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Why Prince Harry doesn't ride horseback at Trooping the Colour

Unlike his father and brother, Harry was seated in a carriage with Duchess Kate and Camilla

prince harry balcony
Gemma Strong
Gemma StrongOnline Digital News Director
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Trooping the Colour is one of the big highlights in the royal calendar. But this year onlookers were quick to remark on the fact that Prince Harry didn't ride on horseback alongside his father Prince Charles and brother, Prince William. Instead, the 32-year-old travelled in a carriage with his sister-in-law Duchess Kate and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall – and fans want to know why. The answer, it seems, is related to Harry's position within the royal family.

prince harry carriage© Photo: Getty Images

Prince Harry rode in a carriage at the Trooping the Colour

Prince William and Prince Charles are both royal colonels; a position given by the Queen to a member of the royal family who serves as a Colonel-in-Chief of a regiment in the army or the navy. Prince Philip, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward are also royal colonels – however, the title is not enough to warrant riding horseback at the big event. Prince Charles, Prince William and Princess Anne are given that privilege because they are colonels of the Household Division.

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prince william trooping© Photo: Getty Images

Prince Charles and Prince William are both royal colonels of the Household Division

The carriages, meanwhile, are filled with members of the 'immediate' family; Prince Andrew with his two daughters, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice; Prince Edward and Sophie with their children, Lady Louise and Viscount James, and Prince Harry with Kate and Camilla. Harry's niece and nephew, Prince Charlotte and Prince George, are yet to make their carriage debut. They instead remained inside Buckingham Palace until it was time for the traditional balcony appearance and flypast.

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Trooping the Colour originated from traditional preparations for battle as the colours, or flags, were trooped down the rank so they could be seen and recognised by soldiers. In the 18th century, guards from the palaces assembled daily on Horse Guards to 'troop the colours' and in 1748 it was announced that the parade would also mark the monarch's official birthday.