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For his first Trooping the Color birthday, King Charles on horseback

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LONDON — In what may be a bittersweet for some, another sign of a new era, Britain marked the official birthday of King Charles III on Saturday with a military parade called Trooping the Color. It was his first sovereign, which featured 1,400 soldiers, 400 musicians and show-stealers, and 200 horses.

The play remained the same, but the actors had changed. There were huge drum horses, glittering axes and bucklers. The Mall from Buckingham Palace to Horse Guards Parade Ground was a sea of ​​red dresses.

The crowd was respectable – but not huge.

They’ve been doing it for 260 years – since George II – and they’re very good at it.

King Charles gets his first birthday parade. Here’s what you need to know.

For the past seven decades, it has been an annual honor bestowed on Queen Elizabeth II – and was celebrated last year to mark her Platinum Jubilee.

He died in September at his castle in Scotland. His funeral was followed by 10 days of mourning, followed by Charles’ coronation at Westminster Abbey in May.

The royal family has been on almost constant display for the past year. Not only was the coronation accomplished, but Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, dominated headlines by releasing a self-produced six-hour documentary for Netflix and Harry’s best-selling memoir, “Spare.” The book accused her father Charles, brother Prince William and stepmother, now Queen Camilla, of playing an active role in press attacks against the couple, who now live in the US.

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Harry and Meghan were invited but did not attend.

But, Charles had no golden carriage ride this time.

At the age of 74, Charles rode a horse for the entire two hours of the parade. He reviewed the troops, gave smart salutes, his face mostly hidden by a black bearskin cap high on his head and a chin below his lower lip.

A lifelong equestrian and former polo player, the new king was confident in the saddle, his white-gloved hand on the reins of his horse, named Noble, a gift from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to the palace.

Charles is the first monarch to ride in the parade since 1950, the year before George VI died. Elizabeth appeared as a side saddle in 1951, replacing her ailing father. Elizabeth last rode in the troop in 1986, although she continued to ride privately on her estates into her 90s.

On Saturday, Charles was accompanied on horseback by his son and heir Prince William, the Prince of Wales, and two of the King’s siblings, the Princess Royal, Princess Anne; and Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh.

A disgraced Prince Andrew was nowhere to be seen.

In parade, “color” refers to a flag with the uniform color and insignia of a particular military unit. Before modern communications, “regimental colors” were used as mustering points War, helping soldiers find where they should be and distinguishing their unit from others. The “trooping” bit refers to the young officers assigned to march among the troops.

Although the parade celebrates his “official birthday,” the June date is an opportunity to provide a summer parade. Charles’ actual birthday was November 14, 1948.

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The BBC presenter of the festivities, Huw Edwards, pronounced the whole show “very clever”.

Afterward, one of his guests reported that the horses were rewarded with “recovery foods,” including carrots and apples. The king and queen may have some strength.

With skies overcast and temperatures in the 70s, none of the players fainted. Earlier in the week, at least three troops collapsed in the heat during training on hot days.

In a carriage the new Queen Camilla wore a kind of bearskin exotic hat. Next to her was Kate, Duchess of Wales, and her three children, George, Charlotte and Louis, age 5, who held her nose and gave photographers a snap of the day.

Maybe it’s the horses.

After returning to Buckingham Palace, the King and Queen and senior working royals appeared on the balcony as Royal Air Force helicopters, jets and historic aircraft flew overhead. It seemed like a lean group portrait, and not on purpose.

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