Just a month after giving birth to her first child, Duchess Meghan stepped out Saturday to celebrate the Trooping the Colour parade with husband Prince Harry and the rest of her royal family.
The annual parade celebrates the queen’s official birthday in June, because the weather is usually better than in the month of her actual birthday: She turned 93 on April 21.
Meghan wore a custom Givenchy ensemble designed by Clare Waight Keller, which included a navy wool crepe cocktail dress with white sleeves and a matching cape. She topped off the look with a matching beret.
Although the couple’s baby, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, was not in attendance, another royal baby did make his balcony debut: Prince William and Duchess Kate’s third child, Prince Louis of Cambridge.
The event — the traditional first-look at royal babies once they reach toddlerhood — marks the first public appearance for Louis, who just turned 1.
Kate appeared in a pale yellow dress and matching hat. She and husband William, who was decked out in a red ceremonial uniform, alternated holding baby Louis while Princess Charlotte and Prince George stood in front of them on the balcony.
Although it’s not unusual for Meghan to make an appearance so shortly after giving birth – last year her sister-in-law Kate appeared on the balcony just a month after Louis was born – her appearance might be considered a sign of her unwillingness to meet President Donald Trump, who just spent three days hobnobbing with the queen and other royals – but not Meghan – during his three-day State Visit.
Harry and Trump did have a brief interaction on Monday at Buckingham Palace (Trump claimed later that “he couldn’t have been nicer.”), but neither turned up for the state banquet that evening in the palace ballroom. Meanwhile, Trump became embroiled in an embarrassing sideline spat in London over whether or not he labeled her “nasty” in an interview because of disparaging remarks she made about him in 2016, more than a year before she and Harry were engaged.
The parade’s tradition dates to the mid-18th century, when one of the queen’s ancestors, King George II, decided to combine the annual summer military parade with his birthday celebration even though he was born in October. The name of the parade derives from the custom of the various regiments showing off their regimental flags, then crucial on battlefields for troops to recognize in the fog of war. Hence the “trooping the colour” term, in the British spelling.
By now, the parade is one of the most colorful (no pun intended) events on the royal calendar, and pretty much an all-royal-hands-on-deck requirement. Troop regiments in scarlet uniforms, many mounted, march down The Mall from Buckingham Palace to Horseguards Parade and back again, along with carriages full of royal women and senior royal men (plus Princess Anne) dressed in the uniforms of their honorary regiments trotting on horses. At the end, the extended royal family gather on the palace balcony to wave at the crowds and watch a fly-past of military jets.
When she was younger, the queen used to lead the parade on one of her many horses, dressed in a scarlet uniform. In 1981, when she was 55, she was on her favorite horse Burmese when a man fired six blanks from a starting pistol as she rounded the junction of The Mall and Horseguards Avenue. Her horse was startled but the queen, in a remarkable display of her sangfroid and horsewoman’s skills, quickly kept him under control and kept on riding as police rushed behind her to subdue the gunman.
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