Queen’s birthday marked with smaller ceremony due to coronavirus pandemic

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Queen Elizabeth’s birthday was marked Saturday with a smaller ceremony than usual, as the annual Trooping the Colour parade was cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The extravagant display of pomp and pageantry, a highlight of the royal calendar that typically attracts thousands of tourists to line the streets of central London, has only been cancelled once before during almost 70 years of the Queen’s reign — in 1955, during a national rail strike.

This year, a small number of soldiers and military musicians paid tribute to the monarch at Windsor Castle. The Queen received a royal salute, followed by military drills. Soldiers marched on the castle grounds in accordance with social distancing rules.

The Queen celebrated her 94th birthday on April 21, but her “official” birthday has always been marked with the Trooping the Colour parade in June. The “colours” refer to the flags representing the different regiments of the British Army.

The event usually features hundreds of parading soldiers and horses, a carriage procession by the royal family, and a Royal Air Force flypast over Buckingham Palace.

Guardsmen keep social distance as they stand in formation for a ceremony to mark the Queen’s official birthday at Windsor Castle. (Toby Melville/WPA pool/Getty Images)

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