Queen plans return to Buckingham Palace and birthday ‘to go ahead as normal’ – insider

Queen: Expert discusses future of Commonwealth

The Queen is determined to host the Trooping the Colour parade in its full splendour in London – if the pandemic will allow it, a source has said. With June set to be a very important month for the Royal Family, the monarch wants to gather her family at Buckingham Palace to celebrate crucial milestones with the stunning military parade.

And, in the wake of the support the Army is providing during the coronavirus pandemic, she is also understood to want to give full honours to the Armed Forces she leads.

A senior royal aide told The Sunday Times: “The current plan is for the Queen’s birthday parade to go ahead in London as normal, with the acceptance that it may need to be adapted or scaled back depending on what guidelines are in force at the time.

“But the aspiration and the ultimate desire is to make it happen.”

No final decision has been made yet and the scale of the parade will be confirmed only in the spring, in accordance with the Government guidelines and the number of coronavirus infections in the UK.

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This year’s Trooping the Colour, the Queen’s official birthday, will take place on June 12 – just two days after Prince Philip turns 100.

The parade, royal aides have told the newspaper, is set to be both an official and “family occasion”.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry may also attend this poignant event alongside other members of the Royal Family, as the parade traditionally see the participation of both senior and non-working royals.

The Sussexes last appeared in an official royal ceremony in England in mid-March last year, when they attended the Commonwealth Day Service.

That event also marked their last-ever public royal engagement, with the couple stepping back as full-time working royals only a few days later.

Prince Harry and Meghan had already been tipped to return to the UK to mark the Duke of Edinburgh’s 100th birthday.

Royal commentator Katie Nicholl said she expects the Sussexes to attend three major royal events this year.

She said: “The much-awaited statue tribute to Princess Diana will be unveiled in Kensington Palace Gardens on what would have been her 60th birthday.

“And it is Harry’s intention, and Meghan’s also, to be here in the UK for that opening.

“It may possibly be the first time we see the brothers together, but I think that we will probably see them together in the spring around the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s birthday celebrations.

“Covid travel plans permitting.”

Prince Harry and Prince William’s issued, last August, a rare joint statement announcing the unveiling of a much-awaited statue of Princess Diana at Kensington Palace.

The ceremony will take place on what would have been the late Princess of Wales’ 60th birthday – July 1.

Speculation on the Queen’s 2021 Trooping the Colour parade comes after it was announced there would be no ballot to get tickets for the event.

The Queen’s Birthday Parade website states: “In the interest of fairness we will not be running a ballot for 2021, instead inviting those winners of the 2020 ballot who completed their bookings but were unable to attend due to the events having to be cancelled.

“We hope to return to running a public ballot for Trooping the Colour 2022.”

The Queen marked her official birthday last year with a streamlined and socially distanced ceremony taking place at Windsor Castle.

During the parade, the monarch sat in the Quadrangle at her Berkshire castle in the company only of two senior aides.

Despite the changes enforced to make the ceremony Covid-secure, the Queen appeared delighted as she watched a small group of soldiers from the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards performing.

A full-site Trooping the Colour parade traditionally features some 1,400 soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians on Horse Guards Parade.

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