Hundreds of British soldiers filled London on Saturday, which marked Queen Elizabeth II’s official birthday. The soldiers filled central London in full dress which included huge Bearskin hats and ceremonial uniforms. The annual event is put on every year to mark Queen Elizabeth’s birthday and originated from the tradition of battle preparations. In the old days, flags were carried for soldiers to see before war.
The queen rode through the city alongside her husband Prince Philip for what is known as the “Trooping the Color” parade. Prince William and Prince Charles also joined the parade on horseback and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, was in a carriage with Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, Charles’s wife. William and Kate’s baby, Prince George, stayed home.
The parade starts at Buckingham Palace and ends with an inspection by the queen of 1,000 soldiers at Horse Guards Parade. The entire family watched a ceremonial Royal Air Force fly-by from the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Queen Elizabeth turned 88 years old on April 21 and had a private celebration before her public June celebration.
The Queen made headlines over the weekend for knighting several people — including Angelina Jolie. Queen Elizabeth named Jolie an honorary dame, the female version of a knight, for her work fighting sexual violence in war zones.
Jolie, who has worked for years as a special UN envoy, can’t use the title of dame before her name because she’s not a British subject. The honor for Jolie and hundreds of others who received the honor by the queen is part of her annual Birthday Honors List that recognizes people for community or national service. Though several famous people are always named, most people who get the honor are not well known.
The queen also named Daniel Day-Lewis for his services to drama, and he’s now entitled to call himself Sir Daniel. Others who were honored included actress Maggie Smith, who plays the Dowager Countess of Grantham on Downton Abbey.
Many were given the honor by the queen of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). Queen Elizabeth named author Hunter Davies, musician Talvin Singh, and physicist Thomas Kibble, whose work contributed to the discovery of the Higgs boson, known as the “God particle.”
Queen Elizabeth rules over the United Kingdom and 15 commonwealth realms. Born in 1926, she is the elder daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne at the tender age of 25 and is mother to four children, eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild, Prince George.