Although smaller than a traditional Trooping the Colour, due to rules over social distancing, this year’s parade was carefully designed to incorporate many of the traditional elements.
Irish Draught horses drew first world war era Royal Horse Artillery Guns; the Coldstream Guards and Grenadier Guards joined the Scots Guards on parade in their distinctive red tunics and bearskin caps, and the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment dazzled in their shining silver cuirasses and helmets.
All were accompanied by music performed by the Army’s finest musicians drawn from the five-Foot Guards Bands and the 1st Battalion Scots Guards Pipes and Drums.
In keeping with government COVID-19 guidelines on social distancing, each Guardsman was 2.2m apart, measured by three turns of the pace stick.
The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team marked Her Majesty the Queen’s Official Birthday with a rare flypast of Windsor Castle.
Trailing signature red, white and blue colours, the Red Arrows provided the finale of a scaled-back ceremony on the castle’s Quadrangle.
The event, which is usually held on Horse Guards Parade in London, featured around 270 soldiers from several units of the Footguards as well as a massed band and 70 horses and personnel of the Household Cavalry in a more traditional Trooping of the Colour.
It is the first time since the Diamond Jubilee in 2012 the Red Arrows have performed over the Castle.
Squadron Leader Tom Bould, who is Red 1, led the nine British-built Hawk aircraft formation over Windsor.
The Team Leader said:
“It is always a huge honour to carry out a flypast to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Official Birthday and even more, so this year given the historic location and setting.
“With the last 12 months being such a challenging period for everyone and a year like no other, it is especially humbling to fly our national colours in this important ceremony that reflects dedication and service.”
The Red Arrows 57th display season got underway in the UK only last weekend, with a busy return to public events and air shows following a year hit by Covid cancellations in 2020.
Traditionally, the Queen’s Birthday Flypast occurs over Buckingham Palace where members of the public can see a selection of the RAF’s most cutting-edge or well-known aircraft.
Previous aerial tributes have included the newest F35 Lightning, currently deployed on the carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, the A400M of the Air Mobility Force and rotary aircraft, such as the Chinook and Puma – celebrating their 40th and 50th years in RAF service respectively.