Trooping the Colour, without Philip

Our resident Royals watcher on celebrations of the Queen’s birthday

(Sang Tan/AP Photo)

For only the third time in more than six decades, Prince Philip wasn’t at Saturday’s Trooping the Colour, the military parade that celebrates the Queen’s official birthday (the weather is too iffy on her real one in April). He’s still in hospital recovering from exploratory surgery on Monday, and will be there for at least another week before spending the summer recuperating.

So when the Queen travelled from Buckingham Palace to the nearby Horse Guards for the elaborately dramatic march past of the Household Division, featuring the 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards this year, it was her first cousin, Edward, duke of Kent, who sat beside her in the coach. Normally the duke, as honourary colonel of the Scots Guards rides on horseback behind the Queen’s carriage, along with Prince Charles (Welsh Guards), Princess Anne (Blues and Royals) and Prince William (Irish Guards). However, in March the 77-year-old suffered a mild stroke, so perhaps this was a good way to avoid a long time in the saddle.


For all the crowds cheering on Kate, duchess of Cambridge, as the eight-month pregnant wife of Prince William travelled in a carriage with Prince Harry and Camilla, duchess of Cambridge, there was also an acknowledgment of the man who wasn’t there. Philip has only missed the parades in 1962 and 1963 because he was abroad on royal tours. This is one of those “must go to” events in the royal calendar. Last year, he was out of hospital only a few days after battling a bladder infection before he got on his horse as colonel of the Grenadier Guards.

Still, though Buckingham Palace has been its usual taciturn self when it comes to releasing information about his medical condition, there are indications that he’s getting better. Yesterday he had six royal visitors including four grandchildren–William, Harry, Beatrice and Eugenie–as well as his oldest son Charles and his wife, Camilla. And today his wife, Queen Elizabeth II, paid a second visit after taking part in the military parade and then watching the Royal Air Force flypast from the Buckingham Palace balcony.

Trooping the Colour marks the start of one of the busiest parts of the royal calendar for the Queen. Monday is the annual Order of the Garter ceremony at Windsor Castle, and the rest of the week is spent at Royal Ascot.  She will fulfill her duties as she’s always done. But no doubt she’ll also be worrying about her 92-year-old husband as he recovers in hospital.

Sky News’ report is here while that of the BBC is here.



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