Queen Elizabeth Attends Downsized Public Ceremony Due to COVID-19
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LONDON - In a sign of the times and for the first time in her 68-year reign, Queen Elizabeth watched the traditional military competition Trooping the Color at Windsor Castle without her family at her side.
Trooping the Color is an annual ceremony marking the official birthday of the British monarch regardless of when he or she was born. This year's event was reduced to a "mini-trooping" due to quarantine and social detachment measures in accordance with COVID-19.
Trooping the Color, a tradition that began in 1748, takes place every year on the second Saturday in June. At the end of the military parade, the queen and members of the royal family traditionally gather on Buckingham Palace balcony to watch the RAF flight route.
What a difference a year can make: Last June, Meghan Markle, wearing a midnight blue Givenchy dress by Clare Waight Keller and a hat by Noel Stewart, drove with her husband Prince Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge to Buckingham Palace in a carriage the event.
The Duchess of Sussex had taken a break from her maternity leave to attend the ceremony. Now she and Prince Harry live in California and no longer have royal duties.
Last year during the ceremony, Prince William, who holds the position of Royal Colonel of the Irish Guard, rode up the Mall in London alongside Princess Anne and Prince Andrew. Last year, Prince Andrew had to step down from all royal duties due to his ties to the convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who died in prison last summer.
Due to closure and quarantine measures in England, the Queen and her husband Prince Philip, who celebrated his 99th birthday last week, lived at Windsor Castle outside London.
On Saturday, the Queen was the only family member who saw socially distant members of the Welsh Guard marching in a drastically shrunk ceremony.
The queen, two officers at her side, sat on a podium during the event. This was her first official public appearance since the blockade began. The marching soldiers were accompanied by a gang from the household department.
The ceremony took place when thousands of right-wing activists and football fans fell in central London near Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament to "protect" symbols of British history and "guard our monuments," the BBC said.
They gathered despite government warnings that people should distance themselves socially. A protest against Black Lives Matter was canceled for Saturday due to plans for the counter-demonstrations, while the government has said all protests must end at 5:00 p.m. Local time today. BLM rallies and demonstrations still take place in London and elsewhere.
Priti Patel, the British Home Secretary, condemned Saturday's "unacceptable brawl" of protesters clashing with the police when they were facing monuments. They threw glass bottles and other missiles at the police.
Monuments to historical figures across Britain, some of whom made their money in the slave trade, were overthrown or blurred during the anti-racism protests. The protests in Britain were infiltrated by extreme, violent factions on the left and right.
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