COLUMN: Sun shone for Trooping the Colour
It's called flaming June and this year's Trooping the Colour ceremony was held in blazing temperatures '“ more than 30Â°C in central London.
That didn’t put off the crowds, though. Arriving early in the Mall, I had secured a good spot to observe the carriage processions to Horse Guards Parade where the ceremony was due to take place.
By the time the first carriages arrived, with the Duchesses of Cornwall and Cambridge and Prince Harry at around 10.40am, the crowds had grown to around 12 deep. It was a real crush but the crowds were good natured and burst into excitement as the royal carriages approached.
After the recent terror attacks in London and Manchester, the security was perceptibly higher than usual with armed police officers lining the Mall.
The heat of the morning was reflected in the attire of some of the key players in the procession: both the Duke of Edinburgh, Colonel of the Grenadier Guards and the Queen’s cousin, the Duke of Kent, Colonel of the Scots Guards, dispensed with the usual scarlet tunics and the bearskins in favour of a morning coat and top hat.
This made for a slightly less colourful spectacle but was understandable for both dukes, aged 96 and 81 respectively, to favour forms of dress that would have been cooler in the hot temperatures.
The Queen’s dress for the event was also noteworthy but for quite another reason. I wasn’t surprised that she wore an outfit that she had first worn on a visit to Malta in 2005.
Despite the talk of never wearing a dress more than once, the Queen – known for being frugal – does repeat her outfits. My surprise was because it had been worn for a garden party at Buckingham Palace only two weeks previously.
The ceremony was more muted than usual this year with a one minute silence held in memory of the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. Only the day previously, the Queen had met victims of the fire with the Duke of Cambridge by her side. On Saturday, he was on horseback following her carriage with his father, the Prince of Wales and aunt, the Princess Royal.
After the parade was the traditional fly-past by the RAF when the Royal Family make their appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. There was lots of cheering from the crowd when Prince George and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge were brought out by their parents.
Prince George, though, did appear less than impressed – whether it was because he has seen it all before or whether it was because of the braces he was wearing – we will never know.
A special mention should also be made of the Duchess of Kent who was present. The Duchess is rarely seen at royal events these days and so it was a particular treat to see her there.
After the planes had flown overhead, the band played the National Anthem and we in the crowd joined in. I always feel a sense of pride in singing it but it is particularly special when the Queen herself is present.