Trooping the Colour Plans Revealed — and There's an Unexpected Change for Queen Elizabeth

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will also be attending the event, but from a different vantage point

Queen Elizabeth II attends a military ceremony in the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle
Queen Elizabeth attends Trooping the Colour in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle to mark her official birthday on June 12, 2021. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth is gearing up for one of her biggest royal traditions: Trooping the Colour!

The Queen will step out alongside the royal family on Thursday for her first official birthday parade since 2019. The past two years have seen pared-down versions at Windsor Castle due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although the monarch is set to appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony for the Royal Air Force flypast alongside her family, she will not be taking part in the main parade, the palace confirmed on Wednesday.

The Queen typically takes the salute during the parade, but her son and heir Prince Charles will instead inspect the troops on his mother's behalf. He will be accompanied on horseback by Prince William and Princess Anne. The Queen will then take her salute on the palace balcony alongside her cousin the Duke of Kent after the troops have conducted their parade.

The decision comes after several days of discussions behind the scenes about how to handle the arrangements in light of the Queen's ongoing mobility issues.

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Over 1,000 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians will come together in a great display of military precision, horsemanship and fanfare during the parade. Senior royal family members, including Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, are expected to take part in a carriage procession or travel by horse.

Trooping Of The Colour 2021 at Windsor Castle

Many royal family members, including Kate Middleton, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex and their children Lady Louis and James, Viscount Severn, will take part in the carriage procession from the palace down the Mall to the Horse Guards Parade.

It's unknown whether Kate and William's children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis will join them in the procession. However, the young siblings are expected to appear on the balcony for the famous flypast by Royal Air Force jets.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 08: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Louis of Cambridge, Prince George of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge watch a flypast from the balcony of Buckingham Palace during Trooping The Colour, the Queen's annual birthday parade, on June 8, 2019 in London, England. The annual ceremony involving over 1400 guardsmen and cavalry, is believed to have first been performed during the reign of King Charles II. The parade marks the official birthday of the Sovereign, although the Queen's actual birthday is on April 21st. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Prince George in the Amaia outfit in 2019. Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

Although Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will not be appearing in the parade or during the balcony appearance, they will take part in the festive occasion by joining other royal family members in viewing the parade from the Major General's Office, which overlooks the Horse Guards Parade.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex "look forward" to watching the annual Trooping parade "from the Major General's Office tomorrow," a spokesperson for the couple told PEOPLE.

Harry and Meghan are also expected to attend the National Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul's Cathedral on Friday.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 28: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards, leads the Colonels Review on Horse Guards Parade on May 28, 2022 in London, England. The Colonel's Review is the final evaluation of the Trooping the Colour parade before the event which will take place on Thursday, June 02, in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee. This year, it will be the Irish Guards Trooping their Colour, with the Duke of Cambridge evaluating the parade in his role as the regiment's Colonel. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
Prince William at last week's inspection. Hollie Adams/Getty

The Queen's son, Prince Andrew, will not be attending Trooping the Colour in any capacity as he is no longer a working royal following his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

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Trooping the Colour will serve as the kick off for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations that commemorate the monarch's historic 70 years on the throne.

Last Saturday, Prince William, 39, as holder of the honorary position of Colonel of the regiment, was tasked with looking over the dress rehearsal for the parade to evaluate the troops ahead of their big performance.

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