Queen to be joined by cousin for scaled back birthday celebrations

·Royal Correspondent
·4-min read

Watch: Trooping the Colour cancelled for second year

The Queen will be joined by her cousin for a scaled back Trooping the Colour next weekend to mark her official birthday.

The monarch has chosen to have the Duke of Kent by her side as she enjoys a smaller version of the annual celebration.

The parade will take place at Windsor Castle where the Queen has been living since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

It is the second year in a row her official celebrations have had to be dramatically reduced because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2020, the Queen watched alone as members of the armed forces performed a socially distanced version of Trooping the Colour in the Quadrangle of the Berkshire castle.

But thanks to an easing of restrictions, and the rollout of the vaccine, she can have company this year. 

Unlike the usual numbers who stand on the balcony at Buckingham Palace for a full Trooping, she has chosen just to ask the Duke of Kent to join her.

He carries out duties on her behalf throughout the year as a working royal. He also attended Prince Philip's funeral in April.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 14:  Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge talks with Prince Edward, Duke of Kent after the trophy presentations of the Mens's Singles Final at The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship at the All England Lawn and Tennis Club at Wimbledon on July 14, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)
The Duchess of Cambridge with Prince Edward, Duke of Kent at The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship in 2019. (Getty)

Read more: When is the Queen's Platinum Jubilee bank holiday and what's happening?

In a statement, Buckingham Palace said of the plans for the 2021 Trooping: "The Queen will view a military parade in the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle to mark Her Majesty’s Official Birthday, on Saturday 12th June. 

"The parade will be held by the Household Division, and The Queen’s Colour of F Company Scots Guards will be trooped. His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, Colonel, Scots Guards, will accompany The Queen.

"The parade will be led by the Foot Guards, who will be joined in the Quadrangle by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. 

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - JUNE 13: Queen Elizabeth II attends Trooping The Colour, the Queen's birthday ceremony at Windsor Castle on June 13, 2020 in Windsor, England. 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. (Photo by Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
The Queen at Trooping The Colour, the Queen's birthday ceremony at Windsor Castle in 2020 in Windsor. (Wire Image)

"Music will be played by a Massed Band of the Household Division, which will include 1st Battalion Scots Guards Pipes and Drums.

"Upon the Queen and the Duke of Kent’s arrival in the Quadrangle, Her Majesty and His Royal Highness will be greeted by a Royal Salute, and the National Anthem. 

"The parade will commence with the Musical Troop as the Band plays. The Colour will then be trooped through the ranks, and the parade will conclude with a second Royal Salute.

"The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will then fire a 41 Gun Royal Salute, to mark Her Majesty’s Official Birthday, from the East Lawn at Windsor Castle."

WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 13: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Queen Elizabeth II attends a military ceremony in the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle to mark her Official Birthday on June 13, 2020 in Windsor, England. It was decided that due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic The Queen's Birthday Parade, known as Trooping the Colour, would not go ahead in it's traditional form at Buckingham Palace and Horse Guards Parade, but a small military ceremony in line with the Government's Social Distancing Guidelines would take place at Windsor Castle instead. Soldiers of 1st Battalion Welsh Guards (whose Colour was due to be Trooped this year) will carry out a series of military drills and Royal Salute. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
The Queen had a smaller ceremony last year and attended alone. (Getty)

Read more: Why does the Queen have two birthdays?

The palace will be hoping this is the last time a smaller Trooping the Colour has to be planned, and has already set out details for next year's return to the full scale event.

Next year is the Queen's platinum jubilee, with the nation set to celebrate 70 years of her reign.

Buckingham Palace announced the Trooping the Colour will be moved from the second Saturday in June to the first Thursday of that month, which is going to be a bank holiday.

The parade will take place in London as it did in 2019 and for decades previously, and will include a flypast of the RAF, which members of the Royal Family will watch from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

Trooping the Colour was an annual parade that was co-opted by King George II as his birthday celebrations because his November birthday did not provide reliable weather.

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - JUNE 13:  Queen Elizabeth II attends a ceremony to mark her official birthday at Windsor Castle on June 13, 2020 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. (Photo by Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Queen during the 2020 Trooping the Colour, which was held at Windsor Castle. (Getty)

The tradition has stuck, though the Queen moved the regular date from the second Thursday in June to the second Saturday in the same month in 1959.

Trooping the Colour involves more than 1,400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians, who perform with military precision.

The parade moves between Buckingham Palace, The Mall and Horseguards’ Parade.

In March 2021, the palace confirmed the summer's Trooping would be cancelled in its full London form, saying: "Options for an alternative Parade, in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle, are being considered."

The Queen's real birthday is in April, and this year she turned 95 while still in a period of mourning for her late husband Prince Philip, who died on 9 April. 

Usually crowds would line the streets of London for a glimpse of the Trooping parade but will be unable to this year.

The parade will be shown on television on 12 June.

Watch: Queen’s Platinum Jubilee plans set with extra Bank Holiday