Each Royal's First Trooping The Colour Appearance

If you're at all tuned into the happenings of the royal family, then you've likely heard some buzz about Trooping the Colour but may still be at a loss for what it is. This royal event is a long-standing tradition that has been with the monarchy for over 260 years. As the official royal website explains, Trooping the Colour is an annual parade to celebrate the reigning monarch's birthday. For many decades that monarch has been Queen Elizabeth II, but since her death in 2022, it will now celebrate her son and heir, King Charles III.

For the occasion, 1400 soldiers, 200 horses, and 400 musicians parade from Buckingham Palace to the Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall. The sovereign takes a royal salute and conducts an inspection of the troops, and then goes back to Buckingham Palace, where they and other members of the royal family wave to onlookers from the balcony. It's a big day full of royal hype and patriotic tradition. Between the horses, ornate military uniforms, music, and royal sightings, it's a fun day for any onlookers.

Along with the monarch, key members of the royal family are invited to participate in the parade. Some of them have been part of the event since they were just children, while others are newer additions, but their first time is always memorable. And following King Charles III's coronation, there are plenty of changes in 2023's celebration. 

Queen Elizabeth II attended as a child before leading the parade

Being raised royal, Queen Elizabeth II participated in Trooping the Colour ever since she was a small child. As a young girl, the queen, known as Princess Elizabeth of York at the time, joined the celebration to honor her grandfather, King George V. In 1947, the parade was held in honor of her father, King George VI. This was the year Elizabeth made her debut on horseback. The 21-year-old Princess rode side saddle in the parade as Colonel in the Grenadier Guard. She went on to ride as the monarch, with the celebration being thrown in her honor after she was crowned in 1953.

While the ceremonies went on to mark her birthdays until the queen died in 2022, she stopped riding horseback after 1986's Trooping the Colour. Likely, horseback riding became more difficult and possibly dangerous as she aged. The queen instead chose to ride in a horse-drawn carriage for the remaining years of her reign.

King Charles III has been part of Trooping the Colour for multiple generations

2023 is King Charles III's first year celebrating Trooping the Colours as the monarch, but he's participated in the event since he was just a child. In the past, he's been part of the parade in honor of his grandfather, King George VI, and then his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. This year marks the first time that the parade will be in celebration of his own birthday as the sovereign monarch

According to Fox News, 2023 is a historical celebration, not only because it's the first parade to honor King Charles III but also because he plans to ride horseback for the event. Upon his mother's death, Charles inherited the role of colonel-in-chief of the seven regiments, and with this title, he'll lead the procession. The monarch joining the troops on horseback is an old-standing tradition that his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, also did during her reign. However, the queen stopped riding horseback after her 1986 birthday, instead riding in a carriage. But the newly appointed king is picking up the tradition and will be riding horseback in his full military uniform for his 75th birthday celebration. In a statement from Buckingham Palace, they promised the event would be a "great display of military precision, horsemanship and fanfare to mark The King's official birthday."

Princess Anne's role at the parade as evolved since her debut

As the second child and the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Anne grew up participating in Trooping the Colours to celebrate her mother's official birthday. In the past, she took part like other royal children, dressed to impress and waving to the crowd. However, now Princess Anne impresses on a whole new level.

Unlike most members of the royal family who ride in carriages, Princess Anne takes the parade on horseback in full military regalia and strikes quite an impressive figure riding in her military jacket, studded with medals. Unlike her brothers, Prince Andrew and King Charles III, Princess Anne has never actually served in the military but has been made an honorary Rear Admiral. She's also a patron of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity. Moreover, riding out on horseback is only fitting for Anne as she's an expert equestrian. She even competed in the 1976 Olympic games, riding one of the queen's horses. Therefore, riding in the parade is likely not much of a challenge for her skill level.

Prince Andrew is no longer welcome after attending since he was a child

Just like his siblings, Prince Andrew has participated in Trooping the Colour since he was a young child. In a photograph from 1964, the young prince waves to onlookers with his father from the balcony while Queen Elizabeth II holds baby Prince Edward in what may be his earliest appearance at the parade.

