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Kate is one of the family as the royals gather for happiest Trooping the Colour in years

12 JUNE 2011

The Duchess of Cambridge shows just how warmly she’s been welcomed by the royal family in her first appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace since her spectacular wedding day.

Looking supremely relaxed and elegant as always, Kate paid special attention to the younger members of the clan at the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony, marking the Queen’s official birthday on June 11.

The new darling of the fashion press was the focus of attention again, in a dramatic wide-brimmed hat, believed to be by Vivien Sheriff, and a fitted white coat with an unusual peplum-style skirt.

 

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Perhaps mindful that the excitement of the fly past was all too much for one of her bridesmaids on April 29, the new royal chatted with the youngsters, thus ensuring they weren’t alarmed by the noise of Saturday’s aerial display.

It was a telling detail in a day, that despite its pomp and pageantry, had all the hallmarks of a real family celebration.

Some years ago it would have been unthinkable to imagine the Windsors so obviously enjoying each other’s company.

 

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Yet, here they were sharing lighthearted moments, laughing and joking with each other, while still respecting the formality of the proceedings.

It was the first time that Prince William had taken part in the parade that traditionally precedes the balcony appearance.

And, though the Prince admitted to some nerves beforehand, he carried off his role with aplomb, resplendent in a scarlet tunic identical to the one he wore to get married, marking his appointment as Colonel of the Irish Guards, as well as a bearskin cap.

Confidently mounted on a grey charger named Wellesley, he rode alongside the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Kent and the Princess Royal.

 

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Watching full of pride from a horse-drawn barouche was his wife, who was seated alongside Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Opposite the two ladies were Prince Andrew and Prince Harry, wearing the uniform of the Blues and Royals regiment and the blue beret of the Army Air Corps.

The ceremony they were enjoying is a re-enactment of the traditional preparations for battle when the Colours, or flags of a regiment were "trooped" down the ranks in order to be recognised by soldiers.

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Her Majesty’s actual birthday is in April. But it is officially celebrated in June because there’s a chance of warmer weather.

The lady in whose honour they’d gathered couldn’t have looked more thrilled at having her nearest and dearest around her for the age old procession.

At one point, the Queen was seen, her face wreathed in happiness, exchanging a few words with Prince Philip, who turned 90 at the weekend.

And, while neither of them are given to effusive sentiments, it wouldn’t be surprising if the royal couple, who’ve been married 63 years, were remarking on just how fortunate they are to be surrounded by such a large and loving family.



Don't miss full coverage of the celebrations in this week's HELLO! on sale Tuesday June 14

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