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Duchess of Sussex experiences first Trooping the Colour parade

Meghan experienced the pomp and pageantry of the event for the first time when she arrived on Horse Guards Parade with Harry

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have joined the nation and the monarchy in celebrating the Queen’s official birthday at the Trooping the Colour ceremony.

Meghan experienced the pomp and pageantry of the event for the first time when she arrived on Horse Guards Parade with Harry in a carriage, along with the Queen’s cousin the Duke of Kent.

The couple were greeted by the sight of hundreds of Guardsmen in their scarlet tunics and bearskins lined up on the parade ground – Henry VIII’s former jousting yard – as the event began.

The duke and duchess, who married exactly three weeks today, travelled from Buckingham Palace along the Mall to cheers from royal fans gathered in the famous London thoroughfare.

The Duchess of Cornwall and Duchess of Cambridge were in another carriage while a third carried Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, the Countess of Wessex and her daughter Lady Louise.

Trooping the Colour is a ceremonial spectacle that brings together prestigious regiments and the families of the serving men and women in celebration of the monarch’s official birthday.

Stands lining Horse Guards were filled with the wives, girlfriends and parents of the servicemen who when not performing ceremonial duties are fighting soldiers.

Meghan, Harry and the other members of the royal family took their place in Wellington’s former office which overlooks the parade ground.

The Duchess of Sussex wore a dress by Carolina Herrera and a hat by Philip Treacy, while Kate wore a dress by Alexander McQueen and a hat by Juliette Botterill.

Camilla wore a pale blue silk dress and coat by Bruce Oldfield and a hat by Philip Treacy.

The Queen soon made her entrance onto Horse Guards in an Ascot Landau after making her journey from her famous London home Buckingham Palace.

Her procession was accompanied by a Sovereign’s Escort of the Household Cavalry, made up of Life Guards and Blues and Royals, in their silver and gold breastplates and plumed helmets.

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The Queen on the way to Horse Guards Parade (Yui Mok/PA)

The 7,500 guests seated in stands lining the parade ground stood as a mark of respect as the monarch arrived and began inspecting the massed ranks of the troops.

The Duke of Edinburgh, who celebrates his 97th birthday on Sunday, has retired from official public duties and did not attend.

But the Queen was accompanied by the royal colonels, all on horseback: Prince of Wales, Colonel of the Welsh Guards, the Princess Royal, Colonel of the Blues and Royals, and the Duke of Cambridge, Colonel of the Irish Guards.

Also riding in the ceremony for the first time was the Duke of York in his new role as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards.

Among the guests was Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, the Prime Minister Theresa May normally attends but is at a G7 meeting of world leaders in Canada.

The colour trooped this year was the flag of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards.

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Members of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Trooping the Colour originated from traditional preparations for battle.

Colours, or flags, were carried, or “trooped”, down the rank so that they could be seen and recognised by the soldiers.

In the 18th century, guards from the royal palaces assembled daily on Horse Guards to “troop the colours”, and in 1748 it was announced that the parade would also mark the Sovereign’s official birthday.

The Queen’s actual birthday was on April 21 when she turned 92.

The massed bands of the Household Division and the Mounted Band of the Household Calvary provided the musical backing for the ceremony.

While also taking part was the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, who will fire a 41-gun salute in Green Park to mark the Queen’s official birthday.

The colour was first trooped through the ranks of soldiers before the Guardsmen marched past the Queen, first in slow then in quick time.

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Putting on a show for the crowds (Victoria Jones/PA)

As the ceremony came to an end, the thousands in the stands were treated to the sight of the Blues and Royals and Life Guards from the Household Cavalry Regiment.

The mounted soldiers and officers in their gleaming breast plates and plumed helmets rode past the Queen with the horses throwing up dust.

From the vantage point of the Duke of Wellington’s old office, which overlooks Horse Guards Parade, Camilla, Harry, Meghan and Kate and the other members of the Royal Family watched the finale of the event.

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