The official Platinum Jubilee celebrations have kicked off with the first event of the bank holiday weekend, Trooping the Colour.
READ: Kate Middleton and her children bow their heads in unison during Trooping the Colour
On Thursday morning, the Queen led her family in marking her annual birthday parade – a military spectacle that involved more than 1,200 officers and soldiers and 240 horses from the Household Division putting on a display of pageantry. Hundreds of army musicians also added to the festivities as the colour was trooped by the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards.
WATCH: Princess Charlotte has cheeky moment with Prince Louis at Trooping the Colour
Thousands of royal fans descended on the Mall in central London to watch the parade and see the Queen and members of her family. See the best photos from the day below…
READ: Prince Louis had the sweetest unseen moment at Trooping the Colour
Kate was joined by Camilla and her three children in one carriage
Trooping the Colour is an exciting event in the royal diary, full of pomp and ceremony. The Queen was on fitting form as she attended her first wide-scale birthday event since the pandemic. While many of us would like to celebrate our birthdays twice a year, this tradition is reserved for the monarch.
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It started in 1748 with George II, who was born in chilly November. Instead of risking his subjects catching a cold, he combined his birthday celebration with the annual spring parade known as Trooping the Colour, hence why a British sovereign's birthday is now also celebrated on a day other than their actual birth date.
George, Charlotte and Louis rode opposite their mum as they made their carriage debut
The Queen usually rides in a carriage from Buckingham Palace to Horse Guards Parade to see the colour trooped. In her younger years, she also took part in the military event on horseback. But given her mobility issues, this year the Queen, 96, will take the salute from the palace balcony to avoid her making the journey by carriage or sitting on a dais for a lengthy period of time.
The children sweetly waved at crowds
At Thursday's event, Prince Charles, Prince William - who is colonel of the Irish Guards regiment - and Princess Anne travelled by horseback to Horse Guards Parade where Charles took the salute and inspected the Troops of the Household Division on his mother's behalf.
READ: Princess Charlotte has cheeky moment with Prince Louis during parade
Prince Edward and Sophie were accompanied by their teenage children in one carriage
Meanwhile, other members of the royal family travelled to Horse Guards Parade in carriages. The Duchess of Cambridge was her typically elegant self in a white coat dress by Alexander McQueen and a hat by Philip Treacy. She was joined by her three children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, and Prince Charles's wife the Duchess of Cornwall, who also looked lovely in blue, in one carriage.
Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn sat opposite their children
The Earl and the Countess of Wessex were accompanied by their two children, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount, Severn in another carriage.
The Gloucesters rode one carriage with Princess Anne's husband Sir Tim Laurence
The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, also shared another carriage.
After arriving at Horse Guards Parade, the royals then watched the parade from the Major General's Office.
Prince William and Princess Anne rode on horseback during the parade
Prince Harry and Meghan, Princess Beatrice, and Mike Tindall were among the royals who were spotted watching from the windows of the Major General's Office.
Princess Beatrice watched the parade with George, Louis, Charlotte and Mia Tindall
Kate and her children also watched from the same location after riding in their carriage.
The Cambridges watched from the event from Major General's Office
Upon the return of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and the Guards, the Queen took the salute from the balcony of Buckingham Palace, accompanied by the Duke of Kent, Colonel, Scots Guards.
The Queen appeared halfway through the ceremony from the palace balcony
The monarch appeared in great spirits, smiling at the crowds and taking the atmosphere in.
Her Angela Kelly outfit - which she also wore for her official Jubilee portrait - comprised a dusky dove blue Charmelaine wool dress embellished with pearl and diamante trim around the neckline and cascading down the front of the coat. It was completed with a hat in matching dusky dove blue Charmelaine wool with a turned up brim embellished with a pearl and diamante trim.
The Queen wore the Guards' Badge on her coat
The Queen, who was holding a walking stick, was also wearing the Guards' Badge on her coat.
At 1pm, Her Majesty and a select number of royals made their way out onto the balcony to watch the RAF flypast. Huge cheers of "hooray" erupted from the thousands of royal fans on The Mall in front of the palace.
Working royals were invited to join the Queen on the balcony
This year, the balcony line-up was a scaled-down affair, with only working royals and some of the children invited to watch the flypast. They included Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince William, Kate and their three children, the Wessex family and Princess Anne.
Prince Louis shared a sweet moment with the Queen
Prince Louis shared a sweet moment with his great-grandmother as they were spotted chatting away, while the four-year-old also looked up to the skies and waved.
The sound of the aircraft got a bit too much for Louis
The royals looked thrilled to be watching the six-minute display that featured more than 70 aircraft fly over the palace from the Royal Navy, the Army and Royal Air Force.
Thousands of people lined the Mall to watch the flypast
First to appear in the London skies were the Royal Navy Wildcat, Royal Navy Merlin and British Army Apache helicopters. The famous Red Arrows also made their approach to Buckingham Palace via flying north of Colchester and Chelmsford, Essex, before heading straight down The Mall and over Buckingham Palace.
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