reigning British monarch for more than 260 years, and this year featured more than 1,400 soldiers, nearly 300 horses and 400 musicians in a ceremony on Horse Guards Parade in Westminster.

The display closed with a fly-past by Britain’s Royal Air Force.

Members of the British royal family appear in the balcony of Buckingham Palace. — Reuters
Members of the British royal family appear in the balcony of Buckingham Palace. — Reuters
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II's Birthday Parade, 'Trooping the Colour', is performed in Horseguards parade in London on June 8. — AFP
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II’s Birthday Parade, ‘Trooping the Colour’, is performed in Horseguards parade in London on June 8. — AFP
Members of the Grenadier Guards perform. — AFP
Members of the Grenadier Guards perform. — AFP
The Massed Bands perform. — Photo courtesy @RoyalFamily
The Massed Bands perform. — Photo courtesy @RoyalFamily
The King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, a ceremonial unit of the British Army is pictured taking part in the parade. — Photo courtesy @RoyalFamily
The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, a ceremonial unit of the British Army is pictured taking part in the parade. — Photo courtesy @RoyalFamily
Troopers of the Blues and Royals at the Trooping the Colour parade. — Photo courtesy @RoyalFamily
Troopers of the Blues and Royals at the Trooping the Colour parade. — Photo courtesy @RoyalFamily
A soldier falls from his horse during the annual Trooping the Colour Ceremony in London. — AP
A soldier falls from his horse during the annual Trooping the Colour Ceremony in London. — AP
Britain's Red Arrows, the flying display team of the Royal Air Force (RAF) fly over The Queen Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace, watched by members of the Royal Family on the balcony. — AFP
Britain’s Red Arrows, the flying display team of the Royal Air Force (RAF) fly over The Queen Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace, watched by members of the Royal Family on the balcony. — AFP
Airplanes of the Red Arrows fly over Buckingham Palace. — AP
Airplanes of the Red Arrows fly over Buckingham Palace. — AP
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge holding Prince Louis, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Britain's Princess Beatrice of York, Britain's Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's Princess Eugenie of York, Britain's Lady Louise Windsor, Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, James, Viscount Severn and Isla Phillips stand with other members of the Royal Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch a fly-past of aircraft by the Royal Air Force. — AFP
Britain’s Prince William, Duke of Cambridge holding Prince Louis, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Britain’s Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Britain’s Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, Britain’s Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Britain’s Princess Beatrice of York, Britain’s Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s Princess Eugenie of York, Britain’s Lady Louise Windsor, Britain’s Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Britain’s Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, James, Viscount Severn and Isla Phillips stand with other members of the Royal Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch a fly-past of aircraft by the Royal Air Force. — AFP

Royals taking part included Prince Charles, Prince William and his wife Kate, and Prince Harry and his wife Meghan who appeared in her first public outing since giving birth to their son, Archie, to watch the birthday fly-past of military aircraft.

Baby Archie did not appear, but another young royal almost stole the queen’s limelight when he made his debut on Buckingham Palace’s balcony. One-year-old Prince Louis, the youngest child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, waved frantically at the first of the helicopters in the show.

Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (L) and Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (R) make their way in a horse drawn carriage to Horseguards parade ahead of the Queen's Birthday Parade. — AFP
Britain’s Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (L) and Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (R) make their way in a horse drawn carriage to Horseguards parade ahead of the Queen’s Birthday Parade. — AFP
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (R) smiles as she chats with Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex as they return to Buckingham Palace after the Queen's Birthday Parade. — AFP
Britain’s Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (R) smiles as she chats with Britain’s Meghan, Duchess of Sussex as they return to Buckingham Palace after the Queen’s Birthday Parade. — AFP
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge smiles as she returns to Buckingham Palace. — AFP
Britain’s Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge smiles as she returns to Buckingham Palace. — AFP
Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex returns to Buckingham Palace after the Queen's Birthday Parade and her first royal engagement since the birth of her son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. — AFP
Britain’s Meghan, Duchess of Sussex returns to Buckingham Palace after the Queen’s Birthday Parade and her first royal engagement since the birth of her son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. — AFP

The queen marks her birthday twice a year an official ceremony is always held in June, in hopes of holding the parade in good weather. Her actual birthday, on April 21, is usually celebrated with close family only.

Thousands of spectators lined the parade ground and gathered in nearby St James’s park to watch the spectacle in sparkling sunshine. They then walked down the road leading to Buckingham Palace, gathering at the gates to honor the monarch ahead of the fly-past, the punctuation mark of the annual event.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth takes part in the Trooping the Colour parade. — Reuters
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth takes part in the Trooping the Colour parade. — Reuters
Britain's Queen Elizabeth pictured in her horse-drawn carriage as she participates in the Trooping the Colour parade in central London, Britain. — AFP
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth pictured in her horse-drawn carriage as she participates in the Trooping the Colour parade in central London, Britain. — AFP
A full view and close up of the Queen's horse-drawn carriage. —Reuters
A full view and close up of the Queen’s horse-drawn carriage. —Reuters
The Queen headed back to Buckingham Palace. — Photo courtesy @RoyalFamily
The Queen headed back to Buckingham Palace. — Photo courtesy @RoyalFamily

It’s been a big week for the monarch. Demonstrating the close link between the monarchy and the armed forces, she was the centre of ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, the invasion of France that marked the beginning of the end of the Nazis.

But if the 93-year-old sovereign was tired, it didn’t show. She waved and smiled as she emerged on the balcony and the crowd roared.

The ceremony originated from traditional preparations for battle. The colors or flags were “trooped,” or carried down the lines of soldiers, so they could be seen and recognised in battle. The regimental flag being paraded this year is from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.

The Colour of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards is being trooped at the Queen's Birthday Parade. — Photo courtesy @RoyalFamily
The Colour of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards is being trooped at the Queen’s Birthday Parade. — Photo courtesy @RoyalFamily
The Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) taking part in her first Trooping The Colour parade in 1947. — Photo courtesy @RoyalFamily
The Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) taking part in her first Trooping The Colour parade in 1947. — Photo courtesy @RoyalFamily

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