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Queen's "official" birthday full of pomp and pageantry

From left, Britain's Prince Harry, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince William, watch a Royal Air Force fly past from the balcony of Buckingham Palace during the Trooping The Colour parade Saturday, June 14, 2014.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis
June 14, 2014 - 2:24 PM

LONDON — Hundreds of British soldiers in tall bearskin hats and ceremonial dress marched Saturday in central London for the "Trooping the Color" parade, an annual display of pomp and pageantry that marks the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II.

The queen, who wore a pastel blue outfit, rode in a vintage horse-drawn carriage with her husband Prince Philip, starting from Buckingham Palace. She then inspected more than 1,000 soldiers at Horse Guards Parade.

"Trooping the Color" originated from traditional preparations for battle, when flags were carried or "trooped" down the ranks for soldiers to see.

The queen turned 88 on April 21, her actual birth date, which is usually celebrated in private. The monarch traditionally marks her birthday publicly in June.

Other senior royals also turned out for the ceremony: Prince William and his father, Prince Charles, rode on horseback. The Duchess of Cambridge, William's wife Kate, rode in a carriage with Charles' wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, but left her baby boy George at home.

A huge crowd later gathered at Buckingham Palace, where the royal family appeared together on the balcony to watch a ceremonial Royal Air Force fly-past.

British soldiers ride their horses as the escort Queen Elizabeth II in a horse drawn carriagevas she returns to Buckingham Palace, during the Trooping The Colour parade, in central London, Saturday, June 14, 2014.
British soldiers ride their horses as the escort Queen Elizabeth II in a horse drawn carriagevas she returns to Buckingham Palace, during the Trooping The Colour parade, in central London, Saturday, June 14, 2014.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

News from © The Associated Press, 2014
The Associated Press

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