Over the years, he gained a more active role in the event, eventually appointed the Colonel of the Grenadier Guards; he rode out on horseback along with the queen. However, that title has gone to Camilla, Queen Consort, since it was stripped from Andrew. After sexual assault allegations came out against Prince Andrew, the royals have attempted to remove him from such high-profile events. According to the Daily Mail, the prince didn't participate in the parade in 2022 and was kept off of the balcony where he'd typically have stood with the rest of the royal family. It's doubtful he'll appear for Trooping the Colour going forward.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Prince Edward's first Trooping the Colour was as a baby

Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh, is the youngest child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. He was born into many traditions, including the yearly celebration of Trooping the Colour. In fact, it's doubtful that the duke has any recollection of his first appearance as he was just a baby at his mother's 1964 celebration. Historical photographs show his mother holding a small Prince Edward while on the balcony. The queen and Prince Phillip both wore their full military uniforms, while Edward looks perfectly wrapped in a white blanket.

Prince Edward will continue to participate in Trooping the Colour to honor his brother, King Charles III, but his role has grown quite a bit from when he was a baby. According to People, 2023 is the first year Prince Edward will participate in the parade on horseback. The Duke of Edinburgh will ride in military uniform as Colonel of the London Guards.

Princess Diana made a rule-bending debut

Traditionally, those who marry into the royal family are not invited to participate in Trooping the Colour until they've been officially married. However, this wasn't the case for the future-princess Diana, who made her parade debut in 1981 when she and Prince Charles were still only engaged. Her fiancé rode horseback while the 19-year-old Diana sat in one of the carriages next to her future brother-in-law Prince Andrew. Although her early appearance was a break from tradition, her wedding to Charles was soon after the event, and Diana looked picture-perfect in the parade and while making her balcony debut. She wore a blue floral suit by Bill Pashley, which was quite stylish for the time, and one of many notable fashion moments to come from the princess.

Unfortunately, not everything went so smoothly in Diana's debut year. During the 1981 parade, a 17-year-old in the crowd began firing pistol blanks at Queen Elizabeth II. Luckily, no one was hurt, and the perpetrator was caught after firing several blank rounds at the monarch.

Prince William was 4 years old at his first Trooping of the Colour

Prince William has participated in Trooping the Colour since he was quite young. As a toddler, his parents took him out on the balcony to greet the public along with the rest of the royal family, and he rode in the parade for the first time in 1987. Prince William was 4 years old at the time and sat in a horsedrawn carriage across from his mother, Princess Diana, and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

Growing up with the tradition, Prince William has participated in Trooping the Colour most of his life, but his role has changed as he's grown. He graduated from riding in the carriage as a child to marching in the parade on horseback. In the past, he rode for his grandmother's birthday, but in 2023, it will be the first time honoring his father, King Charles III, as sovereign.

Upon his grandmother's death and his father's ascension to the throne, William was named Prince of Wales and Colonel of the Welsh Guards. In his new position, William has been leading rehearsals ahead of his father's big day and has the Colonel's review of the Welsh Guards. A source explained to People that "the purpose of the Colonel's review is to decide that they are ready for the monarch." He'll perform this duty before his father, the monarch, comes out.

Prince Harry made an impression on the ceremony as a child

Like his brother, Prince Harry participated in Trooping of Colour from the time he was an infant. As a child, he came out on the balcony to participate in the celebrations honoring his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II. When he was just a baby, his parents brought him out in an adorable blue onesie to make his balcony debut for 1985's Trooping the Colour. Throughout his childhood, Harry provided the public with plenty of adorable and entertaining moments during these events. One, in particular, was in 1990 when a young Harry put his hand over Princess Beatrice's mouth to keep her quiet when the family went on the balcony (via Daily Mail).

However, we won't be seeing any more fun moments from Harry from 2023's Trooping the Colour. According to the Daily Mail, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle were not extended an invitation to this year's celebration. This is a bit of a shock considering the couple did attend the queen's birthday celebrations in 2022. Though they weren't invited to participate in the parade or stand with the family on the balcony in 2022, they were in attendance and watching the parade. Not being invited at all may be a sign of how strained relations have become between Harry and the rest of the family, particularly his father.

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, came on the scene in 1999

Like Princess Diana, Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, made her Trooping the Colour debut before officially marrying into the royal family. She greeted onlookers on the balcony next to her then-fiancé Prince Edward, just a week ahead of their 1999 marriage. She looked completely happy standing next to her betrothed in a black jacket and wide-brimmed hat. Since then, she's ridden in royal carriages often next to her husband, Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh. She made quite the impression at 2022's Trooping the Colour arriving in a fitted, pink checked jacket and matching hat (via Town & Country).

