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Saturday, 15 June, 2002, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
Queen's 50th Trooping the Colour
Prince Charles and the Queen wave to wellwishers from the balcony of Buckingham Palace
The event marks the Queen's official birthday
The Queen has celebrated a special milestone in her Golden Jubilee year with her 50th Trooping the Colour ceremony.

She has attended the annual parade, steeped in pomp and splendour, every year of her reign except 1955, when a national rail strike forced it to be cancelled.

Traditionally watched by millions of people around Horse Guards and at home, this year she had some stiff competition for viewers.

The end of the ceremony at lunchtime coincided with the start of England's crucial World Cup match against Denmark which saw the nation celebrating a victory.

Prince Charles (L) and the Duke of Edinburgh travel behind Queen on horseback
Prince Philip is the oldest person to ride in parade

The spectacle marks the Queen's official birthday - her 76th - which saw applause and cheers ring out as she arrived at the ceremony in an open carriage pulled by two greys.

The Duke of Edinburgh, in uniform as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, and the Prince of Wales, Colonel of the Welsh Guards were behind the Queen on horseback.

They were joined by the Duke of Kent, Colonel of the Scots Guards, and the Princess Royal, Colonel of the Blues and Royals, of the Household Cavalry also followed.

Grand procession

Prince Philip at 81-years-old is the oldest person ever to have ridden in the parade.

The Queen arrived at the saluting base on Horse Guards as the clock struck 1100 BST.

The Duke of York, with his daughter Princess Beatrice, 13, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex, looked on with other members of the Royal Family as the Queen took the royal salute.

Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie viewed the parade from a VIP stand.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and Princess Eugenie
Politicians and Royals watched the ceremony
The Queen returned to her carriage to review the ranks of troops before taking her seat back on the dais for the march past.

She later took her place at the head of the military ranks for the grand procession.

It travelled along The Mall back to Buckingham Palace for the final march past viewed by the Queen from a dais in front of the Palace's centre gates.

The route was lined, at regular and precise intervals of nine paces apart and 12 inches from the kerb, by sentry-like guardsmen.

The finale was trumpeted with a royal gun salute thundered from nearby Green Park as the Queen made a traditional appearance with her family on the Palace balcony.

Scots Guards

The event was not only a milestone for the Queen.

The Scots Guards have existed for 360 years and marked the anniversary with the trooping of the Queen's Colour of the 1st Battalion.

Scots Guards Present Arms for the Royal Party
Battalion's parade dates back to 1748
The Colour - a flag of crimson silk embroidered with the battalion badge, battle honours and motto "En Ferus Hostis" ("Behold a Fierce Enemy") - was presented to the battalion by the Queen at Windsor Castle in April.

It is the sixth time the 1st Battalion Scots Guards' Colour has been trooped during the Queen's reign.

It was the Scots Guards whose Colour was paraded for the Queen's first Trooping the Colour in 1952.

The regiment was formed in 1642 when Charles I issued a commission to the 1st Marquis of Argyll to raise an army for the King's campaigns in Ireland.

The regiment has been involved in the notable campaigns of Britain's military history into modern conflicts.

See also:

09 Jun 02 | Entertainment
05 Jun 02 | Americas
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