Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, joined members of Britain’s royal family Saturday as they celebrated Queen Elizabeth II’s official birthday with the traditional Trooping the Colour, a spectacular military parade.
Waiting crowds greeted the couple with cheers as they emerged from the palace. Their appearance comes three weeks after their wedding in Windsor, a ceremony watched by people from around the world.
The Queen, dressed in blue, rode by herself in an open carriage. Her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, turns 97 on Sunday and has retired from public duties.
Prince William’s wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, traveled with her mother-in-law, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, to Horse Guards Parade.
The monarch is technically the head of Britain’s armed forces and would traditionally lead an army into war. The parade gives the Queen a chance to review and approve her army.
In earlier years, the Queen would ride sidesaddle on horseback to greet the public.
Buckingham Palace tweeted that Elizabeth had attended the Trooping the Colour every year of her reign except for 1955 when the event was canceled because of a general strike.
This year’s parade was notable as the first time a member of the Coldstream Guards took part wearing a turban. British Sikh Guardsman Charanpreet Singh Lall, 22, told the Press Association news agency that he hoped people watching would “look at it as a new change in history.”
“I hope that more people like me, not just Sikhs but from other religions and different backgrounds, that they will be encouraged to join the army,” he said.
After the parade, the royal family joined the nation’s longest-serving monarch on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for a wave to the gathered crowds and an exhilarating flypast by Royal Air Force aircraft, including the famous Red Arrows display team.
William and Catherine’s older children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, enjoyed the spectacle from the balcony, but the couple’s third child, 6-week-old Prince Louis, didn’t make an appearance.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex watched the aerial display from a spot on the balcony behind the Queen, Prince Charles and Camilla.
The ceremony, one of the most high-profile royal events of the year, culminated with the singing of the national anthem. A 41-gun salute will also be fired in nearby Green Park to mark the occasion.
The Queen makes use of her official birthday, usually celebrated on the second Saturday in June, to award honors to members of the public for their service to the nation.
The Queen’s actual birthday was on April 21 when she turned 92.
Buckingham Palace said Friday that the Queen underwent successful cataract surgery in May. It is understood the procedure took place before Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding on May 19.