Ahead of 2023's Trooping the Colour, the duchess was appointed a new royal title. According to Hello!, she was made a Dame Grand Cross of the Order of St John by the Duke of Gloucester. Along with this honor, 2023 will also be the first time she rides in the carriage without her husband, who will be taking the parade on horseback for the first time.

Camilla, Queen Consort, made her debut after marrying King Charles

Camilla, Queen Consort, first participated in the annual Trooping the Colour celebration in 2005 — two months after she married King Charles III. During the parade, she wore a white jacket with matching gloves and hat and rode in a carriage alongside Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, and Prince William to celebrate the queen's birthday.

2023 is Camilla's first time participating as Queen Consort. Along with that, she was named Colonel of the Grenadier Guards. This honorary military title is particularly significant because it used to be held by Prince Andrew. According to the BBC, the position has been empty ever since Queen Elizabeth II stripped Andrew of his military titles. This came following speculations about his connection to Jeffrey Epstein and allegations of sexual assault. The scandal rocked the royal family, but now Camilla is stepping in to take up the mantle. She'll still ride in a carriage with Princess Catherine, Colonel of the Irish Guards, while her husband, the king, and Prince William ride horseback. 

Princess Catherine has attended since 2011

Princess Catherine has participated in this yearly celebration since she became part of the royal family. Her first Trooping the Colour was in 2011 to celebrate the queen's 85th birthday — just a few months after her spring wedding to Prince William. Since then, she's done the same each year, riding in the carriage alongside Camilla, Queen Consort, and joining the family on the balcony. Over the years, her and William's children have also joined them on the balcony, making it a large family event.

This year, Catherine's role will change slightly, as it's her first time participating with her new title Princess of Wales. According to the BBC, for King Charles III's first Trooping the Colour, Catherine has also been given the title of Colonel of the Irish Guards. This honorary military title was previously held by her husband, William. However, since the queen's death, there has been some shuffling of positions within the royal ranks. William took on the title his father previously held as Colonel of the Welsh Guards, and Princess Catherine took up the vacancy in the Irish Guard. In her new position, the Princess of Wales will watch Prince William take the salute and perform the inspection of the guard before the parade.

Meghan Markle made her debut in 2018

Meghan Markle made her Trooping the Colour debut in 2018 — a short time after marrying Prince Harry. During the parade, she rode in a horse-drawn carriage with her new husband at her side. The couple looked happy and radiant, with Harry in his formal military uniform and Meghan in a Carolina Herrera off-shoulder, pink dress with classic button detailing down the front and a matching hat.

She certainly looked the part, and Harry helped to make sure she knew how to act it. As a new member of the royal family, she was likely still adjusting to her role, and something with as much tradition as Trooping the Colour may have been overwhelming. As Hola! reported, she counted on her husband to get through it, especially during her balcony debut. Apparently, Meghan was seen asking Harry to "say when" to indicate the moment she ought to curtsey to the queen. Harry was then seen telling her "now" to help Meghan nail the timing when she curtsied to her grandmother-in-law.

But, she likely won't be in attendance for King Charles' first Trooping of the Colour. Tensions have risen since Meghan and Harry took a step back from their royal duties, and unless something changes, we may not see them at many royal events going forward.

Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis made their debut in 2022

2022's Trooping the Colour was a particularly momentous occasion as it marked Queen Elizabeth II's platinum jubilee. The platinum jubilee celebrated her 70th year as queen, and as the United Kingdom's longest-reigning monarch, she was the only ruler to have hit that landmark. According to a statement from Buckingham Palace, the jubilee was marked by a four-day bank holiday and a weekend filled with public events, launched by Trooping the Colour on June 2, 2022.

But this wasn't just a big year for the queen. It was also an exciting occasion for the Prince and Princess of Wales, or the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they were called at the time. According to the Independent, Prince William and Princess Catherine chose the special year to introduce their three children to the event. During the procession, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis all sat next to each other on one side of the carriage with their mother, Princess Catherine, and Camilla, Queen Consort, across from them. They made an adorable trio, all in shades of blue, even if they did make a few faces along the way.