Today, June 16th marked the last of the major royal duties for Queen Elizabeth II before the London Olympics begin in July. She also announced her semi annual Birthday Honours List ehich includes Kenneth Branagh and Kate Winslet.
Although the Queen's actual birthday is in April, her official birthday is always celebrated in June...nicer weather usually. The birthday main feature is the Trooping Of The Colour ceremony at Horse Guards Parade in London where the queen is greeted and is reviewed by Her Majesty.
This photo of from 1982. The Queen is sidesaddle, which is how she always rode for the ceremony. The year before, someone shot at her along the Mall, but she is a spectacular horsewoman and brought Burmese, her horse, under control within seconds to the admiration of the crowd. There will be archived news videos of the event if you are interested. Now the queen, at 86, watched from the grandstand. This year Prince Philip was recovered enough to join her.
Most of the guardsmen you see are Coldstream Guards, the regiment my husband was a member of. He remembers that at the Trooping of the Colour someone almost always fainted due to locked knees. If it was hot, which it sometimes is, there were more that went down...and were subsequently disciplined with a boring job for a bit & teased by the others. In the 1970s, the bearskin hat weighed in at 8-10 pounds. The framework is now much more lightweight and weighs in at 5-6 pounds. I found this photo of an example:
The family enjoyed the carriage ride back to Buckingham Palace after the ceremony. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge rode with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, as both William and his father Charles were on horseback.
The family then gathered on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for a wave and a fly by.
So happy official birthday Ma'am!