Kate Middleton made her last public appearance before the birth of her first child when she joined thousands of well-wishers to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s official birthday at the Trooping the Color parade today.
Wearing a pale pink Alexander McQueen coat and matching hat, the Duchess of Cambridge, who is eight months pregnant, travelled to the pageant in a carriage with the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry.
Kate Middelton smiled and waved at the crowds lining the route as the carriage drove to the televised military spectacle which is held every year at Horse Guards Parade in London’s Whitehall.
But it would appear the chilly weather was a bit too cold for the royal family, and they covered their laps with blue blankets.
Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her birthday with traditional pomp and circumstance – but without her husband by her side.
Prince Philip remains in the hospital, recovering from exploratory abdominal surgery.
Instead the Queen invited her cousin, the Duke of Kent, to join her in her glass coach for the short journey from Buckingham Palace along The Mall.
It is thought to be only the third time that Prince Philip has missed the event after not attending in 1962 and 1968 when he was away on royal tours.
She first took the royal salute in 1951 – when she deputized for her sick father, King George VI – and has continued receiving the mark of respect every year except 1955 when there was a national rail strike.
The Queen, dressed in a royal blue Angela Kelly coat and hat with a matching lace dress, looked on under cloudy skies which parted now and then to reveal the sun.
Other royals watching included the Duke of York and his daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex with their daughter Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor.
The Queen took the royal salute as members of the royal family looked on.
Taking part in the ceremony on horseback are the Prince Charles – who is Colonel of the Welsh Guards, the Princess Royal – who is Colonel of the Blues and Royals, and Prince William – who is Colonel of the Irish Guards.
More than 1,000 soldiers, horses and musicians are taking part in the parade known as “Trooping the Color”, an annual ceremony marking the queen’s official birthday.
The ceremony is also an important social occasion for the Guardsmen taking part and gives their wives, girlfriends, and relatives the chance to celebrate the achievements of the young men and enjoy the spectacle.
Many of the spectators in the stands overlooking the parade ground were dressed in morning suits or smart suits, while women wore dresses topped with hats and fascinators.
After the parade ended, the Queen was cheered by crowds gathered along the Mall as she was driven back to Buckingham Palace, where she watched an aerial display by the RAF.
Following the parade, the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery fired a 41-gun salute in Green Park to mark the Queen’s official birthday.
The royals then gathered on the balcony at Buckingham Palace to watch the traditional RAF flypast.
Thousands of spectators crowded around the front of the palace and on The Mall, many cheering as a succession of planes roared overhead.
Among the featured 32 aircraft were 13 different types – from the famous Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster aircraft of the RAF Memorial Flight – to modern multi-role Typhoon fighters.
The Red Arrows completed the flypast – leaving a trail of red, white and blue smoke which swept across the sky behind them.
After the splendid ceremony, the Queen paid a visit to her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, who is recovering from exploratory abdominal surgery at a London hospital.