LONDON, June 17 (Reuters) – Britain’s King Charles celebrated his first official birthday parade as sovereign on Saturday, riding on horseback to inspect soldiers in the annual ceremony since 1760.
The parade, called “Trooping the Colour”, comes just weeks after Charles’ coronation on May 6, another ceremony that features soldiers in scarlet coats and bearskin fur hats marching in central London to military bands playing.
By appearing on horseback, 74-year-old Charles is reviving a tradition his mother, Queen Elizabeth, abandoned in 1986 when she was 60.
In what is the British military’s annual tribute to the monarch, Charles was greeted with a royal salute and soldier review in front of 8,000 spectators, followed by his son the Prince of Wales, his sister Princess Anne and his brother the Duke of Edinburgh on horseback.
The Queen and Princess of Wales followed in a carriage.
The color or regimental flag raised at the ceremony belonged to the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards.
Charles is due to return to Buckingham Palace with his family, where they will gather on the building’s famous balcony to watch the flyover of around 70 military jets and helicopters starting at 1200 GMT.
Clear skies meant crowds lining the route between the Mall and Horse Guards Parade would see a full aerial display, including Typhoon Fighters and Red Arrows, who were prevented from joining the coronation flyover due to low cloud cover.
The C-130 Hercules will also participate, the transport aircraft’s funeral flight before it retires after nearly 60 years of service.
Charles became king when his mother Elizabeth died aged 96 in September. Trooping the Color marks the official birthday of Britain’s monarch and is usually held in June. Charles’ actual birthday is November 14.
Reporting by Sarah Young, Editing by Louise Heavens
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