June 14 (UPI) — Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 94th birthday Saturday with a small, socially distanced ceremony at Windsor Castle.
This year Elizabeth watched a performance by a small number of Welsh Guardsmen and the band of the household division in what was called a “mini-trooping.”
Typically the British sovereign’s birthday is marked on the second Saturday in June by a military parade called Trooping the Colour.
Designated in 1748 as the official marker of the sovereign’s birthday, the parade has taken place annually since 1820 except in bad weather, periods of mourning and other exceptional circumstances.
Flanked by just a few officials rather than the full family, she received a royal salute followed by a display of marching, with guardsmen following social distancing measures — rather than standing shoulder-to-shoulder as is typical.
The ceremony marked the queen’s first official public appearance since the British government issued stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Typically the Trooping the Colour ceremony is accompanied by the announcement of the Queen’s Birthday Honours’ List, but she has agreed to postpone publication of the list to autumn.
According to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the delay will allow the British government to recognize those who have helped fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We anticipate that COVID-19 recognition will happen across future honours lists, reflecting the on-going work being done by so many,” Johnson said in a statement last month.
Elizabeth, the longest-reigning monarch in British history, also held an unofficial birthday celebration on her birthdate in April.